Xi’s visit to Brunei to inject new impetus to bilateral ties: Head of Brunei-China Friendship Association

Opportunities to be brought by the Belt and Road Initiative was a hot topic among Bruneian entrepreneurs, Rahman introduced, adding that the Belt and Road, by promoting cooperation and development, was a road of hope.

By Sun Guangyong, Lin Rui, People’s Daily

Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Brunei would further strengthen bilaterally reciprocal cooperation and inject new impetus to the development of Brunei-China relations, Muhd Firdaus Bin Abdul Rahman, President of Brunei-China Friendship Association (BCFA) told People’s Daily in a recent interview.

Being friendly neighbors facing each other across the sea, Brunei and China enjoyed a long history of exchanges and friendship, said Rahman, adding that Brunei was looking forward to Xi’s visit.

He noted that Brunei and China had conducted in-depth exchanges since ancient times. The two countries started trading with each other in Song Dynasty (960-1279), and Chinese diplomat Zheng He’s fleet once sailed to Brunei in Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), said Rahman.

In recent years, Brunei and China enjoyed frequent high-level exchanges and enhanced non-governmental exchanges, with advancing pragmatic cooperation in various fields, he added.

Petroleum and natural gas were the backbones of Brunei’s economy, Rahman introduced. It was believed that President Xi Jinping’s visit would further strengthen exchanges and cooperation between the two sides in such fields as culture, agriculture and tourism, and boost diversified development of Brunei’s economy, he said.

The economic and trade relations between ASEAN countries and China have become increasingly closer, and both sides depend more on each other. Under the framework of ASEAN, Brunei’s trade relations with China have developed rapidly in recent years.

Rahman told Peoples Daily that he attended the China-ASEAN People-to-People Friendship Conference for 11 times, and Brunei had held the Conference twice.

Since the first China-ASEAN Expo was held in Nanning, capital of southwestern China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region in November 2014, the BCFA has actively participated in the activities to promote China-ASEAN multilateral cooperation, organized entrepreneurs from Brunei to visit China-ASEAN Expo each year and introduced competitive investment projects of both China and ASEAN.

The two countries had witnessed closer and closer cooperation in technology and tourism, and also presented great vitality of economic and trade collaboration, Rahman said.

Rahman told Peoples Daily that the Belt and Road Initiative was highly consistent with the Brunei Vision 2035. The alignment of the two strategies would not only drive the diversified development of Brunei’s economy, but also strengthen cooperation in trade, investment and tourism between China and countries along the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road so as to promote economic development of the Asia-Pacific region.

Opportunities to be brought by the Belt and Road Initiative was a hot topic among Bruneian entrepreneurs, Rahman introduced, adding that the Belt and Road, by promoting cooperation and development, was a road of hope.

Rahman stressed that people-to-people exchanges played a vital role in the Belt and Road construction, and a closer bond between the people would better facilitate related cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative.

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