China keen on maritime cooperation with Brunei
Hakim Hayat in Beijing, China

CHINA’S President said yesterday that Beijing is willing to cooperate with Brunei Darussalam in the development of oil, gas and new energy in order to achieve “substantial progress” in jointly developing the South China Sea.

Xi Jinping made these proposals during a bilateral meeting with His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam on the sidelines of the 22nd Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders’ Meeting (AELM) at the Great Hall of the People in Tiananmen Square.

His Majesty praised the efforts spearheaded by President Xi to boost trade in the region, including the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road initiatives, the latest projects proposed by China to boost connectivity across Asia.

His Majesty said Brunei Darussalam is supporting the agenda set for this year’s AELM and is willing to work with China to promote the unity and cooperation between China and Asean to advance the regional integration process and free trade area for Asia-Pacific.

As one of the founding countries, Brunei Darussalam will actively participate in the formation of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, His Majesty said.

President Xi said China will encourage its businesses to increase investment in Brunei to enhance cooperation in infrastructure construction and the agriculture and fishery sectors.

He also said the two countries should increase high-level exchanges and strengthen strategic mutual trust as China-Brunei relations has been upgraded to a strategic one.

President Xi said China is willing to work with Brunei to strengthen relations in maritime cooperation in order to achieve early and substantial progress in joint development of the South China Sea.

He said the two countries should also jointly work for the healthy development of China-Asean relations to promote regional peace, stability and prosperity.

President Xi said China and Brunei Darussalam, “following the principle of mutual respect and equality, have set an example for relationship between big and small countries, featuring harmonious coexistence, mutual benefit and win-win situation”.

Brunei Darussalam and China established diplomatic relations on September 30, 1991. Bilateral cooperation between Brunei Darussalam and China covers a number of areas including, among others, trade and investment, energy, agriculture and defence. - Borneo Bulletin (11 November 2014)