I’m leaving for Malaysia from Brunei, the destination for my first overseas tour and state visit of the year. The people of Brunei and Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah have been especially gracious in their hospitality throughout my stay. I will never forget the heavily wooded forests in many parts of the capital Bandar Seri Begawan and the magnificent sunsets.
Located in northern Borneo, the Islamic kingdom of Brunei has a population of a little over 400,000. Though small in size, the country’s per capita income nears US$30,000, yet the people live simple and unpretentious lives. Since the establishment of diplomatic ties in 1984, Korea and Brunei have maintained longstanding energy cooperation.
The country is pushing ahead with Brunei Vision 2035 to take it beyond a resource-rich nation and create new growth engines. As part of this effort, the country is constructing Temburong Bridge to link its eastern and western parts. A Korean company is taking part in the project and contributing to the realization of the Vision. During this visit, an agreement was reached to strengthen economic cooperation in tandem with Korea’s New Southern Policy in advanced industries, including information and communication technology, smart cities and renewable energy, as well as in intellectual property rights, national defense and the defense industry.
Brunei, the Country Coordinator for ASEAN-Korea Dialogue Relations, has become a reliable, friendly nation connecting Korea and ASEAN member states. I hope that Brunei – often called a world treasure – will develop with us together and stay beautiful forever.