Brunei, Vietnam reaffirm commitment to deepen ties

BRUNEI Darussalam and Vietnam look forward to strengthening their friendship and expect to take their bilateral relations to a higher level.

In a joint statement issued on the establishment of a Comprehensive Partnership between Brunei Darussalam and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, during 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’s State Visit to Vietnam at the invitation of General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Vietnam and President of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam Nguyen Phu Trong, both leaders underscored the traditional friendship and close cooperation between the two countries.

The leaders expressed happiness that the warm and friendly ties between the two countries have been elevated to a Comprehensive Partnership, signifying the commitment of both sides to further strengthen the much-valued relationship for the benefit of the two countries and their peoples.

They highlighted that the newly established Comprehensive Partnership will create new momentum to bolster Brunei and Vietnam’s multi-faceted cooperation, with focus on the major areas of political relations, defence and security, trade and investment, energy, education and social cooperation, and people-to-people exchange, as well as other fields of mutual interest, and cooperation within multilateral frameworks.

Both leaders witnessed the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)on the use of hotline for information-exchange to address illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing by the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam and the Minister of Primary Resources and Tourism of Brunei Darussalam.

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 with General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Vietnam and President of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam Nguyen Phu Trong. – INFOFOTO

The leaders exchanged views on bilateral, regional and international issues of mutual interest. They reaffirmed the great importance of the traditional friendship between Vietnam and Brunei Darussalam and noted with satisfaction that the two countries are entering a new phase of cooperation given the new emerging opportunities presented by strong economic growth in the region, particularly with the development of the ASEAN Community.

Both sides acknowledged the importance of maintaining the momentum of exchanges of visits between officials from both sides at all levels, including through the existing Joint Commission for Bilateral Cooperation (JCBC) to explore opportunities for cooperation in their mutual interests and to further enhance bilateral trust and partnership. The leaders encouraged closer cooperation between the Parliamentary bodies of the two countries and the consideration of the establishment of the Vietnam–Brunei Darussalam Friendship Association and Brunei Darussalam–Vietnam Friendship Association to further promote people-to-people links.

The leaders acknowledged the significant progress in defence cooperation, especially through the effective implementation of the 2005 MoU on Defence Cooperation and the 2013 MoU on Navy Cooperation.

Both sides agreed to explore further opportunities to promote concrete cooperation between defence forces, including through the sharing of information, exchanging high-level official visits, and establishing new consultation mechanisms.

Both sides also agreed to closely coordinate and support each other at multilateral defence forums, particularly those under ASEAN frameworks such as the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM), ADMM Plus, ASEAN Chiefs of Defence Forces’ Meeting (ACDFM), and ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF).

The leaders reaffirmed the importance of cooperation in public security through the sharing of experiences to combat transnational organised crimes such as illicit drug trafficking, people smuggling, terrorism, cybercrime and money laundering. They expressed determination to commence discussion for agreements on extradition, judicial assistance cooperation, and the transfer of sentenced persons.

The leaders agreed to enhance collaboration to facilitate and promote the current balanced and sustainable two-way trade turnover towards the target of USD500 million by the year 2025, including maximising utilisation of the market access accorded by the free trade agreements for their goods and services (including the potential markets presented in the BIMP-EAGA and Mekong sub-regions), foster a pro-business environment, strengthen business-to-business links, increase participation in trade fairs, and facilitate the expeditious resolution of challenges faced by businesses in their mutual interest.

Both countries are committed to working closely in agricultural sectors such as livestock and crop commodities including poultry, rice, fresh fruits and vegetables, fisheries, technical capacity-building, and enhancing cooperation in Halal manufacturing – including cosmetics and pharmaceuticals that can be exported to the global Muslim markets – and getting their enterprises operating in food production certified to international standards.

The leaders are encouraged by the two-way investment and reaffirmed their strong support to mutually increase bilateral investment, especially in government procurement, public services, infrastructure development, smart agriculture, aquaculture, food processing, manufacturing, and energy.

Both leaders expressed their hope for the expeditious negotiation and conclusion of the added Protocol for the 2007 Agreement on the Prevention of Double Taxation.

Conscious of the importance of information exchanges to address IUU fishing activities, the leaders look forward to the implementation of the hotline provided for in the MoU recently signed by the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam and the Minister of Primary Resources and Tourism of Brunei Darussalam. They also agreed to further enhance maritime cooperation including aquaculture and seafood processing, sharing of experiences and information in law enforcement at sea, and cooperation in tackling maritime security challenges to ensure maritime safety and freedom of navigation.

His Majesty and President Nguyen Phu Trong agreed to enhance collaboration among educational institutions through student and teacher exchanges, and joint research programmes and trainings. The leaders also highlighted the importance of effective implementation of the 2014 MoU on Education Cooperation and agreed to convene the 2nd Educational Working Group Meeting at the earliest opportunity.

The leaders welcomed the cooperation between PTSC Mechanical and Construction Co Ltd and PB Services Sdn Bhd following the signing of the Framework Agreement, which establishes a strategic collaboration between the parties in relation to Engineering, Procurement, Construction, Installation and Commissioning (EPCIC) projects in Brunei Darussalam and the region.

The two leaders welcomed the ongoing cooperation in labour and urged the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs of Vietnam and the Ministry of Home Affairs of Brunei Darussalam to work closely towards enhancing labour cooperation in their mutual interest. They acknowledged the importance of securing local employment for the social interest of their respective countries, hence encouraging Bruneian and Vietnamese companies to promote the employment of locals and their human capacity development. Both sides, subject to national policy requirements, agreed to facilitate working permits for nationals coming from and into both countries.

The leaders affirmed their commitment to further promote sports, cultural and tourism cooperation through participation in sports and cultural activities, regional and international tourism events, and promotional activities.

The leaders recognised the close geographical proximity between the two countries and agreed there was potential to enhance air connectivity to facilitate their endeavour for meaningful cooperation and deeper exchanges among their peoples.

They are also committed to exploring and enhancing exit/entry facilitation and continuing coordinating closely in consular matters regarding their citizens in line with ASEAN’s tradition of friendship and solidarity to further facilitate the exchange of delegations and tourists. To this end, both countries agreed to consider extending the visa exemption period for Vietnam’s ordinary passports from 14 to 30 days, and diplomatic and official passports from 14 to 90 days. Both leaders exchanged views on various regional and international issues and agreed to continue to work closely in addressing global and regional challenges, including transnational crimes, climate change mitigation, disaster management, as well as the promotion of sustainable development and the food–water–energy security nexus.

The leaders expressed satisfaction with the excellent cooperation between both countries in regional and international fora, including ASEAN and ASEAN-related mechanisms, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) and the United Nations (UN). Vietnam expressed appreciation to Brunei Darussalam for its support in the former’s bid to become a Non-Permanent Member of the UN Security Council for the 2020-2021 term.

The leaders reiterated their commitment and continued support as well as close cooperation when Vietnam and Brunei Darussalam serve as ASEAN Chair in 2020 and 2021 respectively. Both sides underlined the importance of maintaining and strengthening solidarity and reaffirmed the importance of maintaining ASEAN centrality and unity in community-building efforts and engagement with external partners.

The two countries are committed to working closely together to ensure the full and effective implementation of the ASEAN Community Vision 2025, to contribute to the peace and stability of the region, promote regional links and narrow development gaps. Both leaders also emphasised their support for an ASEAN-centric regional architecture that is open, transparent, inclusive and rules-based.

His Majesty and President Nguyen Phu Trong reaffirmed the importance of maintaining and promoting peace, security, stability, safety and freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea, and emphasised the need to enhance mutual trust and confidence and pursue peaceful resolution of disputes in accordance with international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

The leaders reiterated the importance of non-militarisation and self-restraint in the activities of claimants and all other states in the South China Sea, to prevent further escalating tensions in the disputed waters.

Both sides reaffirmed their support for the full and effective implementation of the 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC), welcomed the continued improving cooperation between ASEAN and China, and were encouraged by the progress of substantive negotiations towards an effective Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC) on a mutually agreed timeline.

The two leaders reaffirmed their commitment to work together in maintaining an open, inclusive and rules-based multilateral trading system and to successfully conclude a comprehensive and mutually beneficial Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) in 2019. They affirmed their belief that the conclusion of RCEP would potentially facilitate the expansion of regional trade and investment and contribute to global economic growth and development.

The leaders expressed satisfaction with the open and candid discussion in the spirit of mutual understanding and friendship, and look forward to strengthening cooperation in a number of areas of mutual interest. His Majesty expressed his appreciation for the warm hospitality and courtesies extended to the Brunei Darussalam delegation by the State and the people of Vietnam during their visit, and cordially invited President Nguyen Phu Trong to visit Brunei Darussalam at a mutually convenient time.