Alex Salmond was speaking during an interview for Phoenix TV’s Talk With World Leaders, which has 350 million viewers.
In the programme broadcast yesterday, Mr Salmond welcomed increasing trade links and industrial co-operation in renewable energy.
But he said non-economic ties were also important to promote “real understanding” between citizens of both countries.
Mr Salmond said: “We are developing renewable energy together – China has the most onshore renewable energy in the world and Scotland leads in offshore and marine renewable energy.
“These are great alliances but, of course, alliances should be based not just on economics, trade and investment, but also on cultural understanding.”