Việt Nam, Brunei upgrade ties to comprehensive partnership

Update: March, 28/2019 - 07:00
Party General Secretary, President Nguyễn Phú Trọng (right) receives and visiting Sultan of Brunei Haji Hassanal Bolkiah in Hà Nội.
Viet Nam News

HÀ NỘI — Party General Secretary, President Nguyễn Phú Trọng and visiting Sultan of Brunei Haji Hassanal Bolkiah agreed to elevate the nations’ bilateral relations to a comprehensive partnership at their talks on Wednesday.

Welcoming the Sultan, Trọng said Bolkiah’s second visit to Việt Nam after 21 years has great significance, marking the development of the two countries’ friendship and co-operation.

The two leaders exchanged notes on relations as well as regional and international issues of mutual concern.

They said the establishment of the comprehensive partnership is a result of recent positive and sustainable developments in bilateral relations. They cited renewed motivation to enhance collaboration in politics, defence-security, trade, investment, education, people-to-people diplomacy and co-operation within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and other multilateral frameworks.

Both sides agreed to intensify delegation exchanges at all levels through all channels to strengthen political trust and mutual understanding and create a firm foundation for co-operation in all fields.

They also highlighted the importance of the effective implementation of the Joint Commitment on Bilateral Co-operation, and considered the establishment of new mechanisms.

Both host and guest said potential for economic co-operation has yet to be fully tapped, and agreed to strive for US$500 million in two-way trade as soon as possible through trade and investment promotion and activities to connect the countries’ business communities.

Trọng lauded Brunei for remaining the fourth largest ASEAN investor in Việt Nam, with nearly 200 projects totalling more than $1 billion. He said Việt Nam would continue creating favourable conditions for Bruneian enterprises to do business in the country, particularly in important fields such as infrastructure, energy, high-tech agriculture and industry, food processing, tourism and services.

The Sultan pledged to support Việt Nam in producing products that meet international halal standards in order to approach Muslim markets.

Highlighting national defence-security co-operation as a highlight in relations over the years, both leaders spoke highly of the effective implementation of the memorandum of understanding (MoU) on defence co-operation in 2005 and the MoU on naval co-operation in 2013. 

They agreed to work closely at multilateral defence forums, especially within the ASEAN and ASEAN+ frameworks, and highlighted the importance of security collaboration amid regional challenges.

The two sides promised to share experiences and expand their partnership in the fight against organised, trans-national human trafficking, terrorist activity and cybercrimes. They also discussed the signing of agreements on extradition, judicial assistance and the transfer of sentenced persons.

The two leaders welcomed the government-level agreement on the establishment of a hotline to support sea fisheries. They also pledged to expand aquaculture co-operation, share information regarding legal enforcement at sea and cope with security challenges to ensure maritime safety and freedom.

They discussed measures to enhance culture-education ties, aviation connectivity and immigration procedures to raise mutual understanding. 

The Brunei Sultan vowed to consider the host’s proposal to amend the visa waiver agreement by increasing the length of non-visa stays for holders of diplomatic, official and general passports.

The guest congratulated Việt Nam for successfully hosting the second DPRK-USA summit in February, improving the country’s stature in the region and the world.

The two nations will work closely together as Việt Nam and Brunei assume the roles of ASEAN Chair in 2020 and 2021, respectively. They will contribute to the process of building the ASEAN Community; work to realise the ASEAN Community Vision 2025; narrow the development gap; deepen external relations; and uphold ASEAN’s central role in the regional architecture under the principles of openness, transparency and inclusiveness. 

They consented to continue coordinating closely at other multilateral forums, particularly the United Nations, the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) and the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM). They will promote regional economic connectivity via multilateral economic agreements to which both are members, such as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTTP) and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). 

Reiterating their consistent stance on the East Sea issue, they agreed on the principle of peacefully settling disputes in line with international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). 

Host and guest stressed the importance of non-militarisation and self-restraint from activities that could complicate tensions in the East Sea.

They reaffirmed support for the implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) and the acceleration of negotiations to reach an effective Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC) as a roadmap. 

Following the talks, they issued a joint declaration on the establishment of the Việt Nam-Brunei comprehensive partnership and witnessed the signing of a government-level MoU on the use of a hotline to deal with illegal, unregulated fishing. — VNS

Party General Secretary, President Nguyễn Phú Trọng and visiting Sultan of Brunei Haji Hassanal Bolkiah agreed to elevate the nations’ bilateral relations to a comprehensive partnership at their talks on Wednesday. — Photos Trí Dũng