Brunei-US ties will remain strong

Azlan Othman

The warm relationship between the United States (US) and Brunei Darussalam will continue, no matter which administration takes seat in the White House, said Chargé d’Affaires at the Embassy of the United States of America in Brunei Darussalam Emily Fleckner.

On the sidelines of the 2020 Election Watch Event at the Radisson Hotel yesterday, Emily said, “Brunei Darussalam plays an important part in this region, and any American President recognises and understands the importance of maintaining a close relationship, regardless of who gets elected.

“We are very interested in building people-to-people ties, more cultural and educational exchanges, and strengthening trade and investment, as well as military-to-military exchanges.

“I will be watching very closely to see what trade deals the new administration would be interested in,” she said.

On Asean-US relations, Fleckner said, “The US government has always recognised Asean as an important organisation, and respects its tradition in working together to solve problems in the region.

“We share the same values with the regional association in a free and open Indo–Pacific region, and respect sovereignty and rule of law.

Chargé d’Affaires at the Embassy of the United States of America in Brunei Darussalam Emily Fleckner speaks at the 2020 Election Watch Event. PHOTO: AZLAN OTHMAN

“No matter who the next President is, the US government will always respect and cooperate with Asean.

“We will continue to maintain our friendships and alliances throughout the world. That is particularly true in the Indo-Pacific region, where the US will remain engaged with partners committed to a free and open Indo-Pacific.

On areas of common interest, she said, “Despite the pandemic, we have very good military-to-military cooperation. We have CARAT exercises, which has been carried out every year for 26 years. Despite the pandemic, the Royal Brunei Navy sailed to Hawaii to participate in the exercise.

“Military-to-military ties are the strongest and some of the best development this year, and I am proud of such cooperation.”

Fleckner noted the fascination with the US elections in the country. “When I talk to Bruneians, they seem to be very interested in the outcome.

“They are also interested in how the election is accomplished in the US with a population of 328 million people with 50 states, and with their own guidelines.

“You can imagine how complicated the voting system is. I had a lot of questions about how exactly it runs. There has been a lot of curiosity about that.”

Emily hosted Bruneian government officials, business executives, civil society leaders and other guests, to watch the election returns.

During the event, guests discussed the US political process, cast votes in a mock election, and participated in trivia contests on the US presidential history.

There were also materials on the long road that a presidential candidate must travel to finally reach the White House.

Over the past several weeks, American citizens across the US and around the world – including those based in Brunei Darussalam – submitted their ballots.

An election for president of the US happens every four years on the first Tuesday following the first Monday in November. This tradition, which dates back to 1789, ensured consistent change in US administrations.