HA NOI — Sultan of Brunei Haji Hassanal Bolkiah has decided to free nine Vietnamese fishermen, who have been detained for fishing in Brunei's territorial waters since January 20.
The decision was made promptly after talks between the Sultan and Vietnamese Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh in Brunei.
During their meeting, the Sultan acknowledged the important achievements of the Vietnamese people in their doi moi (renewal) process and expressed his appreciation for the multi-faceted friendship between the two countries, noting that the two sides needed to enhance co-operation in the coming time for mutual benefit.
He praised Vietnamese guest workers in Brunei, saying that the country would like to receive more workers from Viet Nam. He also confirmed that Brunei would directly import rice from Viet Nam.
Minister Minh said that Viet Nam would always treasure the friendly neighbouring relations with other ASEAN countries, including Brunei.
The same day, Minh and his Brunei counterpart agreed to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations on February 29 and to enhance the exchange of high-level delegations.
The two ministers agreed to organise the first session of the Viet Nam-Brunei Joint Commission, hosted by Viet Nam, in order to review and set plans for future co-operation.
In 2011, trade turnover between Viet Nam and Brunei exceeded US$200 million, which was 10 times higher than the previous year.
The two ministers promised to continue creating favourable conditions for enterprises from their countries to search for business opportunities abroad.
They also discussed other fields with potential for co-operation such as labour, oil and gas, agriculture and fisheries, and tourism. They agreed to establish a suitable framework to solve all issues of boats and fishermen who enter the other's territorial waters to match the two countries' laws and maintain friendly ties.
As for the East Sea issue, the two sides agreed to ensure peace, stability, security and free navigation in the East Sea and to solve disputes by peaceful measures and obedience to the international laws, especially the UN's 1982 Convention on the Law of the Sea and the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) as well as the building of the Code of Conduct (COC).
The Vietnamese minister said that Viet Nam would support and co-ordinate with Brunei on its presidency of ASEAN in 2013.
The two sides also agreed to work together to build a strong and united ASEAN community in 2015. They promised to work with other partners to make the Trans-Pacific Partnership benefit each member and contribute to the growth and prosperity of all countries in region. — VNS