Brunei, S Korea need to expand areas of cooperation

National 2 minutes, 48 seconds

BRUNEI-MUARA

FORMER South Korean Prime Minister Han Seung-soo yesterday expressed the importance of expanding areas of cooperation between his country and Brunei, saying there is still much room for both nations to benefit greatly from their close ties.

The areas, he spoke off, include capacity building for human resources, promoting small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the tourism sector, and information and communications technology (ICT).

“South Korea has no (energy) resources but its population is high, while Brunei has a lot of energy resources, but has a small population. In that respect, there is much room for both countries to build new areas of cooperation,” Han told journalists here yesterday.

He said South Korea is keen on helping Bruneians promote their SME products in the tourism sector. To do so, SMEs of both countries must work together and expand the market.

“The tourism sector can create job opportunities,” he added.

Han explained that many Korean tourists have already made Southeast Asian countries such as Philippines, Thailand, Singapore and Indonesia their tourism destinations.

However, the number of Korean tourists visiting Brunei is still relatively small.

“There is no reason why more Koreans could not come to Brunei,” he said, adding that connectivity between the two countries should be improved by providing direct flights, for example.

Speaking of the emerging technology and sustainable development in his country, he highlighted the importance of intellectual property rights.

He recalled that back when the economy in South Korea was still developing, the country had limited skilled professionals in the field of technology. However, in the early 1960s, a lot of Korean scientists and engineers who had worked for companies in developed countries such as the United States and in Europe, took part in the country’s development once they had returned.

“Brunei, too, can send their potential students to study technology and innovation overseas, and when they come back they will be great assets to Brunei’s economy,” he said.

Potential can also be nurtured locally in the Sultanate within some of the many higher education institutions in the country such as Universiti Brunei Darussalam.

Brunei has plenty of time to accomplish the country’s vision of Wawasan 2035, Han added.

Where ASEAN is concerned, he said that Brunei and the other nine member states are very important partners of Korea’s foreign affairs and trade.

“We hope this good relation will be maintained for many years to come,” he said.

Citing an example, Han, also a former special envoy of the United Nations (UN) Secretary-General on Climate Change in 2007-2008, highlighted South Korea’s keen interest in working together with the regional grouping to tackle the challenges of climate change.

Han is also a member of the UN Secretary-General’s Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation, and Founding Chair of the High-Level Experts and Leaders Panel on Water and Disasters.

He is on a four-day visit to the Sultanate from October 27-30 to deliver the third instalment of the Sultan Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien (SOAS) Memorial Lecture.

The lecture titled “How did Korea grow so fast? Lessons for Developing Economies”, aims to explain the main factors that have contributed to the growth of South Korea’s economy since the 1960s, and how the country overcame problems during that period.

The talk will take place at the International Convention Centre (ICC) in Berakas today.

The Brunei Times