Chinese president lauds strong China-Brunei ties
By Azlan Othman

His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam and Her Majesty Raja Isteri Pg Anak Hjh Saleha yesterday granted audiences to President Hu Jintao, President of the People's Republic of China, and Madam Liu Yongqing, who are in the country for a two-day State visit.

The ceremony was held at the Istana Nurul Iman.

His Majesty later presented to the Chinese president a decoration before proceeding to another room for a bilateral discussion.

Later in the evening, Their Majesties hosted a state banquet in honour of the visiting Chinese president and Madam Liu at the Istana Nurul Iman.

President Hu Jintao said China attaches great importance to developing relations with Brunei.

Citing his great pleasure to come to Brunei on a State visit at the invitation of His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, President Hu, in a written statement issued upon his arrival at the Brunei International Airport, said China and Brunei are friendly neighbours on the opposite shores of the sea.

At the Istana, an official welcoming ceremony was held as His Majesty, Her Majesty, the Chinese President and Madame Liu received the royal salute at the royal dais. The national anthems of both countries were played followed by a 21-gun salute.

His Majesty and the Chinese president later inspected a guard of honour. The Chinese president and Madame Liu were then introduced to other members of the royal family, the speaker of the Legislative Council, Cabinet Ministers, members of the Privy Council, deputy ministers, Commander of the Royal Brunei Armed Forces and Acting Commissioner of Police and their spouses.

Hu and Madame Liu were also introduced to Heads of Foreign Missions, Permanent Secretaries at the Prime Minister's Office and Ministry of Foreign Affairs and their spouses. In return, His Majesty was introduced to members of the president's official delegation.

Their Majesties, the Chinese president and Madam Liu proceeded to the audience ceremony. Also present were HRH the Crown Prince Pg Muda Hj Al-Muhtadee Billah, HRH Paduka Seri Pg Anak Isteri Pg Anak Sarah, HRH Prince Mohamed Bolkiah, HRH Pg Anak Isteri Pg Anak Hjh Zariah, HRH Prince Hj Sufri Bolkiah, Datin Hjh Faizah, HRH Princess Hjh Rashidah Sa'adatul Bolkiah and HRH Princess Hjh Masna.

During the audience ceremony, His Majesty consented to bestow the state decoration of Brunei Darussalam, the Most Esteemed Family Order Laila Utama or Darjah Kerabat Laila Utama Yang Amat Dihormati, DK, which carries the title Dato Laila Utama upon President Hu, RTB reported.

Later, His Majesty and the Chinese leader held a bilateral meeting and discussed bilateral and regional issues of common interest. They also discussed ways to further enhance existing bilateral relations which include trade, investment, tourism as well as defence and health. Also present at the meeting were HRH Prince Mohamed Bolkiah, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and his Chinese counterpart, Mr Li Zhaoxing.

Earlier, His Royal Highness the Crown Prince Pg Muda Hj Al-Muhtadee Billah and Her Royal Highness Paduka Seri Pg Anak Isteri Pg Anak Sarah welcomed President Hu and Madame Liu at Brunei International Airport.

About 50 members from the Chinese community, carrying a banner and flags of both countries were also on hand to greet the Chinese delegation.

President Hu is leading a seven-member delegation including Mr Wang Gang, Member of the Secretariat of the Central Committee of CPC and Director of the General Office, CCCPC; Mr Li Zhaoxing, Minister of Foreign Affairs; Mr Jin Renqing, Minister of Finance; Mr Bo Xilai, Minister of Commerce; and Mr Wang Huning, Director, Central Policy Planning Office.

The Chinese president said, "The traditional friendship between our two people dates back to ancient times. Over the past 14 years after the establishment of diplomatic relations, China-Brunei ties have developed on all fronts."

President Hu also said, "Our political mutual trust has strengthened, cooperation in various fields has scored notable achievements, personal contacts have become more frequent and we have maintained sound coordination and cooperation in international and regional affairs.

"The development of China-Brunei relations has not only brought about tangible benefits to our people, but also contributed to the peace and stability in the region.

"Upholding the diplomacy of building good neighbourly relationships and partnerships with our neighbours, China attaches great importance to developing relations with Brunei.

"I look forward to in-depth exchange of views with His Majesty the Sultan on carrying forward our bilateral relations and on international and regional issues of common interest.

"I am sure that my visit will increase our mutual understanding and trust and promote all-round and in-depth development of our good neighbourly relations and friendly cooperation," the president said.

The Chinese President also said that this is his first trip to the beautiful country of Brunei, the 'Abode of Peace'. "I would like to take this opportunity to extend to the industrious and friendly people of Brunei sincere greetings and best wishes of the people of China." - Borneo Bulletin (21st Apr 2005)