Royal praise for partnership with China
By Azlan Othman

His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam on Wednesday night underlined the expansion of ties and cooperation between Brunei and China.

In his 'Titah' at the state banquet held in honour of President Hu Jintao of the People's Republic of China Wednesday night, His Majesty noted that ever since both countries established diplomatic relations in 1991, friendship has steadily grown.

"We have deepened the scope of our cooperation. We now share a valuable body of formal cooperation. It is serving us well in many important areas, from education, health and culture to energy, tourism, communications, defence and legal affairs. All this is in addition to the crucial work today of opening up new trade and investment opportunities. It has been set up in a fine spirit of common respect and common purpose," His Majesty said.

The monarch said that both countries respect each other's fundamental policies and are working together in a most positive manner.

"I am delighted that this will soon be given substance in the founding of our own Brunei-China Friendship Association. I am also very pleased that next year we will be working even more closely together as partners when Brunei becomes the country coordinator for the Asean-China dialogue.

"2006 will also mark the 15th anniversary, both of the dialogue and establishment of our own diplomatic relations. We look forward to all this with keen participation"

His Majesty said, "whenever we have the pleasure of receiving leaders from the People's Republic of China, we are reliving our own history.

"Hundreds of years ago, our ancestors travelled to China on affairs of state. They obviously sought practical things such as trade, commerce and diplomatic relations. They also sought something that has been dear to our people's hearts. This is the chance to look outwards to get to know our neighbours well and to learn of their hopes and their ambitions. The means by which we travel today may have dramatically changed. But the motives are still very much the same."

His Majesty added that friendship means not only appreciating things that benefit oneself. It also reflects the feelings one has towards one's partner.

"In this respect I can assure you that I speak on behalf of all my people in saying that all the feelings we have towards the People's Republic of China are ones of enormous admiration for what your people have achieved.

"Every time I visit your country, I am truly astonished at the progress that your people make in almost every area of modern development. I congratulate them most warmly on the way they have taken on the new century with all its difficult changes. They are showing that it can be mastered in every sector of society.

"We offer our great admiration for their many successes in research, business, technology, the arts and sport.

"I am sure that when the world meets in Beijing for the 2008 Olympic Games, it will be quite overwhelmed by the extent of your country's development and richness of its talent. The Olympics will be China's contribution to peace, happiness and goodwill to the people of all communities and all nations".

His Majesty thanked President Hu for the responsibilities his government has so willingly accepted as one of the region's most important leaders. "Whether as a permanent member of the Security Council or a vital part of many international organisations or as a strong supporter of our own Asean initiatives, you have played a positive and constructive role in the affairs of the region we all share."

Meanwhile, President Hu in his speech said developing China-Brunei friendship and cooperation not only benefits the fundamental interests of the two countries, but also contributes to peace, stability and prosperity in this region.

"I firmly believe that with our joint efforts, China-Brunei relationship will be steadily upgraded to higher levels."

President Hu added that the relations of good neighbourly friendship and cooperation between China and Brunei have already become a shining example of equal treatment, mutually beneficial cooperation and harmonious coexistence between big and small countries.

Meanwhile, Xinhua reported: President Hu proposed that China and Brunei hold celebrations next year at the 15th anniversary of full diplomatic ties, expand economic cooperation in human resources, market, technology, capital and resources. He also proposed the two countries step up cooperation in the area of oil trade. - Borneo Bulletin (22nd Apr 2005)