Brunei, China seek to boost maritime energy cooperation
Hakim Hayat

BRUNEI Darussalam and China yesterday expressed satisfaction with the ongoing energy cooperation between Brunei and China, in particular, between PetroleumBRUNEI (PB) Co Sdn Bhd and China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC). The two countries said they will encourage closer joint exploration and exploitation of maritime oil and gas resources.

His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam and Li Keqiang, Premier of the State Council of the Peopleís Republic of China, in a joint statement, welcomed the recent signing of the instrument between PB and CNOOC on a joint venture agreement on oil field services.

They also encouraged their respective officials to study other aspects of joint exploration and exploitation of maritime oil and gas resources by the relevant enterprises of the two countries on the basis of the principles set out in paragraph 10 of the Brunei Darussalam-China Joint Statement of April 5, 2013.

Brunei and China also pledged to further consolidate bilateral cooperation in various areas and contribute more to regional peace and progress.

The two nations highlighted the importance of resolving territorial and jurisdictional disputes through peaceful dialogue and consultations by sovereign states directly concerned, and in accordance with universally recognised principles of international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

The leaders reiterated their commitment to the full and effective implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of the Parties in the South China Sea (DoC) in maintaining peace, stability and security, and promoting mutual trust, confidence and cooperation in the region.

In this regard, they welcomed the positive outcomes of the 6th Senior Officialsí Meeting on the Implementation of the DoC in Suzhou, China on September 15, 2013, including the official consultations on the Code of Conduct (CoC) in the South China Sea within the framework of implementing the DoC. They noted that consultations on the CoC should be pushed forward in a gradual and step-by-step manner, and on the basis of consensus.

Li Keqiang was in the country from October 9 to 11 for an official visit at the invitation of His Majesty. The Chinese Premier was also in the Sultanate to attend the Asean related summits from October 9 to 10.

During the visit, Li Keqiang held talks with His Majesty and had an in-depth exchange of views on bilateral relations as well as on regional and international issues of common concern in a warm and cordial atmosphere.

The two sides expressed pleasure over the excellent progress in bilateral relations since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1991. They reaffirmed the long-standing relations between Brunei and China, reflecting the close historical and cultural ties between the two countries. They reiterated their political will to deepen bilateral relations through cooperation in various fields, on the basis of the principles and spirit enshrined in the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Peopleís Republic of China and Brunei issued in 1991, the Joint Communiques issued in 1999 and 2004 respectively, the Joint Press Statement issued in 2005 and the Joint Statement issued in 2013.

The two sides reaffirmed their mutual respect for sovereignty, territorial integrity and non-interference in each otherís internal affairs. The Chinese Premier expressed appreciation for Bruneiís continued commitment to the ďOne-ChinaĒ policy, as well as its support for the peaceful development of cross-straits relations and the peaceful reunification of China.

The two sides recognised that Brunei and China are close partners working for common prosperity and development, contributing to regional peace and progress. In this regard, they encouraged their respective officials to look into ways to further strengthen the Brunei-China Strategic Cooperative Relationship, as agreed between His Majesty and President Xi Jinping in April 2013.

The two sides agreed to maintain frequent exchanges and strengthen bilateral consultative mechanisms at all levels, including diplomatic, political and economic consultations. They also agreed to further enhance bilateral cooperation in economics, energy, infrastructure, agriculture and fisheries, defence, education and people-to-people exchanges.

The two sides noted the positive progress made in defence cooperation facilitated by the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Military Exchanges between the Ministry of Defence of Brunei Darussalam and the Ministry of National Defence of the Peopleís Republic of China signed in September 2003 and expressed their willingness to continuously strengthen exchanges and cooperation in such areas as high-level visits, delegation exchanges and personnel training between the two armed forces. In this regard, His Majesty welcomed more Chinese defence officials to study at the Royal Brunei Armed Forces Defence Academy. His Majesty appreciated Chinaís contribution to the 1st Asean Defence Ministersí Meeting-Plus Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief and Military Medicine Exercise (ADMM-Plus HADR & MM Ex) held in June 2013 and participation in the 2nd ADMM-Plus in August 2013 in Brunei. His Majesty also looked forward to Chinaís participation in the Brunei Darussalam International Defence Exhibition and Conference (BRIDEX) to be held in Brunei in December 2013.

The two sides recognised the important role of people-to-people exchanges, cooperation in education, tourism, culture and sports in further strengthening relations between the peoples of Brunei and China.

The two sides welcomed the continued contribution of Chinese volunteers in the areas of Chinese language, sports and health sciences in Bruneiís institutions.

His Majesty expressed appreciation for Chinaís support of Bruneiís Asean Chairmanship in 2013; contribution to the development and the promotion of peace, stability and prosperity in the region; and continued support for Aseanís centrality in the evolving regional architecture through the various Asean-led processes, including the Asean Plus Three (APT), the East Asia Summit (EAS) and the Asean Regional Forum (ARF).

The Chinese Premier congratulated Brunei on the successful convening of the 16th Asean-China Summit and noted with appreciation the progress of Asean-China Dialogue Relations, particularly since the establishment of the Asean-China Strategic Partnership in 2003. The two sides lauded the various Commemorative Activities undertaken by Asean and China to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Strategic Partnership. In this respect, His Majesty commended the Chinese Premierís renewed call for Chinaís long-term good-neighbourly policy of friendship and partnership with Asean at the recent Asean-China Summit.

His Majesty expressed appreciation for Chinaís initiative to upgrade the Asean-China Free Trade Area (ACFTA), set up an Asian infrastructure investment bank and launch a host of projects with support from the Asean-China Maritime Cooperation Fund, in an effort to boost trade and investment, connectivity and maritime cooperation between Asean and China. At the same time, His Majesty also valued Chinaís growing involvement, as a development partner of East Asean Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA), in supporting economic development at the sub-regional level.

The two sides reiterated their commitment to continue enhancing consultations on areas of common interest in other regional and international fora such as APEC, ASEM, the UN and WTO. His Majesty looked forward to Chinaís Chairmanship of APEC next year. His Majesty expressed appreciation towards Chinaís efforts to strengthen the global economy and hoped for Brunei and China to continue working closely together towards promoting strong, sustainable and balanced growth. His Majesty also expressed appreciation for Chinaís support for Aseanís continued participation in the G-20 Summits.

The Chinese Premier expressed his appreciation for the warm welcome and kind hospitality accorded to him and his delegation during the visit and looked forward to welcoming His Majesty and other members of the royal family to visit China in the near future. - Borneo Bulletin (12 October 2013)