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President Hu Jintao Holds Talks with Bruneian Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah

On the afternoon of April 20, 2005, President Hu Jintao held talks with Bruneian Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah to exchange in-depth views on bilateral relations and regional issues of common concern and reached important consensus. They indicated the willingness to make joint efforts to consolidate and develop China-Brunei good neighborly relations of friendship and cooperation on the present basis.

Upon arrival, Hu left the International Airport of Brunei directly for the royal palace. National flags of China and Brunei were flying along roads connecting the airport and the royal palace. Crowds of people welcomed the arrival of President Hu waving little colored flags in their hands. Bolkiah held a welcoming ceremony for President Hu at the square in front of royal palace. Deafening salutes resounded in the sky with national anthems played by the military band. Escorted by Bolkiah, Hu reviewed the guards of honor of the Bruneian royal armed forces.

During the talks, Bolkiah expressed warm welcome to President Hu's visit on behalf of the Bruneian people. He said, recent years have witnessed delighting achievements in Brunei-China friendly cooperation in economy, trade, education, health, energy and tourism. He believed President Hu's visit will strongly push forward the further comprehensive development of bilateral relations. Hu said, relations between China and Brunei are great. The top leaderships of the two countries have been exchanging visits frequently. Bilateral cooperation in various fields has been very productive. The two countries have also maintained sound coordination and support in international and regional affairs. Brunei is a close neighbor for China and it is a consistent policy for China to develop good neighborly relations of friendship and cooperation with Brunei. China would like to continue to make joint efforts with Brunei to ensure the two countries to be good neighbors, friends and partners forever.

Hu proposed a few suggestions on the further development of bilateral relations.

First, both sides should launch some activities to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries next year to carry forward the traditional friendship between the two peoples and the two nations.

Second, China and Brunei enjoy strong economic complementarities. China enjoys advantages in human resources, market and technology while Brunei boasts rich capital and abundant oil and gas resources. There is great potential for bilateral economic and trade cooperation. We may further expand economic and trade cooperation in line with our own development strategies so as to realize mutual benefits and create a win-win situation.

Third, the two sides should conduct closer cooperation in energy. Crude oil has become the pillar for bilateral economic and trade cooperation. The business communities in the two countries may enhance exchanges and cooperation.

Fourth, China gives top priority to developing cooperation in tourism and aviation with Brunei and will continue to encourage Chinese tourists to travel in Brunei.

Fifth, the two countries may enhance cooperation in military personnel exchange and training to promote better development of the relations between the military bodies of the two countries.

Sixth, China welcomes Brunei to open consulates general in Shanghai and Hong Kong.

Bolkiah said President Hu's suggestions demonstrate the active attitude of the Chinese government to develop good-neighborly relations with Brunei. The Bruneian side fully agreed with him and indicated they will make joint efforts with China to realize these objectives.

The two leaders also talked about the cooperation in the South China Sea. Hu indicated China has consistently insisted to solve the South China Sea issue in the principle of shelving disputes and joint development. We would like to actively explore the channels and means for the joint development in the disputed areas of the South China Sea with Brunei and other ASEAN countries on basis of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefits and with a flexible and open attitude so as to make the South China Sea a sea of friendship and cooperation as well as a bridge between China and ASEAN countries.

Bolkiah indicated the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea signed between China and the ASEAN countries is a great step forward. Brunei holds a positive attitude to this.

Hu also exchanged views with Bolkiah on the impending Asia-Africa Summit. Both believed the summit is an important gathering for leaders in developing countries in Asia and Africa. It is of great significance to promoting exchanges and communication between Asian and African nations, strengthening unity and cooperation between developing countries and maintaining common interests.

On the afternoon of the same day, the governments and businesses of China and Brunei signed 5 bilateral co-operative agreements on the waiving of diplomatic and official visas, implementation of health cooperation, and 3G communications.

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