Brunei, Vietnam to consider hotline between navies
Danial Norjidi

Brunei Darussalam and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam have both reaffirmed the importance of peace and stability in the region as well as the importance of promoting cooperation in the areas of finance and energy.

These were just some of the issues discussed as His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam and President Truong Tan Sang of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam exchanged views on regional and international issues of common interest, according to a Joint Statement yesterday.

The meeting between the two leaders took place at the Istana Nurul Iman as part of a State Visit to Brunei by the Vietnam President from November 27-29 at the invitation of His Majesty.

The heads of state highlighted the significance of the visit in further enhancing and consolidating the friendship and cooperation between the two countries, which come at a time when Brunei and Vietnam are celebrating the 20th anniversary of the establishment of their diplomatic relations.

His Majesty also congratulated the Vietnamese people on their important achievements in national development and reform process, expressing confidence that Vietnam would successfully implement its '2011-2020 Socio-economic development Strategy".

This strategy is part of Vietnam's effort towards achieving its goal of building a prosperous country and making positive contributions to peace and stability in the region and the world.

President Truong Tan Sang highly valued the achievements of Brunei in its national development plan and expressed his firm belief that under the leadership of His Majesty, the Sultanate will successfully implement its "2035 National Vision" to turn Brunei into a developed and prosperous country with an increasingly important role in the regional and international fora.

The heads of state also acknowledged the friendly relations between the two countries in various areas of cooperation both bilaterally and multilaterally, and expressed commitment to enhance these further in the coming years in all areas.

The leaders also acknowledged the regular exchange of high-level visits as well as at the senior officials level that have taken place over the years, and recognised the importance of enhancing these visits, while also agreeing to the early convening of a Joint Commission Meeting (JCM) to further promote cooperation and expand the existing bilateral relations.

They both also expressed pleasure in the bilateral security-defence cooperation and agreed to consider the possibility of establishing a hotline between the two navy forces and to conclude a bilateral cooperation agreement in preventing and combating crimes.

The leaders also expressed satisfaction with the encouraging growth of bilateral trade and reaffirmed the importance of continuing to create favourable conditions for investors on both sides to explore business opportunities in each country so as to further increase investment cooperation.

The recent signing of the Agreement of Cooperation between the National Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Brunei Darussalam and Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry was also noted in the Joint Statement as "a significant step towards an enhanced economic relationship between both sides".

His Majesty and the Vietnamese President also acknowledged the importance of promoting cooperation in the areas of finance and energy and welcomed the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Autoriti Monetari Brunei Darussalam and the State Bank of Vietnam, as well as the MoUs between Brunei National Petroleum Company Sdn Bhd (PetroleumBrunei) and Vietnam Oil and Gas Group (PetroVietnam).

The leaders also looked forward to strengthening cooperation in other potential areas such as education, agriculture and fisheries, labour and tourism.

Views were also exchanged on regional and international issues of mutual concern and the leaders agreed to continue cooperation closely at regional and international fora, particularly through Asean and the United Nations, and also agreed to coordinate with other member countries to build the Asean Community by 2015.

On this point, President Truong Tan Sang reaffirmed that Vietnam would support and stand ready to coordinate with Brunei when the Sultanate serves as the Asean Chairman in 2013.

The leaders also reaffirmed the importance of peace and stability in the region, and particularly in promoting maritime security and cooperation in the South China Sea.

They also agreed that any overlapping claims be addressed through peaceful means, including dialogue and consultations, and in accordance with universally recognised principles of international law, particularly the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

In the Joint Statement, the leaders also welcomed Asean's Six-Point Principle on the South China Sea and the Joint Statement of the 15th Asean-China Summit on the 10th Anniversary of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC).

Adding on, the leaders also looked forward to the full and effective implementation of the 2002 Asean-China Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) and the early conclusion of a regional Code of Conduct.

Both leaders expressed their satisfaction with the outcomes of their meeting, which was described in the Joint Statement as having been held in a cordial and friendly atmosphere of mutual understanding and trust.

President Truong Tan Sang expressed his deep gratitude to His Majesty for the warm welcome and kind hospitality extended to him and his delegation over the course of his State Visit and extended an invitation to the monarch and Her Majesty Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Hajah Saleha to make a State Visit to Vietnam, which His Majesty accepted with pleasure. - Borneo Bulletin (29 November 2012)