Monday, July 22, 2024
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Brunei a ‘terrific partner’ to US

Izah Azahari

Brunei Darussalam has been a terrific partner of the United States (US). It did a very good job last year as the ASEAN Chair working on many tough issues, and President Joe Biden had the opportunity to meet with His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam just a month ago in Washington at the ASEAN-US Special Summit.

This was said by US State Department Counsellor Derek Chollet at a media interview at the Radisson Hotel yesterday.

He added that the ASEAN-US Special Summit was the first time ASEAN leaders had joined together in Washington for a Summit Meeting.

Chollet said that his trip to the Sultanate saw him meeting with Minister of Foreign Affairs II Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Erywan bin Pehin Datu Pekerma Jaya Haji Mohd Yusof when he first arrived.

The meeting covered a number of issues regarding US-Brunei relationship as well as world affairs such as the situation in Myanmar, ASEAN issues, the Ukraine crisis, the work on Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF), as well as bilateral issues.

United States (US) State Department Counsellor Derek Chollet during the interview. PHOTO: BAHYIAH BAKIR

Chollet visited Brunei Darussalam to follow up on the outcome of last month’s ASEAN-US Special Summit in Washington DC and re-affirm the commitment of the US to work with allies and partners to restore Myanmar’s path to democracy.

Prior to Brunei, the US official visited Thailand and Singapore.

Chollet met with civil society leaders, business leaders, local ambassadors, as well as the new deputy defence minister during his visit.

He also participated in the opening of the Palawan Warrior Exercise which sees some 150 US troops joining troops from Brunei for the next couple of weeks, showcasing the strong defence partnership between the two countries.

“This is the tail-end of a week-long trip I’ve been making in this region.

“I was in Thailand and then Singapore for the Shangri-La Dialogue before coming to Brunei, and the same time I’ve been in Thailand, Singapore and Brunei, Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman has been in Laos, Vietnam and the Philippines,” added Chollet.

He noted that their collective presence is a demonstration of US commitment to Southeast Asia to strengthen ties between US and ASEAN.

“We have many challenges we are working on together, but also many opportunities in this relationship and that’s why I was so happy to have a chance to come here to Brunei,” he said.