President Xi Jinping, preparing for his first overseas trip as head of state, told foreign journalists China wanted to play a bigger role on the world stage.
"China will shoulder bigger international responsibilities and obligations in what it can undertake and make greater contributions to peace and the development of humanity," Xi said in an interview with major media outlets from the BRICS nations, which include Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
Xi, who became president on Thursday, will pay a state visit to Russia from Friday, followed by a tour of three African nations: Tanzania, South Africa and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He will also attend the BRICS summit in Durban, South Africa, from March 26 to 27.
"Co-operation among BRICS countries can help build a more balanced world economy, improve global economic governance and promote democracy in international relations," Xi told his interviewers.
He pledged that Beijing would continue to support Africa's development, saying that both China and Africa were part of the developing world and shared broad interests.
His visit to Russia so soon after becoming president was "testimony to the great importance China places on its relations with Russia. China and Russia are each other's major and most important strategic partners … and both countries accord priority to their bilateral relationship in their overall diplomatic agenda and foreign policy."
Xi also pledged to advance ties with India despite long-standing border disputes. He said co-operation and the development of the world's two largest developing economies would serve the interest of Asia and the world.
China's relations with Brazil were "at their best in history".
Analysts said Xi's first overseas trip as president signalled that the new leadership had made closer ties with the developing world a priority.