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Vietnam, Brunei issue joint statement on comprehensive partnership establishment    
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Vietnam, Brunei issue joint statement on comprehensive partnership establishment Party General Secretary and President Nguyen Phu Trong (right) and Brunei's Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah witnessed the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on the use of a hotline to deal with illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing between the Vietnamese Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Brunei Minister of Primary Resources and Tourism.
Mar 28 2019

Vietnam and Brunei have issued a joint statement on the establishment of their comprehensive partnership during the state visit to Vietnam by Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah from March 26-28.

According to the document, leaders of the two countries stressed that the newly-established comprehensive partnership will create more momentum for the bilateral multifaceted cooperation, focusing on politics, national defence-security, trade-investment, energy, education-social affairs, people-to-people exchange, and other spheres of shared concern, as well as collaboration within multilateral frameworks.

They witnessed the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on the use of a hotline to deal with illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing between the Vietnamese Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Brunei Minister of Primary Resources and Tourism.

The two sides shared the view of the significance of maintaining all-level delegations, including the Joint Commission for Bilateral Cooperation, to seek collaboration opportunities for common interests, while further enhancing the partnership and trust between the two countries.

They spoke of marked progress in defence affiliation and agreed to seek more specific cooperation opportunities between defence forces of the two countries, covering information sharing, the exchange of high-level official visits, and the establishment of consultation mechanisms.

Both sides consented to closely coordinate and support each other at multilateral defence forums, particularly within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), such as the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM) and ADMM , as well as the ASEAN Chiefs of Defence Forces’ Meeting (ACDFM), and the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF).

They concurred to step up cooperation to facilitate and promote bilateral trade in a more balanced and sustainable manner, towards the target of 500 million USD by 2025.

They noted with pleasure the bilateral investment ties and reiterated their strong support for increased bilateral investment, especially in government procurement, public services, infrastructure development, fisheries, food processing, manufacturing, and energy.

Both leaders hailed labour cooperation between the two countries, and directed the Vietnamese Ministry of Labour, Invalid, and Social Affairs and the Brunei Ministry of Home Affairs to enhance collaboration in the field for the benefits of both sides.

They shared views on a line-up of regional and international, and reached a consensus on close coordination to handle global and regional challenges, including trans-national crimes, climate change, natural disasters, sustainable development, and food-water-energy security.

They expressed their delight over the sound cooperation at regional and international forums, such as the ASEAN and its mechanisms, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), and the United Nations (UN).

Vietnam thanked Brunei for endorsing the country to become a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for the 2020-2021 tenure.

Both leaders reaffirmed mutual support and close cooperation as the two countries are due to take on the rotary role of the ASEAN Chair in 2020 and 2021. They underlined support for open, transparent, inclusive, and rule-based regional architecture with ASEAN at centre.

They also laid stress on the significance of maintaining and promoting peace, security, stability, safety, and freedom of navigation and overflight in the East Sea. Mutual trust must be enhanced among competent countries, while all disputes must be peacefully settled based on international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (1982 UNCLOS).

All parties need to demilitarise and exercise self-restraint when operating activities which could increase tensions in the East Sea, they said.

They emphasised that they support the full and effective implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC), while welcoming advancements in ASEAN-China cooperation as well as in practical negotiations to finalise a code of conduct in the East Sea (COC).

They committed cooperation towards maintaining an open, inclusive, and rule-based trade system, as well as completing a comprehensive Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) that will secure benefits for related nations in 2019.

Vietnam, Brunei upgrade ties to comprehensive partnership

Party General Secretary and President Nguyen Phu Trong  and visiting Sultan of Brunei Haji Hassanal Bolkiah agreed to lift the bilateral relations to a comprehensive partnership at their talks on March 27.

Welcoming the Sultan, Trong said that Bolkiah’s second visit to Vietnam after 21 years has great significance, marking the two countries’ friendship and cooperation, and upgrading it to a new height.

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

They stressed that the establishment of the comprehensive partnership is a result of positive and sustainable developments in bilateral relations over the recent past, thus renewing motivation to enhance bilateral collaboration in a more effective and practical manner, especially in politics, defence-security, trade, investment, education, people-to-people diplomacy, as well as cooperation within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and other multilateral frameworks.

Both sides agreed to intensify all-level delegation exchanges through all channels to strengthen political trust and mutual understanding so as to create a firm foundation for cooperation in all fields.

They also highlighted the importance of maintaining the effective implementation of the Joint Commitment on Bilateral Cooperation, and considered the establishment of new cooperative mechanisms.

Both host and guest confirmed that potential for bilateral economic cooperation has yet to be fully tapped, and agreed to strive for 500 million USD in two-way trade at an early date, through trade and investment promotion as well as business connectivity activities.

Trong lauded Brunei for remaining the fourth largest ASEAN investor in Vietnam, with nearly 200 projects totalling over 1 billion USD. He committed that Vietnam will continue creating favourable conditions for Bruneian enterprises to do business and investment in Vietnam, particularly in important fields such as infrastructure, energy, high-tech agriculture and industry, food processing, tourism, and services.

The Brunei Sultan pledged to support Vietnam produce products that meet international halal standards in order to approach Muslim markets.

Lauding national defence-security cooperation as a spotlight in bilateral relations over the years, both leaders spoke highly of the effective implementation of the memorandum of understanding (MoU) on defence cooperation in 2005 and the MoU on naval cooperation in 2013.

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

The two sides promised to share experience and expand partnership in the fight against trans-national, organised, human trafficking, terrorist, and cyber crimes; as well as discussed the signing of agreements on extradition, judicial assistance, and transfer of sentenced persons.

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

Furthermore, they discussed measures to enhance culture-education ties, aviation connectivity, and the facilitation of immigration procedures so as to raise mutual understanding and the bilateral friendship.

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

On regional and global issues of shared concern, the guest congratulated Vietnam for successfully hosting the second DPRK-USA summit in February, thereby improving the country’s stature in the region and the world.

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

They consented to continue cooperating and coordinating closely at other multilateral forums, particularly the United Nations, ASEAN, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), and the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM). Meanwhile, they will promote regional economic connectivity via multilateral economic agreements to which both of them 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 affirmed 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 need to strengthen trust as well as the importance of non-militarisation and self-restraint from activities that could complicate tensions in the East Sea.

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

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

PM Phuc stresses significance of Vietnam-Brunei comprehensive partnershipPrime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has said the establishment of the Vietnam-Brunei comprehensive partnership will open up new chapters for the bilateral relations.

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At a meeting with visiting Sultan of Brunei Haji Hassanal Bolkiah in Hanoi on March 27, PM Phuc suggested the two countries increase all-level delegation exchanges, as well as meetings and consultations at multilateral forums in order to ensure the freshly-established bilateral comprehensive partnership develops effectively and pragmatically, and matches potential and position of each side.

Furthermore, they should optimise bilateral cooperation mechanisms to tighten political ties, promptly remove difficulties, and promote collaboration, he said.

The leader expressed his delight at the active development of the Vietnam-Brunei relations across fields, and noted that the Asia-Pacific and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) regions in particular are witnessing intensive changes in all spheres, requiring each country to make suitable adjustments in development models, economic management and response to new cooperation initiatives.

He urged the two countries to join hands in organising the second meeting of the Joint Commission for Bilateral Cooperation slated for 2019 in Brunei, and consider establishing more political consultation mechanisms and joint trade committees.

The leader also suggested promoting cooperation in national defence and security – a highlight of the bilateral ties, given the rapid and unexpected developments in regional security.

PM Phuc also called on the two sides to soundly implement cooperation agreements in defence and security, step up joint training in search and rescue operations, increase visits of naval ships, and closely coordinate at international defence and security forums.

It is necessary to beef up bilateral affiliation in preventing and fighting non-traditional security risks such as terrorists, cross-border crimes, drug smuggling, human trafficking, and high-tech crimes, he said.

The two sides need to pay attention to and deepen economic ties with new, balanced and mutually beneficial approaches, while supporting each other to utilise opportunities generated by the regional economic integration and the Fourth Industrial Revolution, aiming to soon reach the target of raising the bilateral trade to 500 million USD, he said.

The PM also proposed that the two countries intensify trade promotion activities, such as exhibitions, fairs, and business forums, as well as support for their enterprises to network and exchange information.

The two countries should increase two-way investment and create an open legal foundation and an optimal business environment for their enterprises to seek investment opportunities, especially in new economic areas that match the demands of the economic restructuring and modernisation targets of each side, such as infrastructure development.

Due to their strategic geographical location, Vietnam and Brunei should pay more attention to sea cooperation, and take it as a pillar in their comprehensive partnership.

He hailed the Vietnamese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Brunei Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism for establishing a hotline for fishery support, and requested that the two ministries promote the efficiency of the hotline and enhance information exchange not only in fishing activities, but also in search and rescue work.

Praising the two countries’ shared vision on regional and global issues of mutual concern, PM Phuc affirmed that Vietnam always prioritises and seeks to join hands with Brunei to accelerate the implementation of the ASEAN Community Vision 2025, particularly as Vietnam and Brunei are due to take on the rotary ASEAN Chairmanship in 2020 and 2021.

Both nations should coordinate to promote the ASEAN’s role in the region’s strategic issues, he stressed.

Regarding the East Sea issue, PM Phuc said that it is important to ensure peace, stability, security, safety, and freedom of navigation and overflight in the waters while respecting international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (1982 UNCLOS), fully and strictly implementing the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) as well as soon finalising the code of conduct in the East Sea (COC).

Sultan of Brunei Haji Hassanal Bolkiah, for his part, informed PM Phuc that he had a deep discussion with Party General Secretary and President Nguyen Phu Trong on various issues of mutual concern and witnessed the signing of a memorandum of understanding on the prevention of illegal fishing.

He expressed his joy as both nations lifted the bilateral relations to a comprehensive partnership.

As Brunei is making efforts to diversify its economy through the development of various industries and its small- and medium-sized enterprise community, the country wants to boost both bilateral and multilateral cooperation with Vietnam, he stressed.

Vietnam and Brunei have been engaged in many free trade deals, he said, stressing that businesses from the two countries should support each other to expand their markets.

He added that economic connection will facilitate people-to-people exchanges, while helping companies and investors meet and set up partnerships.

Both countries have enjoyed sound cooperation in the field of energy, and Brunei always welcomes Vietnamese firms to join the construction and maintenance of energy projects in the country. The Brunei Sultan spoke highly of Vietnam’s technical support for Brunei to branch out agriculture and said that they boast huge potential for further cooperation in this sector.

Touching on the issue of national defence, he said that both nations should continue working together to handle and respond to traditional and non-traditional challenges.

He took the occasion to congratulate Vietnam for taking on the role as ASEAN Chair in 2020, affirming that Brunei will promote cooperation and solidarity with Vietnam to build a strong and resilient ASEAN Community based on the principle of agreement and non-interference in each other’s internal affairs.

Brunei hailed advancements in the negotiations of the COC. Relevant parties will continue practical cooperation in the framework of the DOC, helping consolidate trust to maintain peace in the East Sea.

The Sultan congratulated Vietnam’s passage of the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), adding that his country will soon ratify the pact and coordinate with Vietnam to finalise negotiations for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) this year.

Praising Vietnam for successfully hosting the second DRPK-USA summit, he said that this shows the increasing trust of the international community in Vietnam, as well as the country’s improved position and role in regional and global peace.
–VNA