BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN - Brunei Darussalam and Indonesia yesterday pledged to bolster economic ties, saying more commerce and investment opportunities should be exploited to create "solid and sustainable" trade.
His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu'izzaddin Waddaulah, the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, said the two countries already share strong ties in many fields - such as manpower, defence and education - but that new areas of cooperation should be explored.
"Today we have embarked on cooperation in new fields such as health and commerce," the Monarch remarked on the signing of two new agreements inked yesterday.
His Majesty and Her Majesty Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Hajah Saleha hosted a state banquet last night for the Indonesian President Dato Laila Utama Joko Widodo and his wife, Datin Iriana Widodo, who are in the Sultanate for a two-day visit.
The President said Brunei and Indonesia agreed to find ways to boost trade, in order to create a "solid, balanced and sustainable" trade volume.
"I'm sure there are many investment opportunities in both directions that are mutually beneficial to our countries," he said before the banquet at Istana Nurul Iman.
The President added that both countries can improve tourism, sports and youth cooperation in order to "optimise" the bilateral relationship.
The Sultan also expressed his appreciation towards the 70,000 Indonesian citizens working in Brunei who have made a significant contribution to the development of the country.
The Monarch added that he was satisfied with the progress of defence and education ties, remarking that more Indonesians are coming to study in Brunei.
Both leaders also highlighted the importance of the ASEAN platform, saying Brunei and Indonesia will play an important role in the realisation of the ASEAN Community by 2015 - a concept that will see the 10 member states merge their economies into a single market and production base.
"What is important is that we give ASEAN citizens a sense that this community is relevant and that we approach challenges through consensus," His Majesty said.
The President added that Brunei had played an active role in maintaining stability and peace in the region at a time when tensions were rife over disputed territory in the South China Sea.
"His Majesty's leadership qualities have been tested in various fora, particularly within the framework of ASEAN… When Brunei held the chairmanship of ASEAN in 2013, it gained high recognition and the appreciation of all ASEAN member states," he said.
"Indonesia and Brunei can play a constructive role in order to strengthen peace, stability, and peace in the region, as well as at the global level."
The President also extended an invitation to His Majesty to attend the 60th Asia-Africa Conference and 10th New Asian-African Strategic Partnership in Jakarta and Bandung from April 22 to 24.
The President, who is popularly known in his home country as 'Jokowi', took office on October 30 as Indonesia's seventh President.
He is in Brunei as part of an introductory tour to ASEAN countries.
Also present at the state banquet yesterday were His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister's Office; Her Royal Highness Pengiran Anak Isteri Pengiran Anak Sarah; HRH Prince Mohamed Bolkiah, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade; HRH Prince Haji Sufri Bolkiah; YAM Pengiran Bini Hajah Faizah; HRH Prince Haji Jefri Bolkiah; HRH Prince 'Abdul Malik; HRH Prince 'Abdul Mateen; HRH Prince 'Abdul Wakeel; HRH Princess Hajah Rashidah Sa'adatul Bolkiah; HRH Princess Hajah Majeedah Nuurul Bolkiah; HRH Princess Ameerah Wardatul Bolkiah; HRH Princess Hajah Masna, Ambassador-at-Large at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade; and HRH Princess Hajah Umi Kalthum Al-Islam.