Courting the Chinese in Shanghai
By James Kon

His Royal Highness Prince Mohamed Bolkiah, Brunei's Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, lauded the close ties of Brunei Darussalam and China that has linked both countries past, present and future, during welcoming remark at the launching of Brunei National Pavilion Day at the Shanghai World Expo yesterday.

His Royal Highness said in his sabda, "Over the past 20 years, we have been rediscovering the close ties we shared with the people of China hundreds of years ago. It has helped us link our past, our present and our future."

His Royal Highness Prince Mohamed Bolkiah added, "And right now in Shanghai, these all come together in the message behind our Expo theme; A proud past..., A prosperous present ., And an exciting future. So, in that spirit, I warmly thank the government of China, and the people of Shanghai."

Brunei's Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade then expressed, "We wish you a most rewarding and successful six months and thank you once again for looking after us so kindly and so well."

His Royal Highness also highlighted that "it is very nice to see the Brunei-China Friendship Association, joining us today and bringing us together as 'people', and not just 'countries'."

His Royal Highness also conveyed his appreciation to the people of Shanghai, especially to the Municipal Government, the Bureau of Coordination and the China Friendship Association for all their help and support.

Accompanying HRH Prince Mohamed Bolkiah to the ceremony which was held at the Expo centre were Her Royal Highness Pengiran Anak Isteri Pengiran Anak Hajah Zariah, YAM Pengiran Anak Mansurah Izzul Bolkiah, YAM Pengiran Muda Omar Ali and YAM Pengiran Muda Abdul Muqtadir.

Meanwhile, the Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs of China Mr Song Tao in his opening remarks lauded "Brunei and China have become friendly neighbouring countries and people from both countries have already established friendly ties since ancient times."

The Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs also added, "Since both countries established diplomatic ties 19 years ago, the relationship between the two countries has progress rapidly and achieved brilliant results in various aspects.

"Next year will be the 20th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic ties between both countries and China hopes to work together with Brunei Darussalam to enhance friendship and cooperation," he said

He expressed, "I believe the expo will be an opportunity for both countries to further cooperate and develop better understanding between the people of both countries."

The ceremony to mark the Brunei National Pavilion Day was spruced up with the enactment of a traditional Brunei wedding ritual. Among the delegation also at yesterday's ceremony were Pehin Kapitan Lela Diraja Dato Paduka Awg Goh King Chin; Pehin Bendahari Cina Dato Paduka Onn Siew Siong; Dato Paduka Lim Beng Thai; Dr Hj Kamaruddin bin Dato Seri Paduka Hj Talib, President of the Brunei-China Friendship Association; Mr Ang Swee Chuan, the Deputy President of Brunei China Friendship Association; and Dr Chan Sui Kiat, President of Chinese Chamber of Commerce BSB who is also the Vice-President of Brunei-China Friendship Association and others.

Following the opening ceremony, His Royal Highness Prince Mohamed Bolkiah went on a tour of the Brunei Darussalam Pavilion at the Shanghai World Expo.

During the tour, YAM Pengiran Muda Abdul Muqtadir showcased his talent at playing an accordion to the delight of the crowds. - Borneo Bulletin (9th May 2010)