S'pore, Brunei pledge to nurture strong ties

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN - Singapore and Brunei have reaffirmed their strong and longstanding ties and pledged to support more exchanges between their younger leaders.

At a meeting on Monday, Singapore's Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean and Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah "reaffirmed the strong and longstanding ties between Singapore and Brunei, with defence cooperation as a key pillar", according to a press statement from Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA).

The two leaders "welcomed efforts to expand collaboration in newer areas such as youth engagement and health", the statement said.

DPM Teo also congratulated the Sultan on his chairmanship of ASEAN and his efforts in maintaining regional unity and cohesion, amid a challenging international environment.

DPM Teo is on a three-day visit to Brunei with a delegation of young leaders including Mr Heng Swee Keat, Minister for Education; Mr Lawrence Wong, Acting Minister for Culture, Community and Youth; and Mr Lee Yi Shyan, Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry and for National Development.

DPM Teo is also accompanied by Mrs Teo, who met the Sultan's wife Raja Isteri separately.

The Singapore delegation also called on Crown Prince Al-Muhtadee Billah and Princess Sarah on Monday. DPM Teo thanked the Crown Prince for his strong support in enhancing bilateral ties, said MFA.

They agreed that "the strong historical and personal linkages... should be sustained into the next generation" and they supported more exchanges between younger leaders from both countries.

DPM Teo invited the Crown Prince to make a return visit to the city state, said MFA.

The Singapore delegation also visited the Nakhoda Ragam Vocational School, where they met Minister of Education Pehin Haji Abu Bakar Apong and other senior officials. The delegation was briefed on Brunei's efforts to strengthen its vocational and technical education system.

DPM Teo expressed support for Brunei's efforts and said Singapore looked forward to "sharing our experiences in the vocational and technical education sector".

Mr Heng and Mr Lee also met Brunei's Deputy Minister at the Prime Minister's Office and chairman of Brunei Economic Development Board, Datuk Paduka Haji Ali Apong. They discussed Brunei's economy and possibilities for greater private sector collaboration between the two countries.

The delegation will end their visit tomorrow.

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