Following is the text of a joint statement by the United States and Brunei Darussalam issued on September 20, 2011, following the Inaugural Brunei Darussalam – United States Senior Officials Dialogue in Washington, DC:
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade II of Brunei Darussalam Yang Berhormat Pehin Lim Jock Seng and United States Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell met in Washington, DC on September 20, 2011 to co-chair the inaugural meeting of the Brunei Darussalam – United States Senior Officials Dialogue. The dialogue serves to further enhance the bilateral relations of Brunei Darussalam and the United States and marks a new development in the strategic partnership of both countries. In addition, the dialogue will ensure regular, high-level communication and coordination between Brunei Darussalam and the United States. Present at the dialogue were senior officials from the two governments.
The co-chairs, in the spirit of equal partnership, mutual respect, and a desire to promote close cooperation, reviewed a multifaceted array of bilateral, regional, and global issues of joint interest. The co-chairs noted the constructive nature of the dialogue and areas of immediate follow-up to enhance ongoing collaboration. Both sides decided that the dialogue would be held annually with each country hosting alternate meetings.
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade II Yang Berhormat Pehin Lim and Assistant Secretary Campbell were pleased to launch the dialogue during the Official Visit of His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office. Both sides highlighted His Royal Highness’ productive visit to Washington, DC which included meetings with Secretary Janet Napolitano of the Department of Homeland Security, Deputy Secretary of State William Burns, Deputy Secretary of Defense William Lynn, Vice-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral James Winnefeld Jr., and Under Secretary Lael Brainard of the Treasury Department in which they discussed foreign relations, security, economic, and defense matters. His Royal Highness will also be meeting with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in New York.
The co-chairs noted the good progress made in the field of defense cooperation. The United States attended this year’s 50th Anniversary of the Royal Brunei Armed Forces and participated in the Brunei International Defense Exhibition (BRIDEX) and Fleet Review. Admiral Patrick Walsh, Commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, made a visit to Brunei Darussalam where he met with His Majesty the Sultan and His Royal Highness the Crown Prince. Furthermore, Brunei Darussalam has been sending its cadets to U.S. service academies and cooperates with the United States in maritime security and coordination on humanitarian and disaster relief. Each side reported on the mutually beneficial aspects of the Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) Exercise held annually between the armed forces. They affirmed the importance of unimpeded commerce and freedom of navigation, in accordance with international law, and the peaceful settlement of disputes.
Both sides noted increasing high-level visits between the two countries. In July this year, Yang Berhormat Pehin Lim and Yang Berhormat Pehin Dato Mohammad Yasmin Umar, Minister of Energy at the Prime Minister’s Office visited the United States where they met a number of American companies in the oil and gas sector. The visit aimed to enhance cooperation in the energy sector of both countries. During the visit, they also had a meeting with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The co-chairs noted the importance of strengthened commercial and investment ties and reviewed potential areas of trade and investment. The co-chairs also reviewed progress of discussions in the Trans-Pacific Partnership and renewed their commitment to complete a high standard, 21st century agreement with the other participating countries.
The co-chairs further noted promising areas in biodiversity which can serve to increase science and research partnerships. The co-chairs expressed a desire to focus in the coming year on cooperation related to disaster management, trafficking in persons, interfaith initiatives, and promoting people-to-people exchanges.
The co-chairs discussed regional architecture including ASEAN, the East Asia Summit and Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC). Both sides reviewed possibilities of coordinating on ASEAN development projects. His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu'izzaddin Waddaulah will travel to Hawaii in November to attend the APEC Leaders’ Meeting. President Barack Obama will travel to Asia in November for the East Asia Summit where he will meet with ASEAN heads of state at the U.S. – ASEAN Leaders’ Meeting. The United States looks forward to Brunei Darussalam chairing ASEAN and East Asia Summit in 2013.
Yang Berhormat Pehin Lim also outlined Brunei Darussalam’s conservation goals including important projects in the multilateral Heart of Borneo initiative. Assistant Secretary Campbell reaffirmed U.S. support for Heart of Borneo and noted U.S. financial support over the last five years for Heart of Borneo projects implemented by the World Wildlife Federation.
On global issues, the co-chairs discussed joint collaboration on emerging security, counterterrorism, climate change, and economic matters. They reviewed peacekeeping operations in areas of mutual concern and foreign assistance in critical locations.
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade II Yang Berhormat Pehin Lim and Assistant Secretary Campbell reaffirmed the importance of the Senior Officials Dialogue to strengthen the bilateral relationship and in offering a strategic vision for enhanced future cooperation. The two sides plan to hold the next meeting in Brunei Darussalam in 2012.