President Obama welcomed Brunei’s Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah to the White House March 12 and said he is looking forward to attending the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) conference that Brunei will host in October.
The conference will include discussions on energy and climate change, expanding commerce through the Trans-Pacific Partnership, maritime issues, education, English-language programs, and U.S.-ASEAN-Chinese humanitarian and disaster relief joint exercises, Obama said.
The president praised Sultan Hassanal for financing several English-language teaching programs for Southeast Asian youth, which he said will expand commerce and strengthen ties between the United States and nations in the region. He also said the Brunei-U.S. military relationship “has the capacity to help people in times of need and to try to help avoid conflict, rather than start conflict.”
The sultan said the United States “has been a good friend to ASEAN” and that he looks forward to welcoming Obama to Brunei in October.