The Chinese Embassy in Dili has announced that China has given the army of Timor Leste supplies meant to make its soldiers better able to defend themselves, and to improve their living conditions.

The embassy issued a written statement on Wednesday quoting Chinese Ambassador to Timor Leste Xiao Jianguo as saying when the supplies were handed over that cooperation in defence is an important part of the Sino-Timorese relationship.

Mr Xiao said his country was willing to support the modernisation of the Timorese army.

Timor Leste is grateful to China for its long-term support and hopes bilateral ties will grow stronger, the Chinese Embassy in Dili quotes Timorese Defence Minister Filomeno Paixão as saying at the handover.