Wen hails Sultan's vision
By Danial Norjidi

The Premier of the People's Republic of China, Wen Jiabao, praised His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam yesterday for his strong commitment towards education and for the monarch's important proposal at the recently concluded 19th Asean Summit, while also stressing the importance of the role of Brunei's youth in ensuring the country's bright future.

China's premier said this while delivering an address at the Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) yesterday, where he expressed his happiness at being in the country.

"It gives me great pleasure to make an official visit to Brunei Darussalam. This is a visit that I have been looking forward to for a long time," he said. "Brunei Darussalam is a country of peace and, on my flight to this beautiful country, I was once again deeply impressed by its enchanting view and prosperity."

He recalled that the exchanges between both countries date back over 1,000 years, recounting how the king of Borneo at the time fell ill while on a trip in China, and described the preservation of his tomb in the province of Nanjing as an important symbol of history between the two countries.

Moving on, he spoke about His Majesty being the Chancellor of Universiti Brunei Darussalam.

"I believe that shows his strong commitment to education and that is something you have every reason to take pride in," said the Chinese premier. "His Majesty has expressed the hope that the UBD will be able to produce well-rounded students, and provide them with a well-rounded education.

"That is His Majesty's hope for the young people in Brunei Darussalam, as well as his expectation of all the people in this country," he added.

Wen expressed his belief that the youth represents the future of our world, and that they also carry a heavy responsibility for national development.

"You have on your shoulders the important task of building and creating an even brighter future for this beautiful country, and you have all my best wishes," he said.

The premier then touched on how this year marks the 20th anniversary of the diplomatic relations between China and Brunei Darussalam, and said that he has come here to Brunei to mark this special occasion, and for friendship and cooperation.

Mutual respect between our two countries is crucial to the long-running peaceful coexistence between us, he said, saying that while countries may differ in terms of size, we should always respect each other and treat each other as equals.

"That is the fundamental principle that guides China in developing relations with other countries and on that basis, I believe we are able to engage in mutually beneficial cooperation and pursue a common development.

"His Majesty the Sultan put forward a very important proposal at the just concluded Asean Summit," continued the premier. "He said it was important to enhance exchanges between the young people and inspire their creativity and dynamism."

Wen described this as a highly foresighted proposal that is important not only for the development of countries, but also for cooperation between and among countries.

"As the young people represent the future and hope of our countries, they also represent the future and hope for between countries," he explained.

"I believe that as long as the young people of our two countries appreciate the importance of mutual respect and develop a love for each other's culture and country, their hearts will be closely connected, and they will be able to work hand in hand towards their common vision and goals."

Concluding his address, the Chinese premier described coming to UBD as being one of the first items on his agenda for his visit to the Sultanate.

"It is because I always have the young people, education and our common future high on my mind," he added. "I'm looking forward to a heart-to-heart exchange with all the people in this great university this afternoon." - Borneo Bulletin (21st Novempber 2011)