BRUNEI -- A Palace official said Monday that President Rodrigo Duterte's bilateral meeting with His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu'izzadin Waddaulah, Sultan and Yang Di Pertuan was "very fruitful."
In a press briefing, Communications Secretary Martin Andanar told reporters that the closed-door meeting between Duterte and Sultan Bolkiah held at the Istana Nurul Iman took about 30 minutes.
Andanar said the two leaders vowed to strengthen the ties between the Philippines and Brunei, the two-way trade and investments, and the Brunei's cooperation to achieve long-lasting peace in Mindanao, and the Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East Asean growth area.
"The bilateral meeting earlier at the Istana nurul Iman lasted about 30 minutes with President Rodrigo Duterte leading his contingent, the delegation and the counterpart, of course, Sultan Bolkiah. And it was very fruitful for 30 minutes," Andanar said.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay said Duterte's visit to Brunei "has been a breakthrough of all sorts."
Yasay said that during the bilateral discussion, Sultan Bolkiah had expressed his full support on Duterte's staunch war on drugs.
He said the two leaders were also committed to be engaged in cooperation with respect to maritime security and defense, sharing of information to interdict piracy in the area between the Philippines and Brunei.
Yasay said the two leaders also discussed the territorial row over the West Philippine Sea. Both the Philippines and Brunei are claimants of the disputed islands in the South China Sea.
Yasay said Sultan Bolkiah had told them that the issue on the West Philippine Sea should be discussed. He, however, echoed Duterte's recent statement that the Philippine government would stick to its position not to tackle the issue when he visits China from October 18 to 22.
“Very briefly, the President had brought out his position with respect to our claims over the South China Sea. We recognized that Brunei had carried on the position that its claim over a portion of a South China Sea against China is a matter that should be discussed, with them exclusively on a bilateral engagement basis,” Yasay said.
"On the part of the President, he had made it clear that in pursuing these talks with China, maybe now is not the time but eventually, when there will be the opportunity to discuss more substantively in the bilateral engagement this issue, we will be doing so on pursuing it within the framework of the arbitral tribunal’s decision," he added. (Sunnex)