Brunei enjoys sturdy bilateral ties with Japan & South Korea
Azlan Othman

HIS Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam consented to a bilateral meeting with Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, prior to the commencement of the 23rd Asean Summit at the International Convention Centre in Berakas, yesterday morning.

Prime Minister Abe is currently in the Sultanate to attend the 23rd Asean Summit from October 9 to 10. His Majesty and Prime Minister Abe exchanged views on bilateral, regional and international issues. In a recent written interview with the Bulletin, Prime Minister Abe said that under the leadership of Brunei, 2013 has seen advancements such as the commencement of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) negotiations and Asean-China consultations regarding the Code of Conduct (COC) in the South China Sea. The Prime Minister highly values Bruneiís significant role as the Asean chair for the peace and prosperity in this region.

This year was of high importance since it marked the 40th Year of the Asean-Japan Friendship and Cooperation. During the Japan-Brunei Summit in May in Tokyo this year, His Majesty said both countries enjoyed good relationship for a long time particularly in the field of energy, and in recent years, bilateral relations were strengthened in other fields as well, such as education and youth exchange.

Prime Minister Abe expressed hopes that Japan and Brunei will further enhance bilateral relations especially with the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between Japan and Brunei.

Prime Minister Abe expressed his gratitude for the stable supply of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Brunei throughout the years and stated that Japan would contribute to Bruneiís efforts of industrial diversification, job creation and advance cooperation through utilising Japanís technology in the fields including renewable energy and energy conservation. His Majesty remarked that Japan is the biggest trading partner of Brunei and expressed hopes to continue enhancing good economic ties.

His Majesty later held a bilateral meeting with Park Geun-hye, President of the Republic of Korea. In an interview with the Bulletin yesterday, the Korean Ambassador to Brunei, Choi Byung Koo said Korea is very grateful to His Majesty as the monarch granted the bilateral meeting with President Park.

ďPresident Park just started in February this year and she will pursue the goal to enhance relations and take care of our bilateral ties. We want discussions that are concrete especiallly in economics, trade, culture and people-to-people exchange. I am very optimistic about Brunei-South Korea ties. We have just begun to reinvigorate our relationship since 2010 and I expect it to grow in five to 10 years in every field. The Korean President will also hold other bilateral talks with Singapore, among others.Ē

Brunei and the Republic of Korea share extensive cooperation in economic and trade, agriculture, education, culture and youth, ICT and tourism. Brunei participated in an expo held on May 12 to August 12, 2012 in Yeosu and has its own pavilion with the theme: Forest to Reefs: Sustainable Bio-diversity.

Also at both bilateral meetings were the Minister of Finance II at the Prime Ministerís Office, Pehin Orang Kaya Laila Setia Dato Seri Setia Awg Hj Abd Rahman bin Hj Ibrahim; Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade II, Pehin Orang Kaya Pekerma Dewa Dato Seri Setia Lim Jock Seng and Minister of Energy at the Prime Ministerís Office, Pehin Datu Singamanteri Col (Rtd) Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Awg Hj Mohammad Yasmin bin Hj Umar. - Borneo Bulletin (10 October 2013)