Brunei, Russia to boost defence and energy ties
Siti Hajar in Vladivostok, Russia

Brunei Darussalam and the Russian Federation are looking towards deepening their cooperation with particular attention to two specific areas of interest for both countries.

A bilateral meeting that was held between His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam and Russian President Vladimir Putin here in Vladivostok, Russia prior to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders' Meeting 2012 that starts today touched on the potential of furthering partnerships in energy and military tactical cooperation.

In a separate bilateral meeting yesterday, His Majesty and Hu Jintao, the President of the People's Republic of China, exchanged views on bilateral relations and regional and international issues of mutual concern. The leaders also discussed various efforts to further strengthen ties between the countries.

His Majesty said he was glad with the further development of bilateral ties, adding that mutual visits by leaders of both countries have pushed forward the cooperation between the two peoples and the two governments.

In response, the President of the People's Republic of China said the development of bilateral ties has maintained a good momentum and serves as a good example for countries with different social systems to develop their ties.

China and Brunei enjoy traditional friendly relations.

Since the establishment of their diplomatic relations 21 years ago, the two countries have increased political mutual trust and boosted effective economic and trade cooperation, and also maintained good coordination and cooperation on international and regional affairs, Xinhua reported.

The Chinese government highly appreciates Brunei's role in boosting the relations between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean).

Meanwhile, described through a translator by President Putin as being "important for our bilateral cooperation", His Majesty also voiced his interest in the defence and energy in response "to further extend the good relations" between both countries.

"We will now have the opportunity to discuss this in greater detail," said Putin with reference to His Majesty's consent to attend the APEC gathering chaired by Russia. "Prospects have opened up for cooperation in various areas."

During the bilateral meeting, Putin expressed his gratitude to His Majesty for the monarch's visit along with other members of the royal family, including His Royal Highness Prince Hj Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister's Office, in 2008.

Putin said that such visits to the Russian Federation "made good contribution to the development of the Russia-Brunei relationship".

The monarch, in response, said he was "very happy" with the current state of friendship with Russia and described the president as an "old friend". - Borneo Bulletin (8 September 2012)