Bogor, W Java (ANTARA News) - President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) chaired a bilateral meeting with the Sultan of Brunei Darussalam, Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah, and his delegation, at Bogor Palace, West Java, on Thursday.

The president was accompanied by Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs Wiranto, Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi, Health Minister Nila Moeloek, Labor Minister Hanif Dhakiri, Education and Culture Minister Muhadjir Effendi, State Secretary Minister Pratikno, and Cabinet Secretary Pramono Anung.

"We welcome Sultan Bolkiah and the delegation to Bogor City. It is an honor for us to receive our Majesty`s visit to Indonesia," the president said at the opening of a bilateral meeting.

He stated that the cooperation between Indonesia and Brunei in all areas has been going well.

The Sultan of Brunei noted that his visit to Indonesia was a return visit after Jokowi attended the 50th anniversary of Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah`s reign on Oct 6, 2017.

"I believe this exchange visit reflects our friendship and loyalty and strengthens the cooperation that has been established so far," Bolkiah remarked.

Marsudi noted that the bilateral talks led by the two leaders discussed trade, labor, and code of conduct issues related to the South China Sea.

Marsudi added that the trade between Indonesia and Brunei has decreased, but it was not related to the trading volume.

"The decline is related to the value of trade due to a decline in oil prices. Brunei has previously exported oil to Indonesia. As oil prices fall, the trade value will automatically go down," Marsudi revealed.

She noted at the bilateral meeting that the two leaders emphasized the need to find ways to increase trade by exploring the areas of cooperation and investment that can be established by both countries.

"Both leaders noted some investment areas which have high potential to be developed, among others, in the fields of fisheries, agriculture, shipping, and ports," she explained.

The foreign minister added that one thing that Indonesia and Brunei were trying to develop in agriculture was the B9 and 188 varieties.

"These can be developed by the two countries, which is just an example of cooperation in agriculture," she added.

Regarding labor issue, Marsudi pointed out that there are about 80 thousand Indonesian citizens living in Brunei Darussalam, which makes up about 20 percent of the total population of the country.

"During the meeting, the Sultan thanked the Indonesian workers in Brunei Darussalam, who have been contributing well to the economy and social growth of the country," Marsudi revealed.

The foreign minister stated that the president has entrusted the Indonesian migrant workers in Brunei to that country, and Sultan Bolkiah has expressed his committed to take their security and health into consideration.

"The Memorandum of Understanding on the protection of Indonesian Citizens in Brunei Darussalam will begin to be discussed and negotiated between the two sides," she noted.

The foreign minister revealed that the labor issue has been submitted to the Indonesian Labor Minister Hanif Dhakiri in the hope that negotiations could be resolved soon.

The two leaders also discussed "beyond bilateral" issues on the importance of centrality and unity of ASEAN.

"They also discussed about the importance of ASEAN, in order to give more support to ASEAN humanitarian assistance center, or AHA center, whose headquarters is in Jakarta," she explained.

Marsudi added that the AHA Center is the hand of ASEAN to help people deal with disasters or any humanitarian problems, but it still less developed in terms of funding. "Therefore, at the summit, Indonesia, Brunei, and ASEAN called on the ASEAN member countries to provide more financial backups for the operations of AHA center," she elaborated.

The president and Sultan Bolkiah also agreed on the importance of negotiations on the code of conduct.

"The current situation, which is good, should be preserved, so that negotiations on the code of conduct issue would be resolved soon," she noted.

In the bilateral meeting, the president gave his appreciation to Brunei Darussalam for its support for the Indonesian Indo-Pacific concept.


Reporter: antara
Editor: Heru Purwanto
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