Ambassador Yu Hong’s Remarks at the Gathering with Bruneian Students China Alumni
19 July 2021
Dear young friends, good afternoon.
Today’s gathering is a very special one, as it is for young friends who studied or are still studying at Chinese universities. It is the first time that the Chinese Embassy hosts such an event. A warm welcome to everyone.
This year marks the 30th anniversary of the establishment of China-Brunei diplomatic relations. Within such a short time of 30 years, China-Brunei relations have improved substantially. His Majesty the Sultan has visited China 12 times. During H.E. President Xi Jinping’s visit to Brunei in 2018, two heads of state elevated the bilateral relations to Strategic Cooperative Partnership. Political mutual trust has seen constant consolidation. Since the outbreak of the COVID-19, the two countries have rendered sympathy and support to each other, with mutual trust and friendship further enhanced. In early February this year, China donated 52,000 doses of Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccines to Brunei, making Brunei the fourth country in the world to receive China’s vaccine donation. We are very glad to see that Sinopharm vaccines have been welcomed in Brunei, and contributed to Brunei’s vaccination program.
Over the past 30 years, bilateral trade has grown from less than 10 million US dollars to 1.9 billion US dollars, an increase of more than 200 times. Two-way investment has grown rapidly from scratch. At present, China is Brunei’s largest source of foreign direct investment. Hengyi Industries has extended downstream oil and gas industry chain in Brunei, transforming a desert island into a modern petrochemical production base. Hengyi Industries has greatly increased Brunei’s foreign trade, provided a large number of direct and indirect employment, and cultivated a large pool of petrochemical talents. The Muara Port, managed by a China-Brunei joint venture, has seen steady improvement in its effectiveness and profits. New name card for Brunei’s modernization, the Sultan Haji Omar Ali Saifuddien Bridge was co-constructed by a Chinese company for the most difficult part, the part in the rainforest. Many advanced technologies and patents were applied in the construction of the Pulau Muara Besar Bridge, demonstrating the advanced level of bridge construction. The areas of China-Brunei cooperation are expanding from petrochemical, infrastructure, tourism, banking and port operations to fishery, e-commerce, and epidemic prevention and control. Dear young friends, many of you are directly involved in the China-Brunei cooperation, we thank you for your invaluable support.
Educational cooperation has developed rapidly as well. Every year, the Chinese government provides Government Scholarships to Bruneian students, and Scholarship for Youth of Excellence Scheme of China (YES CHINA) to students from ASEAN countries. Some universities, such as Sun Yat-sen University, also offer scholarships to students from ASEAN countries. In Brunei, the cooperation between Hengyi Industries, UBD and Zhejiang University began in 2014. To date, 80 students have graduated and started working in Hengyi, serving the development of Brunei’s downstream oil and gas industry. Cooperation in China-Brunei vocational education has also made positive progress.
Dear young friends, you all studied and lived in China for some time, and your understanding of China has deepened because of it. On July 1, China celebrated the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China (CPC). Those who know China’s modern history well will understand that the ruling of the CPC was the choice of history and the choice of the Chinese people. Under the leadership of the CPC, China achieved true independence, and all-round economic and social development, for which the Chinese people are truly proud.
You have had beautiful memories of youth and good times in China and in your university in China. Chinese education is reputable for its high level. China-Brunei cooperation enjoys broad prospects. Time will continue to prove that you have made the right choice, and that your education in China will lead to a promising future and meaningful contribution to the society. It is my hope that you play your role as a bond of friendship and a bridge of cooperation between our two countries. I hope that you can take part in more activities promoting exchanges and cooperation, introduce more about China to your family and friends, visit China more often, and improve your ability to discern fake news. I also hope that more of you can work in Chinese companies in Brunei, and make greater contributions to the development of China-Brunei relations. Due to the COVID-19 epidemic, it is regrettable that some of you can only study online at present. Hopefully, with the worldwide rollout of vaccination programs, the epidemic can be better controlled and you can go back to the campus that you belong to.
Before I conclude, I would like to say loud our common hope that a Bruneian Students China Alumni Association can be founded, in order to strengthen communication and exchanges, and promote the development of China-Brunei relations.
Thank you all.