Vaccine donation shows strong Brunei-China ties

James Kon

Brunei Darussalam was the fourth country to a receive vaccine donation from China when the Sinopharm vaccine arrived in the Sultanate on February 9. The donation reflects the ties between the leaders of the two countries, said Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to Brunei Darussalam Yu Hong on Sunday.

“The donation of the Sinopharm vaccine shows the strong long-term friendship and mutual trust between both countries and that China is a true friend,” she said during the Brunei Fuzhou Shiyyi Association’s Chinese New Year celebration at the association’s building in Jalan Berakas.

The ambassador also said 2021 marks the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Brunei Darussalam and China.

“It is a year worth looking forward to, in terms of the relations between the two countries,” she said.

The envoy added, “In January 2021, Chinese State Councillor and Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi visited Brunei and co-chaired the second meeting of the Joint Steering Committee between the two governments with Brunei Darussalam’s Minister of Foreign Affairs II.

“The year 2020 was an extraordinary year of mutual assistance. At the beginning of the year, the two countries held the first meeting of the Intergovernmental Cooperation Steering Committee. The two parties jointly held the opening ceremony of the Brunei-China Year of Tourism. In September, Chinese State Councillor and Defence Minister Wei Fenghe visited Brunei.”

Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to Brunei Darussalam Yu Hong and Brunei Fuzhou Shiyyi Association President Jackson Ting perform the tossing of Yee Sang with other guests. PHOTOS: JAMES KON
Yu Hong presents a red packet to a senior member

The ambassador said the People’s Republic of China Embassy in Brunei Darussalam has donated books to five Brunei schools, and with the cooperation of the Ministry of Education (MoE), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) and the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports (MCYS) were able to organise the second Brunei Primary School Student Drawing Competition, the logo design competition for the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Brunei and People’s Republic of China, and cultural resources and tourism.

The embassy, with cooperation from the MCYS, also hosted China Day and several other activities, Yu Hong said.

Speaking on bilateral trade, she said in 2020, bilateral trade volume between both countries reached USD1.91 billion, an increase of 72.5 per cent year-on-year, while China’s imports from Brunei increased by 217.1 per cent year-on-year, ranking first among ASEAN member countries in terms of trade with China.

Brunei Fuzhou Shiyyi Association President Jackson Ting said 2020 was a very challenging year due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the turbulence that followed affecting everyone’s life and the world.

“It was a year that mankind experienced difficulty together. It will always be engraved in history,” he said.

Ting said the association will work hard to carry forward the tradition of Fuzhou people, instil the culture of filial piety to the elderly as well as loyalty, trustworthiness and diligence.

He also outlined the goals of the association in the next three years to cultivate talented young people to become the association’s successors.

Among them are: to implement the association’s mission through Fuzhou building; to set up a welfare fund and provide assistance; and to focus on capacity building of people through education and training to jointly achieve Brunei Vision 2035, Ting said.

The highlights of the evening were the tossing of yee sang as well as the presentation of red packets to the association’s senior members.