Joint Press Release of
the Inaugural Meeting of the Joint Steering Committee
the People's Republic of China and Brunei Darussalam
Beijing, 22 January 2020
1. On 21 January 2020, the inaugural meeting of the Joint Steering Committee between China and Brunei Darussalam was co-chaired by State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi of the People's Republic of China and Minister of Foreign Affairs II Dato Seri Setia Haji Erywan bin Pehin Haji Mohd. Yusof of Brunei Darussalam. Also in attendance was Minister at the Prime Minister's Office and Minister of Finance and Economy II Dato Seri Setia Dr. Awang Haji Mohd Amin Liew bin Abdullah of Brunei Darussalam.
2. The two sides commended the positive momentum in the development of China-Brunei relations and following its elevation to a "Strategic Cooperative Partnership". Under the guidance of the important strategic consensus reached by the two heads of states, both sides agreed to further enhance political mutual trust, deepen mutually beneficial economic cooperation, expand people-to-people and cultural connections, and strengthen cooperation in areas of mutual interest at the multilateral fora.
3. Both sides reiterated their commitment to further enhancing bilateral relations in 2021, which will witness the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Brunei Darussalam, the 30th anniversary of the establishment of China-ASEAN Dialogue Relations and Brunei Darussalam's chairmanship of ASEAN in 2021 and the 100th anniversary of the Communist Party of China.
4. Both sides expressed the importance of the Joint Steering Committee (JSC) as an overarching mechanism providing strategic direction on cooperation between China and Brunei Darussalam, and welcomed the inauguration of the JSC in the purpose of further strengthening bilateral relations between China and Brunei Darussalam in various areas of cooperation. Pursuant to the Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of the People's Republic of China and the Government of Brunei Darussalam on Establishing a Joint Steering Committee, both sides agreed to work towards establishing several working groups to discuss future cooperation in the ten (10) areas designated in the aforesaid MOU, namely economic, commercial and technical areas; bilateral trade and investments; legal and judicial; energy; information and communications technology; transportation; maritime; construction; industry; science, technology and innovation.
5. Both sides also agreed to step up the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding on Jointly Promoting Cooperation within the Framework of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road Initiative between the two Governments and the Bilateral Cooperation Plan, to jointly promote high-quality Belt and Road cooperation. In this regard, both sides agreed to further deepen the cooperation of the Brunei-Guangxi Economic Corridor and actively participate in the development of the New Land-Sea Corridor. Both sides also agreed to deepen cooperation in trade and investment, infrastructure, SMEs, e-commerce, human resource development, agriculture, aquaculture, tourism and digital technology.
6. The two sides noted with satisfaction the operations of the Hengyi Industries Sdn. Bhd., a joint venture company between the Government of His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam and Zhejiang Hengyi Petrochemical Co. Ltd. In noting that operations and product exports for the company's refinery and petrochemical plant commenced in November 2019, both sides welcomed this progress as a major milestone for the joint venture. Building on the success of this project, the two sides looked forward to exploring more joint venture opportunities between both countries.
7. China commended the efforts of Brunei Darussalam to increase connectivity between the two countries, especially with the recent establishment of direct flights between capital cities. Both sides also commended the successful launching of "China-Brunei Year of Tourism" in Brunei Darussalam on 17 January 2020. The two sides agreed to take this opportunity to work closely on exchanges and cooperation in various fields including culture, tourism, health, sports, youth, as well as local and municipal officials, among others, in order to foster people-to-people exchanges and cultural ties for better understanding and friendship between the peoples of the two countries.
8. The two sides welcomed the ongoing efforts to enhance the China – Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) cooperation. In relation to this, China expressed support for Brunei Darussalam's role as a hub within the BIMP-EAGA sub-region, by focusing, among others, on the development of Muara Port of Brunei Darussalam.
9. Brunei Darussalam welcomed China's firm commitment in supporting ASEAN's centrality in the regional architecture and China's active participation in and contribution to various processes, including China-ASEAN, the ASEAN Plus Three (APT), the East Asia Summit (EAS) and the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF). Both sides looked forward to further discussions on the building of the East Asia Economic community (EAEc), and called for the signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Agreement by the end of 2020.
10. Both sides reaffirmed their commitment to maintaining and promoting peace, stability and safety in the South China Sea, and the importance of resolving the territorial and jurisdictional disputes through peaceful dialogue and consultations by sovereign states directly concerned, and in accordance with the universally recognised principles of international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). Both sides also reiterated their commitment to work together with other ASEAN Member States towards the full and effective implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) in its entirety, and work towards the early conclusion and adoption of a substantive and effective Code of Conduct in the South China Sea.
11. Against the backdrop of ongoing complex and profound changes in the current international situation, both sides agreed to closely work together in upholding multilateralism and the multilateral trading system, and promote peace, stability and prosperity.
12. Both sides agreed that a meeting of the Joint Steering Committee would be held at a mutually convenient time for both sides.