BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN: Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong says Singapore values the longstanding friendship forged with Brunei, and hopes to build on it for the next generation.
In his speech at a banquet hosted by Brunei’s Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah on Monday evening, Mr Lee expressed appreciation for the Sultan’s personal efforts to strengthen ties between the two countries and encourage closer interaction among ministers, officials and people.
Mr Lee is in Brunei for a three—day visit at the invitation of the Sultan.
Earlier, Mr Lee was received by the Sultan’s son and heir to the throne, Crown Prince Al—Muhtadee Billah.
Brunei and Singapore enjoy excellent relations, and Mr Lee described both countries as old, firm friends.
Mr Lee later met Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah where they discussed the further strengthening of ties.
He said the defence relationship is one of the hallmarks of bilateral ties between the two countries.
"We deeply appreciate Brunei’s provision of jungle training areas for the Singapore Armed Forces. Training in Temburong has become a rite of passage for many Singaporeans. Just last week we commemorated 45 years of National Service. I attended the celebration, and was struck by how fondly our National Servicemen remember their time in Brunei and their warm reception by Bruneians," said Mr Lee.
Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah highlighted the challenges of globalisation that could impact both countries.
"The most significant aspects of our cooperation are in the areas of education, health, trade and defence. These are all areas in which globalisation is driving rapid and far reaching change. The confidence that we have in our work together is evidence in our long standing monetary agreement and our defence consultations including training programmes and joint exercises," he said.
Both leaders will also commemorate the 45th anniversary of the Currency Inter—changeability Agreement, which allows each country’s currency to be used as customary tender in the other country.
Singapore and Brunei postal authority will jointly launch a commemorative stamp later this year as part of the anniversary.
Mr Lee and the Sultan welcomed the proposal for the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the Autoriti Monetari Brunei Darussalam (AMBD) to hold bilateral meetings to discuss monetary issues and areas of mutual interest.
They also discussed regional developments, including Brunei’s preparations for its ASEAN Chairmanship next month. Mr Lee expressed Singapore’s full support for Brunei’s leadership of ASEAN in 2013.
Singapore hopes to explore new opportunities for cooperation in areas like education. Mr Lee said by enhancing education links and promoting exchanges between youths, it will lay the basis for strong relations into the next generation. Mr Lee will be visiting Universiti Brunei Darussalam on Tuesday and he looks forward to interacting with the students there.
The areas of cooperation in education includes Malay language teaching, special education, pre—school education and school twinning. They also agreed on the importance of maintaining regular exchanges and strengthening people—to—people ties. Mr Lee also invited the Sultan to visit Singapore.
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