BRUNEI and China will be looking to extend their maritime and energy cooperation to the next level following the signing of two related documents during a bilateral meeting between the leaders.
His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam met Chinese Premier Li Keqiang atIstana Nurul Iman yesterday, a second top-level meeting between the two countries this year, following the monarch's state visit to China to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping last April.
In yesterday's meeting, His Majesty and the Chinese premier expressed their satisfaction with the ongoing energy cooperation between the two countries, and in particular, between Petroleum Brunei and China National Offshore Oil Cooperation (CNOOC).
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They also encouraged officials from both sides to study other aspects of joint exploration and exploitation of maritime oil and gas resources on the basis of the principles set out in paragraph 10 of the Brunei-China Joint Statement of April 5, 2013.
A Joint Venture Agreement on Oilfield Services between Petroleum Brunei and CNOOC was signed yesterday by Second Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya PekermaDewa Dato Seri Setia Lim Jock Seng as Chairman of Petroleum Brunei, and CNOOC Chairman Wang Yilin.
Before the JV signing, a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on maritime cooperation was signed by Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade His Royal Highness Prince Mohamed Bolkiah and Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi.
During the meeting, His Majesty and the Chinese premier discussed issues related to bilateral relation and exchanged views on regional and international matters, where the monarch expressed appreciation for China's support of Brunei's ASEAN chairmanship this year, and also its continued support for ASEAN's centrality in the evolving regional architecture through the various ASEAN-led processes, including the ASEAN Plus Three, the East Asia Summit and the ASEAN Regional Forum.
Both sides also said they would encourage their respective officials to look into ways to further strengthen the "Brunei-China Strategic Cooperative Relationship" agreed by His Majesty and President Xi in April 2013.
The monarch also expressed appreciation for China's initiative to upgrade the ASEAN-China Free Trade Area, set up an Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and launch a host of projects with support from the ASEAN-China Maritime Cooperation Fund.
According to earlier reports in The Brunei Times, China has set aside three billion yuan ($611 million) for the China-ASEAN Maritime Cooperation Fund to boost trade and investment, connectivity and maritime cooperation between ASEAN and China.
Both leaders also agreed to further enhance cooperation in economics, energy, infrastructure, agriculture and fisheries, defence, education and people-to-people exchanges.
His Royal Highness Prince Hj Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister's Office, also attended the meeting.
Other Chinese senior officials present at the meeting were National Development and Reform Commission Chairman Xu Shaoshi, Minister of Commerce Gao Hucheng, Deputy Secretary-General of the State Council Xiao Jie, Director of Research Office of the State Council Ning Jizhe and China Ambassador to Brunei Zheng Xianglin.
Brunei senior officials present at the meeting included Minister of Development Yang Berhormat PehinOrang Kaya Indera Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Hj Suyoi Hj Osman (Minister-in-Attendance), Second Finance Minister Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Laila Setia Dato Seri Setia Hj Abdul Rahman HjIbrahim, Minister of Energy at the Prime Minister's Office, Yang Berhormat Pehin Datu SingamanteriColonel (Rtd) Dato Seri Paduka (Dr) Hj Mohammad Yasmin Hj Umar and Brunei Ambassador to China DatinPaduka Magdalene Teo Chee Siong.
The Chinese premier departed yesterday morning for Thailand shortly after the bilateral meeting.
Brunei and Japan also recently agreed to strengthen energy cooperation, including exports of liquefied natural gas to Japan and the development of renewable energy. The Brunei Times