Sultan Bolkiah made the proposal on February 7 while receiving Vietnamese Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh, currently on an official visit to Brunei at the invitation of Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Mohamed Bolkiah. He congratulated Vietnam on its achievements during the Renewal (Doi Moi) process and highlighted the development of Brunei-Vietnam relations.
The Sultan praised Vietnamese guest workers in Brunei and said the country is willing to receive more labourers from Vietnam. He also said his country will directly import Vietnamese rice.
In response to FM Minh’s request, Sultan Bolkiah decided to release the Vietnamese fishermen who have recently been detained by the Brunei police.
For his part, Mr Minh reaffirmed Vietnam’s consistent policy of respecting neighbourliness with other ASEAN countries, including Brunei. He also took the opportunity to pass on best wishes to the Sultan on behalf of Vietnamese leaders.
During the talks between FM Minh and Minister Bolkiah, both sides agreed to celebrate the 20 th anniversary of their diplomatic ties, promote the exchange of high-ranking delegations, and hold the first session of the Vietnam-Brunei Joint Committee.
They highly valued the increase in two-way trade, which reached US$200 million in 2011(ten times more than in 2010) and said they will create favourable conditions for businesses to seek opportunities in other countries.
The two ministers proposed signing an agreement on investment promotion and protection as well as a memorandum of understanding on rice trading. They also discussed cooperation in other fields such as labour, oil and gas, agriculture, aquaculture, and tourism.
Both host and guest agreed to consider establishing a mechanism for handling fishermen who illegally penetrate the other’s territory.
Regarding the East Sea issue, they affirmed that it is crucial to ensure peace, stability, security, maritime safety and freedom in the sea.
They stressed that concerned parties should settle disputes through peaceful negotiations in accordance with international laws, especially the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea and look towards building the Code of Conduct in the East Sea.
They also agreed to coordinate closely with other ASEAN countries to create a strong and united ASEAN Community by 2015 and make the Trans-Pacific Economic Partnership Agreement beneficial for all member nations, as well as for the whole region’s development and prosperity.
Brunei is Minister Minh’s second stop-over during his Southeast Asia tour from February 6-9. After Brunei, he will visit Malaysia at the invitation of Malaysian FM Anifah Aman.