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November 29, 2007

BRUNEI-CHINA: Military Training
High Level Brunei-China Military Training Exchanges

Brunei is now taking full advantage of improved defence relations with Asia's military superpower China through continuous training by senior military officials in both nations. "China attaches great importance to the military exchanges and cooperation with Asean countries including Brunei Darussalam," Chinese embassy officials told The Brunei Times yesterday. Since last year, China has been sending its senior military officers to attend the annual Executive Development Programme organised by the Ministry of Defence.

On the same note, Brunei also sends senior Royal Brunei Armed Forces officers to attend military courses at China's Defence Academy. "The Chinese side is willing to carry forward the traditional friendship between the two peoples and jointly safeguard and promote peace and prosperity of the region," said embassy officials. Through the recent establishment of defence attache offices in the two countries, "Brunei-China defence relations are now like those of Brunei and Asean countries," a senior Ministry of Defence official said. Brunei set up a defence attache office in Beijing on April 1 this year, with China following suit two months later. Brunei also has permanent defence representatives in major Asean countries like Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia. Outside the region, the sultanate has established defence attache offices in the United States and the United Kingdom.Brunei-China relations were strengthened when deputy defence minister Pehin Datu Singamanteri Dato Paduka Colonel Hj Mohd Yasmin Hj Umar, visited China at the invitation of the Chinese defence ministry in 2005. The Chief of the General Armament Department of the People's Liberation Army of China, General Chen Bingde, visited the sultanate in August this year.

Pehin Datu Lailaraja Major General Dato Paduka Seri Hj Halbi Hj Mohd Yussof, the Commander of the Royal Brunei Armed Forces, was among the 60 military leaders and servicemen who observed China's first large-scale military exercise open to foreigners, according to Chinese news portal Xinhuanet. Code-named "Iron Fist 2004", the exercise marked China's increasing efforts in promoting transparency within its military, said the report. Diplomatic relations between Brunei and China were established in 1991, when a joint communique was signed during a meeting in New York. A memorandum of understanding for exchanges of visits among military officials was signed between Brunei and China in 2003.

Courtesy The Brunei Times

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