Today I met with Brunei Darussalam’s Deputy Minister for Defence, Dato Paduka Haji Mustappa bin Haji Sirat.
Deputy Minister Mustappa is in Australia for a formal bilateral visit. We last met at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore in June 2011.
We discussed our positive bilateral Defence relationship.
Bilateral Defence cooperation activities include exercises, training and personnel exchanges.
Army and Navy conduct regular bilateral exercises with Brunei and military personnel from Brunei observe large-scale exercises in Australia.
A number of Bruneian military personnel have trained in Australia. This year, the first Australian student will study at the Royal Brunei Armed Forces Command and Staff College.
In recognition of our friendly bilateral defence relationship, the Australian Defence Force in 2011 participated in the Royal Brunei Armed Forces Golden Jubilee celebrations, including the Brunei International Tattoo and the inaugural Fleet Review.
We also discussed Brunei’s preparations to Chair ASEAN in 2013.
Australia will work closely with Brunei in the lead up to its chairing of the Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus (ADMM-Plus) in 2013. The ADMM-Plus is an important regional forum focused on practical cooperation on security issues, including maritime security, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.
Minister Mustappa and I agreed that the ADMM-Plus is and should be promoted as an important vehicle for advancing regional security and cooperation.
We discussed the important work being undertaken by the ADMM-Plus Expert Working Groups. I thanked Brunei for its contribution to the Expert Working Group on maritime security, which Australia co-chairs with Malaysia.
This morning, Deputy Minister Mustappa and I laid a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the Australian War Memorial to commemorate the 1945 Battle for North Borneo (now Brunei and Sabah, Malaysia). 114 Australian military personnel died in Operation Oboe Six, which resulted in the liberation of North Borneo from Japanese occupation.
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Mr Smith’s Office: Andrew Porter (02) 6277 7800 or 0419 474 392
Department of Defence: (02) 6127 1999