The State Visit by His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam to the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam, was another important milestone that underscored the traditional friendship and close cooperation between Brunei Darussalam and the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam. Both countries looked forward to the strengthening of their friendship with expectations for a higher development level in bilateral relations.

His Majesty and His Excellency Nguyen Phu Trong, the President of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam expressed happiness that the warm and friendly ties between the two countries have been elevated to a Comprehensive Partnership signifying the commitment of both sides to further strengthen the much- valued relationship for the benefit of the two countries and peoples.

The Leaders highlighted that the newly established Comprehensive Partnership will create new momentum to bolster the two countries' multi-faceted cooperation, with focus on the major areas of political relations, defence and security, trade and investment, energy, education and social cooperation, and people-to-people exchange, as well as other fields of mutual interest, and cooperation within multilateral frameworks. These are among the content of 23 matters in a Joint Statement by both leaders in conjunction with the State Visit of His Majesty to the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam.

Both sides acknowledged the importance of maintaining the momentum of exchanges of visits between officials from both sides at all levels including through the existing Joint Commission for Bilateral Cooperation (JCBC) to explore opportunities for cooperation in their mutual interests and to further enhance bilateral trust and partnership. The Leaders encouraged closer cooperation between the parliamentary bodies of the two countries and to consider the establishment of the Viet Nam - Brunei Darussalam Friendship Association in further promoting the people-to-people links.

The Leaders reaffirmed the importance of cooperation in public security through the sharing of experiences to combat transnational organized crimes such as illicit drug trafficking, people smuggling, terrorism, cyber- crime, and money laundering.

The Leaders acknowledged the significant progress in defence cooperation, especially through the effective implementation of the 2005 Memorandum of Understanding on Defence Cooperation and the 2013 Memorandum of Understanding on Navy Cooperation. Both sides agreed to explore further opportunities to promote concrete cooperation between defence forces, including through the sharing of information, exchanging high-level official visits, establishing new consultation mechanisms. Both sides also agreed to closely coordinate and support each other at multilateral defence forums, particularly those under ASEAN frameworks

Conscious of the importance of information exchanges to address illegal, unreported and unregulated, IUU fishing activities, the Leaders looked forward to the implementation of the hotline provided for in the Memorandum of Understanding recently signed by the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam and the Minister of Primary Resources and Tourism of Brunei Darussalam. They also agreed to further enhance maritime cooperation including aquaculture and seafood processing, sharing of experiences and information in law enforcement at sea, cooperation in tackling maritime security challenges to ensure maritime safety and freedom of navigation.

The Leaders agreed to enhance collaboration among educational institutions through students and teachers exchanges, joint research programme and trainings. The Leaders also highlighted the importance of effective implementation of the 2014 Memorandum of Understanding on Education Cooperation and agreed to convene the 2nd Educational Working Group Meeting at the earliest opportunity.

The Leaders welcomed the cooperation between PTSC Mechanical and Construction Co., Ltd. and PB Services Sdn. Bhd. following the signing of the Framework Agreement, establishing a strategic collaboration between the parties in relation to Engineering, Procurement, Construction, Installation, and Commissioning (EPCIC) projects in Brunei Darussalam and regionally.

His Majesty and the President of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam affirmed their commitments to further promote sports, cultural and tourism cooperation through participation in sports and cultural activities, regional and international tourism events, and promotional activities. The Leaders recognised the close geographical proximity between the two countries and agreed there was potential to enhance air connectivity which would facilitate their endeavour for meaningful cooperation and deeper exchanges among the people. The Leaders are also committed to explore and enhance exit/entry facilitation and continue coordinating closely in consular matters regarding their citizens in line with ASEAN's tradition of friendship and solidarity to further facilitate exchange of delegations and tourists. To this end, both countries agreed to consider expanding visa exemption period for Viet Nam's ordinary passports from 14 to 30 days, and for diplomatic and official passports from 14 to 90 days.

His Majesty and His Excellency expressed satisfaction on the excellent cooperation between both countries in regional and international fora, including ASEAN and ASEAN-related mechanisms, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) and the United Nations (UN). Viet Nam expressed appreciation to Brunei Darussalam for its support in the former's bid to become a Non-Permanent Member of the UN Security Council for the term 2020-2021.

The Leaders reiterated their commitment and continued support as well as close cooperation when Viet Nam and Brunei Darussalam serve as ASEAN Chair in 2020 and 2021 respectively. Both sides underlined the importance of maintaining and strengthening solidarity, reaffirmed the importance of maintaining ASEAN centrality and unity in community- building efforts and engagement with external partners. The two countries are committed to working closely together to ensure the full and effective implementation of the ASEAN Community Vision 2025, contributing to peace and stability of the region, promoting regional links and narrowing development gaps. The Leaders also emphasised their support for an ASEAN-centric regional architecture, which is open, transparent, inclusive and rules-based.

The Leaders reaffirmed the commitment to work together in maintaining an open, inclusive and rules-based multilateral trading system and to successfully conclude a comprehensive and mutually beneficial Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) in 2019. The Leaders believed that the conclusion of RCEP would potentially facilitate the expansion of regional trade and investment and contribute to global economic growth and development.

Source: Radio Television Brunei