Viet Nam-Brunei: Celebrating 30 years of friendship

Since the establishment of the diplomatic ties between the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam and Brunei Darussalam 30 years ago, the bilateral relations between the two have witnessed steady growth.
Đại sứ Việt Nam tại Brunei Trần Văn Khoa
Viet Nam's Ambassador to Brunei Darussalam Tran Van Khoa. (Source: Viet Nam's embassy in Brunei)

On the occasion of the 30th Anniversary of the establishment of the Viet Nam – Brunei bilateral diplomatic relations (29/02/1992-28/02/2022), I would like to highlight some of the significant events during the past years and share the forward-looking viewpoints of our bilateral relations in the years to come.

The Embassy of Viet Nam in Bandar Seri Begawan was set up in June 1995 while Brunei Darussalam opened its embassy in Ha Noi in December that year. The two countries established their respective Defense Attache Offices in 2009.

One of the most significant milestones in the history of Viet Nam’s foreign affairs, Viet Nam’s inauguration to become member of the ASEAN bloc, was held here in Brunei Darussalam in 1995.

Over the past 30 years, Viet Nam and Brunei have enjoyed profound friendship and fruitful cooperation; reaching numerous bilateral agreements and memoranda of understanding which further foster relations in various fields.

In 2019, during the state visit to Viet Nam by His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah, leaders of the two countries have agreed to elevate bilateral relations to Comprehensive Partnership, marking the new level of closer ties and stronger cooperation for Viet Nam and Brunei Darussalam. Under the Comprehensive Partnership framework, it is truly believed that bilateral relations will continue to grow and flourish in depth and dimension to the mutual benefit of the two nations in the years ahead.

Trade turnover between the two nations has surpassed 200 million USD in 2020 and 2021 (expectedly) amid the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic. However, there are more potential areas to enhance bilateral trade, the recorded statistics are still humble compared to the strong relations between the two countries. Some of the major fields for further trade cooperation include agriculture and fisheries, Halal food industry, e-commerce and technology, building and construction, and healthcare products.

Viet Nam welcomes Bruneian investments particularly in the fields of industries, tourism, logistics, agriculture, and fisheries, as well as technology, healthcare, education, environment, and renewable energy. Likewise, Vietnamese businesses are encouraged to further explore investment opportunities in Brunei.

In the recent years, I am very delighted to note that Vietnamese firms have been able to join hands in participating in Brunei’s masterplan in the efforts to diversify its economy. Viet Nam’s state-owned machinery builder LILAMA has been carrying out a three-year project as the subcontractor to take part in building the factories for the Brunei Fertilizer Industries (BFI). A division of Petro Viet Nam (PetroDrilling, Brunei branch) have also been joining Brunei Shell Petroleum (BSP) in an offshore project since 2021.

These two companies have created thousands of employment opportunities, both for local people as well as Vietnamese high-skilled workers. Besides around 1500 Vietnamese workers at these two large-scaled projects, there remains about 200 other Vietnamese people who are working under long-term contracts in Brunei and tens of Vietnamese women who married local people. I would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to the Government of His Majesty for creating favourable living conditions for Vietnamese workers and migrants to settle their lives in the country.

In multilateral cooperation, Viet Nam and Brunei have maintained active and strong supports toward each other in international fora of which the two countries are members. Particularly, in the year 2020 and 2021 when Viet Nam and Brunei respectively took turn as the Chair of ASEAN, both countries have strongly supported each other in effort to realize ASEAN’s priorities to contribute to the building of ASEAN Community, and the two will continue to work closely together to promote regional recovery post pandemic.

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