| Lyna Mohamad |
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 and Her Majesty Duli Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Hajah Saleha binti Al-Marhum Pengiran Pemancha Pengiran Anak Haji Mohamed Alam hosted a State Banquet at the Istana Nurul Iman last night in honour of President of the Republic of Korea Moon Jae-in, his spouse Kim Jung-sook, and their delegation to the country who are in the country on a three-day State Visit.
His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office and Her Royal Highness Paduka Seri Pengiran Anak Isteri Pengiran Anak Sarah binti Pengiran Haji Salleh Ab Rahaman; His Royal Highness Prince ‘Abdul Malik and Yang Amat Mulia Pengiran Anak Isteri Pengiran Raabi’atul ‘Adawiyyah binti Pengiran Haji Bolkiah; His Royal Highness Prince ‘Abdul Mateen; His Royal Highness Prince Mohamed Bolkiah and Her Royal Highness Pengiran Anak Isteri Pengiran Anak Hajah Zariah; His Royal Highness Prince Haji Jefri Bolkiah; Her Royal Highness Princess Hajah Rashidah Sa’adatul Bolkiah; Her Royal Highness Princess Hajah Masna, Ambassador-at-Large at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; and Her Royal Highness Princess Hajah Amal Umi Kalthum Al-Islam.
Before proceeding to the Royal Banquet Hall, Their Majesties, President Moon and his spouse joined in for a group photo.
The State Banquet commenced with the recitation of Doa Selamat by State Mufti Pehin Datu Seri Maharaja Dato Paduka Seri Setia (Dr) Ustaz Haji Awang Abdul Aziz bin Juned.
His Majesty in his titah at the reception highlighted that Brunei Darussalam welcomes the Republic of Korea’s pursuit of greater engagement with ASEAN.
“We very much appreciate your New Southern Policy which will bring our Dialogue Relations to a new height. We are honoured to be the country coordinator for this important Dialogue Relations,” the monarch said.
His Majesty noted that President Moon’s visit to the Sultanate comes at an auspicious time, coinciding with the 35th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Brunei Darussalam and the Republic of Korea.
He said that over the years, Brunei and Korea have been developing cooperation in various fields, including trade and investment, infrastructure, cultural and people-to-people exchanges.
The monarch said that the bilateral meeting held yesterday “will ensure that this relationship continues to grow in strength and flourish”, and that the “Republic of Korea is an important trading partner for Brunei Darussalam with trade volume exceeding BND1 billion every year for the last five to 10 years”.
A number of Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) were signed between the two countries during the meeting, agreements His Majesty says will further strengthen Brunei and South Korea’s resolve to work closely and create more confidence for their agencies and private sector entities to work together.
The two leaders iterated their commitment to strengthening cooperation in agriculture and fisheries as well as downstream petrochemical industries, in support of Brunei’s economic diversification drive.
“With the rapid technological advancement in today’s world, preparing the people with knowledge and skills that are geared towards the Fourth Industrial Revolution is important, and in this regard we extend our appreciation to the Republic of Korea’s sharing of expertise in innovation and technology, as the country moves towards building Brunei Darussalam as a Smart Nation,” His Majesty added.
The monarch also acknowledged the participation of Korean companies in the Brunei’s infrastructure development over the years.
“I am also happy to see an increase in exchanges in tourists, businesses and students, facilitated by improved connectivity between our two countries. I believe this will lead to a much closer friendship and deeper understanding between our peoples,” he added, also wishing the Republic of Korea success in their hosting of the Commemorative Summit later this year.
President Moon, meanwhile, in his speech highlighted the very strong ties of friendship that Korea and Brunei have been building for 35 years since establishing diplomatic relations in 1994, in particular close cooperation in the fields of energy and infrastructure building.
He noted that this is the symbol of the bilateral cooperation between the two countries, “much like the Temburong Bridge that connects the eastern and western part of Brunei”.
“I hope our cooperation will be expanded to include not only advanced industries such as ICT, Smart Cities and renewable energy, but also intellectual property, defence and the defence industry,” he said.
The president sounded a welcoming note to the deepening of people-to-people friendship brought about by an increase in the number of visitors between the two countries, a result of the increase in the number of direct flights connecting the two countries to four flights per week within this year.
“[The addition of these extra flights] have contributed to mutual visitors increasing by more than twofold in the past five years, further deepening the friendship [between our two countries],” President Moon said.
He added, “The Republic of Korea and ASEAN are very precious friends for each other, my government is actively implementing the New Southern Policy in order to build the people-centred community of peace and prosperity together with ASEAN on Brunei Vision 2035, which is based on His Majesty’s wisdom and insight.”
President Moon also extended words of thanks to Brunei and His Majesty for playing a bridging role as a dialogue coordinator.
“I hope my state visit will provide the impetus to further elevate our bilateral relations and bring more prosperous lives for the people of our two countries,” Moon added.
The South Korean head of state is on a three-day State Visit to Brunei, becoming the first South Korean President to visit the country in 19 years.
Also in attendance at the banquet were Minister of Home Affairs as the Minister-in-Attendance Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Kerna Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Haji Awang Abu Bakar bin Haji Apong and spouse; Minister at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Korea Kang Kyung-wha; Minister at the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, Republic of Korea Kim Hyun-mee; and Minister at the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, Republic of Korea Sung Yunmo.