SINGAPORE: The leaders of Brunei and Singapore reaffirmed their “special and close” bilateral relationship during the Sultan of Brunei Hassanal Bolkiah’s two-day state visit, Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said on Wednesday.
Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah received a ceremonial welcome at the Istana on Wednesday morning, on the first day of his state visit, MFA said in a statement.
The Sultan paid a courtesy call on President Tony Tan while Mrs Mary Tan hosted the Sultan’s wife, Hajah Saleha to tea and a tour of the Istana Heritage Gallery.
President Tony Tan and the Brunei Sultan noted the excellent state of bilateral relations, as well as the “very warm and long-standing ties between the leaders and peoples of both countries”, according to a statement from Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) on Wednesday.
Dr Tan thanked the Sultan for his strong support in the bilateral relationship, and said that Singapore looked forward to further enhancing its strong ties with Brunei.
In a Facebook post on Wednesday, Dr Tan said: “The excellent Singapore-Brunei relationship is built on the strong ties and personal friendships between the peoples of both countries, tracing all the way back to the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew and the late Seri Begawan.”
Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah also met with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in a four-eye meeting, where the two leaders affirmed their “special and close bilateral relationship”. They welcomed the continued close cooperation between Singapore and Brunei over various ways, including finance, defence, education, security and health, MFA said.
Mr Lee and the Sultan also discussed developments in the region and the importance of working together to tackle the common challenges that both countries face.
Mrs Lee meanwhile hosted Hajah Saleha to lunch.
PM Lee and the Brunei Sultan also launched commemorative S$50 and B$50 notes to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Currency Interchangeability Agreement between the two countries.
The President and Mrs Tan will host a state banquet in honour of the Sultan and his wife on Wednesday evening.