Chinese president upbeat on bilateral trade with Brunei
By James Kon

Brunei Darussalam is among the economically developed countries in Southeast Asia, thanks to the relentless efforts of the People of Brunei Darussalam under His Majesty's leadership.

This was stated by Mr Hu Jintao, the President of the People's Republic of China in his keynote address at a business luncheon hosted by the Brunei China Friendship Association, yesterday afternoon at the Indera Kayangan Ballroom of The Empire Hotel and Country Club.

The Chinese president also lauded the friendly ties between Brunei and China since the earliest exchange was conducted by diplomatic envoys and merchants in the 6th Century especially with the visit of Zheng He, the great navigator of the Ming Dynasty to Brunei during his seven voyages to the western seas, and the visit of Brunei Maharaja Karna to China in about the same period of history.

Touching on the testimonial to the friendly exchanges between the peoples of both nations in ancient time, Mr Hu Jintao then cited that Jalan Ong Sum Ping, a street in Brunei Darussalam is named after one of Zheng He's commanders while the Tomb of the Ruler of P'o-ni can be found in Nanjing, China.

"Since the establishment of diplomatic ties between us in 1991, the China-Brunei Relationship has entered a new period of comprehensive development," said Mr Hu Jintao.

"Besides His Majesty's five visits to China, Brunei and China have constantly expanded economic cooperation and trade, and achieved remarkable results in Crude Oil trade and Infrastructure Development cooperation. Sound progress has also been made in exchanges and cooperation in the Cultural, Sports, Health, Tourism, Military, and Judicial fields, among others," the Chinese president added.

"To support Brunei's strategy of economic diversification, China will continue to encourage competitive Chinese enterprises to participate in areas of infrastructure, development such as the petrochemical industry, port facilities, housing, telecommunications, road and bridge construction as well as water and power supply," Mr Hu Jintao added. "China also welcomes investment from Brunei."

The President of the Brunei China Friendship Association, Dr. Hj Kamaruddin bin Dato Seri Paduka Hj Talib in his welcoming speech gave a brief introduction on Brunei as a peaceful and stable place filled with business opportunities for Chinese investors.

Also present at the business luncheon were Pehin Dato Seri Setia Dr. Awg Hj Ahmad bin Hj Jumat, the Minister of Development, Mr Robert Koh Hoe Kiat and Mr Ang Swee Chuan, the Vice President of Brunei China Friendship Association, Mr Tan Kah Hock, the Secretary General and Mr Chan Sui Kiat, the Treasurer, with other members of the association, senior government officials and prominent local businessmen. - Borneo Bulletin (22nd Apr 2005)