State Visits

Southeast Asian Affairs, January 1, 2001 | Go to article overview

State Visits


The APEC summit was framed by state visits to the sultanate by President Kim Dae-Jung of South Korea (immediately before), and President Jiang Zemin of the People's Republic of China (immediately afterwards).

At a state banquet on 13 November, His Majesty noted that the visit by Nobel-laureate Kim offered "a unique opportunity to reaffirm ties and explore new areas of cooperation between NBD and the Republic of Korea". The sultanate looked forward to developing contacts with South Korea at government-to-government and private sector levels. Technology transfer and assistance in the education and training of the people would be welcome. As a first step, an agreement concerning the reciprocal protection of investments between the two countries would be signed on 14 November. The Korean President noted that the importance of NBD was growing by the day as a source of energy supply. In bilateral discussions, the two leaders also touched upon the problems faced by Hyundai, a Korean company.15

Diplomatic relations were established between NBD and China on 30 September 1991, although Chinese links with Borneo actually stretch back well over a thousand years. HM the Sultan had visited Beijing in November 1993 and August 1999. During President Jiang Zemin's state visit (17-18 November 2000), the first by a Chinese head of state to the sultanate, three economic agreements were signed. The most important MOU (memorandum of understanding) was a one-year renewable Sale of Oil Agreement between the Brunei Shell Petroleum Company and the China International United Petroleum and Chemicals Company (UNIPEC) for ten thousand barrels per day of Champion Export Crude Oil. This was the first time the sultanate had secured a presence in the Chinese market, whilst for UNIPEC, the agreement represented a further step in its efforts to secure supplies of high quality crude oil from a variety of sources. The second MOU involved the encouragement and reciprocal protection of investments. The third aimed to establish NBD as an "official tourism destination", thereby enabling Chinese tourists to visit the country in greater numbers. A number of approved travel agencies had been nominated for use by tour groups of no fewer than five people; independent travellers were not affected.

Earlier in the year (31 January to 2 February), a State Visit was paid to NBD by HM the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong of Malaysia, Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah Al-Haj of Selangor.16 Other eminent visitors to Bandar Seri Begawan included President Abdurrahman Wahid (27 February), General Pervez Musharraf (31 March to 2 April), Xanana Gusma ~ o of East Timor (late May), Kate Carnell, Chief Minister of the Australian Capital Territory (mid-July), Hun Sen (19-21 August),17 the Earl and Countess of Wessex (25-27 October), Dr Mahathir Mohamad (late October), Lee Kuan Lew (early November), and Chelsea Clinton (accompanying her father during the APEC Summit). …

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