Rediscover Brunei Darussalam through the eyes of the People
Image Source: Official White House Photo by Pete Souza
His Majesty and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam is currently in the US and was recently in the Oval Office on 12th March 2013 with President Obama - talking about the upcoming ASEAN East Asia Summit, maritime issues, education, etc.
Here's an excerpt from their remarks after a bilateral meeting; full remarks can be read here.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, it is a great pleasure to welcome my good friend, His Majesty the Sultan of Brunei. The Sultan and I had the opportunity to get to know each other from a series of multilateral meetings, particularly the ASEAN East Asia Summit meeting. He is a key leader in the Southeast Asia region but also widely respected around the world.
And part of the reason that we thought now was a good time for a meeting here in the Oval Office is because His Majesty will be hosting the next ASEAN East Asia Summit meeting in Brunei this October. There are a range of issues that we’ve worked on together, and that should be no surprise because the friendship between the United States and Brunei actually dates back 160 years.
And so at the ASEAN East Asia Summit, we will be discussing a wide range of issues -- everything from how we deal with issues of energy and climate change to how we expand commerce, potentially through the Trans-Pacific Partnership that has the opportunity of creating jobs and prosperity here in the United States but also throughout the region.
We’ll be discussing maritime issues. Obviously there have been a lot of tensions in the region around maritime issues and His Majesty has shown great leadership in trying to bring the countries together to make sure that everybody is abiding by the basic precepts of rule of law and international standards so that conflicts can be resolved peacefully and effectively, and that everybody is brought into that kind of structure.
We’ve also had a chance to work together on educational issues. His Majesty himself and Brunei have helped to finance a number of English language instructors so that more youth in the Southeast Asia region are learning English, which obviously can help to expand commerce, but also strengthen the ties between the United States and the region.
And we’re also going to be doing, for the first time, a joint ASEAN-U.S.-Chinese joint exercises around disaster and humanitarian relief, which points to the fact that our militaries, that are extraordinarily capable, and the bilateral military relationship between the United States and Brunei has the capacity to help people in times of need and to try to help avoid conflict rather than start conflict.
So, Your Majesty, it’s wonderful to see you. Thank you so much.
HIS MAJESTY SULTAN HASSANAL: Ladies and gentlemen of the press. Mr. President, firstly, thank you for inviting me to visit the United States. I know you have a very busy schedule. It’s very kind of you to receive me.
This visit gives me a good opportunity to renew the longstanding and warm friendship between Brunei Darussalam and the United States -- the relations, which dated back to 1850, with the signing of the Treaty of Peace, Friendship, Commerce, and Navigation, soon after the USS Constitution called at our port.
President Barack Obama and I have had an excellent meeting this morning. I am indeed very happy with the progress of our bilateral cooperation, especially in energy, education, defense interests. The Brunei-U.S. joint five-year English language program, which was launched last year, is progressing well. It is meant for the people in ASEAN in order to improve and strengthen the English language skills.
I also had the pleasure to share with President Obama some of our plans as ASEAN chair this year. As ASEAN chair, we have extended an invitation to President Obama to the East Asia Summit and the first ASEAN-U.S. Leaders Summit in October this year.
In closing, I thank President Obama again for today’s meeting. We look forward to welcoming you to Brunei Darussalam later this year, Mr. President, and to working together to strengthen the important relationship between ASEAN and the United States.
Greetings Readers! A week ago around 30 of us from Brunei flew over to Singapore for the Men's Health Singapore Urbanathlon 2013. In case you are unfamiliar with the race, it's a 14km run peppered with a number of obstacles along the way. Traditionally a men's only race (read about last year's event here), this year it was opened up to women as well. All up, over 3,000 people braved the race.
Why did I take part? It is one of the things about the human spirit - to see how far we can push ourselves physically and mentally. Singaporean parathletes Adam Kamis ("One Arm Runner") and Shariff Abdullah ("Singapore Blade Runner") took part in the race to help raise awareness of other local disabled athletes. Others of course, took part in it just for the fun of it!
If you have not yet taken part in an Urbanathlon, I recommend you experience it. Here are some photographs from the event (taken with an iPhone 4S).
The race pack
Warming up with GetFit CrossFit
Bumped into Mr Channel News Asia, Brunei's own Steven Lai
We got to met Oli Pettigrew
People! People every where!
Post-race photographs with others from Brunei
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