Brunei

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Overview
<div>Barely larger than Cincinnati, OH, in terms of population, the tiny kingdom of Brunei is best known for oil and its longstanding monarchy. The Sultanate has ruled the Southeast Asian country for more than 500 years, except for the approximately 100 years when Brunei was part of the British Empire from the late 19th Century to the late 20th. Huge oil reserves were discovered in the 1920s, which made the Muslim nation of only 300,000 very wealthy. That wealth went to the heads of some members of the royal family, namely Prince Jefri Bolkiah (aka &ldquo;the Playboy Prince&rdquo;), younger brother of Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah. Jefri Bolkiah made worldwide headlines several years ago when he was accused of embezzling $16 billion from the Brunei government while serving as finance minister. The United States&rsquo; relationship with Brunei has centered mostly around oil, which represents the largest source of trade between the two countries.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div>
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Basic Information
<div><b>Lay of the Land</b>: Brunei, in southeast Asia, consists of two enclaves on the northern coast of Borneo.&nbsp;Both sections are completely surrounded by the Malaysian state of Sarawak.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><b>Population</b>: 381,371</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><b>Religions</b>: Muslim 55.2%, Christian 15.0%, Ethnoreligious 10.7%, Buddhist 9.7%, Chinese Universalist 5.2%, Confucianist 1.9%, Hindu 0.9%, Baha'i 0.3%, non-religious 1.1%.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><b>Ethnic Groups</b>: Malay 66.3%, Chinese 11.2%, indigenous 3.4%, other 19.1%.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><b>Languages</b>: Brunei 68.5%, Chinese (Hakka, Mandarin, Min Dong, Min Nan, Yue) 10.3%, Tutong 7.1%, Iban 3.9%, English (official) 2.1%, Malay (official).&nbsp;There are 17 living languages in Brunei.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div>
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History
<div>Brunei has been ruled by the same monarchy (the Brunei Sultanate) for the past 500 years. An ancient kingdom was in power beginning in the 7th or 8th Century. The Sumatran Hindu Empire of Srivijaya conquered the ancient Brunei kingdom around the 9th Century, and expanded its reach as far as Borneo and the Philippines. The modern day kingdom (whose lineage extends to today&rsquo;s Sultanate) enjoyed its greatest period from the 1400s to the 1600s.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Internal battles over royal succession took their toll on the kingdom in the succeeding years. The Sultanate&rsquo;s power was also eclipsed by European colonial powers that began trading in the region in the 1800s. In 1839, the English sea captain James Brooke arrived in Borneo and helped the Sultan put down a rebellion. Brooke was rewarded by the Sultan with the title of governor and later &ldquo;Rajah&rdquo; of Sarawak, making him the first leader of Caucasian descent in the kingdom. The British eventually extended external control over Brunei by 1888, when the country became a protectorate of the British Empire, leaving the Sultan in charge of only domestic affairs. That level of political control was lost by 1906, when the British took over all political affairs, except for those concerning local custom and religion.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Oil was first discovered in Brunei in 1899, but it wasn&rsquo;t until the 1920s that foreign companies began jockeying for position to explore Saria, the main oil producing region in the country. Those companies included the British Borneo Petroleum Syndicate, the Shanghai Langkat Company (a Singapore consortium), Nederlandsche Koloniale Petroleum Maatschappij (a Dutch company), the Anglo-Saxon Petroleum Company Limited, Asiatic Petroleum Company (Federated Malay States) Limited and the British Malayan Petroleum Company Limited (BMPC). Ultimately it was Shell Oil that won out, forging a partnership with the government in 1957 to create Brunei Shell Petroleum Company Limited (BSP), which has dominated Bruneian oil ever since.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>The British lost control of Brunei during World War II when Japan invaded the region. When the Japanese empire was defeated, control of Brunei was returned to the United Kingdom. The British began to loosen their grip on Brunei in 1959, allowing a new constitution to take effect that declared the country a self-governing state. The UK remained in control of all external affairs. The British did not give up complete control of Brunei until 1984, when the country became a fully independent state. The Sultanate resumed control of the country for the first time in almost a hundred years. Sultan Bolkiah, who was crowned in 1967 at the age of 22, ruled Brunei unilaterally, having disbanded the parliament that was set up while the British were still in power.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>In 2004, Sultan Bolkiah reinstated a parliament for the first time since 1984. In May 2005 he fired four members of his cabinet, including the education minister, whose plan to expand religious education angered many parents.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><a href="http://bruneiresources.blogspot.com/">The Daily Brunei Resources</a> (blog about Brunei)</div> <div><a href="http://bruneiresources.blogspot.com/2006/08/history-of-brunei-oil.html">The History of Brunei Oil</a> (book review, The Daily Brunei Resources)</div> <div><span style="font-size: small;">&nbsp;</span></div> <p>&nbsp;</p>
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Brunei's Newspapers
<div><a href="http://www.onlinenewspapers.com/brunei.htm">Brunei's Newspapers</a></div> <div>&nbsp;</div>
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History of U.S. Relations with Brunei
<div>The United States&rsquo; first contact with Brunei came in April 1845 when the crew of the American naval warship, the USS <i>Constitution</i>, visited the kingdom. Five years later, the two countries signed a <a href="http://tcc.export.gov/Trade_Agreements/All_Trade_Agreements/exp_002785.asp">Treaty of Peace, Friendship, Commerce and Navigation</a>, which remains in force today. The US maintained a consulate in Brunei from 1865 to 1867, but did not open an embassy until January 1, 1984, when Brunei won its independence from the United Kingdom. Brunei opened its embassy in Washington, DC, three months later. On November 29, 1984, the US and Brunei signed a military pact that opened the way for joint military exercises, training and other military cooperation.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div>
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Current U.S. Relations with Brunei
<div>In December 2002, Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah traveled to the US for the first time and met with President George W. Bush. The meeting was reportedly cordial and both sides agreed to greater intelligence sharing, including with respect to terrorism threats, and to promote cultural exchanges.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>In April 2008, the United States Navy&rsquo;s top official in the Pacific, Admiral Timothy J. Keating, visited Brunei for the first time. American and Bruneian forces participated in joint military exercises in August 2008 (the annual <a href="http://www.clwp.navy.mil/carat.htm">Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training</a>, or CARAT). Another exercise, SEACAT, or South East Asia Combined Afloat Training, was scheduled for September. <br /> <br /> The CARAT exercise in 2008 expanded beyond its traditional maritime security scope to include humanitarian assistance and disaster-response planning and cooperation. This came about in response to the December 2004 tsunami and, more recently, severe flooding in Brunei in February 2008.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>A total of 1,951 Americans visited Brunei in 2005, while 958 Bruneians visited the US in 2006.&nbsp;The number of Bruneians visiting the U.S. annually has averaged about 760 in recent years.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><a href="http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2002/12/20021216-4.html">Joint Statement Between the United States of America and Negara Brunei Darussalam</a> (White House press release, 2002)</div> <div><a href="http://www.defenselink.mil/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=49514">Keating Visit to Brunei Reaffirms U.S. Commitment to Pacific Region</a> (US Department of Defense press release)</div> <div>&nbsp;</div>
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Where Does the Money Flow
<div>Trade between the United States and Brunei centers primarily around oil. Petroleum is easily the largest import by the US from Brunei, totaling $284 million in 2007. A distant second among imports is apparel and household goods, $101 million. American exports to Brunei are dominated by oil field equipment, totaling almost $60 million from 2003-2007. However, the US recently began&nbsp;to sell civilian aircraft to Brunei. In 2006, the US sold zero planes. In 2007, it sold $54.9 million in aircraft, plus another $17.2 million in parts.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Altogether, US exports to Brunei nearly tripled from 2006 to 2007, with two-way trade totaling about half a billion dollars.&nbsp;Bruneian officials have made moves in recent years to try and diversify the country&rsquo;s economy and make it less reliant on oil and natural exports for revenues (which account for 90% of the country&rsquo;s foreign trade). Brunei&rsquo;s oil industry is controlled by Brunei Shell Petroleum (BSP), a 50-50 joint venture between Royal Dutch/Shell and the government of Brunei. BSP has been the only oil producer in the country and still operates the country&rsquo;s only oil refinery. However, other oil companies are beginning to make inroads into the Brunei oil fields, including Total, S.A. of France and Conoco.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>US officials have applauded these declarations of diversification, while also noting problems with a &ldquo;lack of transparency in some government operations, including the availability of information about foreign investment policies, the procurement and state trading activities of state enterprises, and the coverage and timeliness of financial statistics.&rdquo; American diplomats also have complained about Brunei&rsquo;s black market trade that pirates optical disks, as well as other illegal threats to intellectual property originating in the US.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>While the US does not give security assistance to Brunei, the tiny oil kingdom has been known to buy American-made military aircraft. In 2005, the Bruneian Royal Air Force purchased two Black Hawk helicopters from Sikorsky, a leading US manufacturer of helicopters, adding to other helicopters in its fleet made by the company. The Bruneian air force reportedly includes helicopters made by Bell Helicopter, based in Texas.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><a href="http://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/statistics/product/enduse/imports/c5610.html">Imports from Brunei</a></div> <div><a href="http://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/statistics/product/enduse/exports/c5610.html">Exports to Brunei</a></div> <div><a href="http://geneva.usmission.gov/Press2008/February/0225TPRBrunei.html">Statement by Deputy Chief of Mission David Shark U.S. Permanent Representative to the WTO</a></div> <div><a href="http://www.bf2online.com/modules/wfsection/article.php?articleid=11">S-70A Black Hawk Helicopter</a> (Battlefield Online)</div> <div><a href="http://www.scramble.nl/bx.htm">Royal Brunei Air Force</a> (Scramble Magazine)</div> <div>&nbsp;</div>
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Controversies
<div><b>Jointly Funded Oil Exploration Raises Controversy in Brunei </b></div> <div>Oil exploration in the Spratly Islands, an archipelago jointly claimed by Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Taiwan, has become the focus of controversy as China and Vietnam are at odds over a project jointly funded by an American company, ExxonMobil, and Vietnam&rsquo;s state-run Petro Vietnam in waters claimed by both countries. Although the United States has refused to take sides in he conflict, it has called for a legal solution to the tensions.</div> <div><a href="http://www.rfa.org/english/multimedia/Spratly-Tensions-Map-07302008151805.html">Oil Deal Raises Spratly Tensions</a> (Radio Free Asia)</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><b>Prince of Brunei Ordered to Surrender Assets </b></div> <div>In December 2007, the &ldquo;Playboy Prince&rdquo; of Brunei, Jefri Bolkiah, was ordered by a British court to surrender ownership of prestigious US hotels and European homes to the Brunei government&rsquo;s investment arm as payback for allegedly helping himself to billions of dollars from state coffers. Jefri Bolkiah is the younger brother of Brunei&rsquo;s supreme ruler, Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah. The Brunei Investment Agency, which used to be headed by Jefri, launched court proceedings in 2004, saying the prince had not transferred ownership of five American and European properties and a trust fund as required by the settlement. The properties included the New York Palace Hotel, the Hotel Bel-Air in Los Angeles, three residences in London and Paris and a trust fund to the Brunei agency.</div> <div><a href="http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2007/12/02/MND9TJQLA.DTL&amp;feed=rss.news">British court deals blow to prince's lavish lifestyle</a> (by Sean Yoong, Associated Press)</div> <div>&nbsp;</div>
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Human Rights
<div>Although the government includes a Legislative Council, the reality is that Brunei is entirely ruled by the Sultanate, which has few restrictions on its power. The Legislative Council is limited to recommending and approving legislation and offering debate, but has no real say over the government budget. The sultan maintains control over Brunei&rsquo;s security forces.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>The biggest human rights problems that have been reported involve the inability of citizens to change their government and restrictions on religious freedom. Although the law allows other religions to practice in peace, the country is dominated by Islam (Shafi&rsquo;I sect), and the government requires religious organizations to register with the government. US officials claim the government has restricted non-Islamic religions and non-Shafi'i Islamic groups from practicing their beliefs. The government controls mosques and the Ministry of Religious Affairs prepares the weekly Friday sermons delivered in mosques countrywide.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>According to the US State Department, &ldquo;the government has used its internal security apparatus against persons it considered to be purveyors of radical Islam, non-Muslims who attempted to proselytize, and religious groups that did not belong to the official religion. According to government statistics, 30 foreign citizens were expelled in the first eight months of the year for religious violations, primarily the sale of traditional or mystical bomoh healing services.&rdquo;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Also, the State Department reports, &ldquo;there continued to be credible reports that certain Christian groups were denied permission to register or chose not to register out of the expectation that their applications would be rejected.&rdquo;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>In addition to these concerns, there have been reports of limits on freedom of speech, press, assembly, and association; discrimination against women; restricted labor rights; and exploitation of foreign workers.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><a href="http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2007/100514.htm">U.S. State Department</a></div> <div><a href="http://hrw.org/doc/?t=asia&amp;c=brunei">Human Rights Watch</a></div> <div>&nbsp;</div>
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Debate
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Past Ambassadors
<div>Barrington King <br /> Appointment: Apr 12, 1984 <br /> Presentation of Credentials: May 28, 1984 <br /> Termination of Mission: Left post, Apr 30, 1987 <br /> <br /> Thomas C. Ferguson <br /> Appointment: Jul 15, 1987 <br /> Presentation of Credentials: Jul 2, 1987 <br /> Termination of Mission: Left post, Apr 9, 1989 <br /> <br /> Christopher H. Phillips <br /> Appointment: Oct 10, 1989 <br /> Presentation of Credentials: Nov 28, 1989 <br /> Termination of Mission: Left post, Oct 31, 1991 <br /> <br /> Donald Burnham Ensenat <br /> Appointment: Aug 11, 1992 <br /> Presentation of Credentials: Sep 26, 1992 <br /> Termination of Mission: Left post, Jun 13, 1993 <br /> <br /> Theresa Anne Tull <br /> Appointment: Oct 8, 1993 <br /> Presentation of Credentials: Jan 5, 1994 <br /> Termination of Mission: Left post, Apr 30, 1996<br /> <br /> Glen R. Rase<br /> Appointment: Jul 2, 1996<br /> Presentation of Credentials: Sep 16, 1996<br /> Termination of Mission: Left post June 6, 1999</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Sylvia Gaye Stanfield<br /> Appointment: Aug 9, 1999<br /> Presentation of Credentials: Nov 3, 1999<br /> Termination of Mission: Left post Aug 28, 2002</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Gene B. Christy<br /> Appointment: Nov 15, 2002<br /> Presentation of Credentials: Jan 24, 2003<br /> Termination of Mission: Left post, Jul 18, 2005</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Emil A. Skodon<br /> Appointment: Jun 27, 2005<br /> Presentation of Credentials: Nov 1, 2005<br /> Termination of Mission: 2008</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><a href="http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ho/po/com/10397.htm">Former U.S. Ambassadors to Brunei</a></div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><a href="http://brunei.usembassy.gov/">U.S. Embassy in Brunei</a></div> <div>&nbsp;</div>
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Brunei's Ambassador to the U.S.
ambassador-image Hamid, Yusoff

After serving as an ambassador and handling other foreign affairs roles since the 1980s, Dato Paduka Haji Yusoff bin Haji Abd Hamid became ambassador of Brunei to the United States in November 2009.

 
Born on March 1, 1949, in Kuala Belait, Hamid attended college in the United Kingdom, receiving his Bachelor of Arts (with honors) in economics from City of Birmingham Polytechnic (1976).
 
After finishing his studies, he went to work as an administrative officer in the treasury department for four years. During this time, he earned a Certificate in Financial Management from the Royal Institute of Public Administration in London (1979).
 
For the first half of the 1980s, Hamid served as a private and confidential secretary to Prince Mohamed Bolkiah, minister of foreign affairs. He also continued his education, gaining a Certificate in Diplomacy from Oxford University and attending a seminar on the aims and methods of development cooperation at the German Foundation in Berlin, both in 1982.
 
From 1986-1988, Hamid was director of the Economic Department in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He juggled this duty while pursuing a master’s degree in law and diplomacy from Tufts University in the United States (1987).
 
Hamid then became director of the ASEAN Department in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, serving until 1992.
 
The following year, he was the high commissioner to Australia for four years.
 
He received his first ambassadorship in 1996, to Japan.
 
By 1997, he became deputy permanent secretary in the ministry, and then was promoted in 2000 to high commissioner to the UK and ambassador to Ireland.
 
From 2001-2004, he was chairman of the Economic Development Board. In April 2004, Hamid was appointed ambassador to Belgium. The following year, he was made head of the Brunei Mission to the European Union, ambassador to the Netherlands and to Hungary, and Brunei’s permanent representative to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.
 
Later in 2005, he was made deputy minister of communications, a position he held until becoming ambassador to the U.S.
 
When not handling foreign affairs for his country, Hamid enjoys golf, walking and jogging. He and his wife, Mahani binti Dato Abu Zar, have three sons and a daughter.
 
CV (Brunei Resources.com)
 

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Brunei's Embassy Web Site in the U.S.
<div><a href="http://www.bruneiembassy.org/">Brunei's Embassy in the U.S.</a></div> <div>&nbsp;</div>
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U.S. Ambassador to Brunei

Shields, Daniel
ambassador-image

A career member of the Senior Foreign Service, Daniel L. Shields III was nominated on November 15, 2010, to be the U.S. ambassador to Brunei.

 
Originally from Pennsylvania, Shields received his Bachelor of Science degree in international relations from Georgetown University and his Master of Science from the National War College (2001).
 
His overseas assignments have included postings in China (as political minister counselor 1991-1993), Japan (deputy chief of the political section) and the Philippines. In Washington, Shields has served as economic deputy in the State Department’s Office of China and Mongolia, special assistant to the under secretary for political affairs and as Cambodia desk officer.
 
Prior to his nomination to Brunei, Shields served as the deputy chief of mission and chargé d’affaires for the U.S. embassy in Singapore and as the director of the Office of Mainland Southeast Asia at the State Department.
 
Shields and his wife, Sangeeta, have one daughter, Sonali.

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Bookmark and Share
News
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Overview
<div>Barely larger than Cincinnati, OH, in terms of population, the tiny kingdom of Brunei is best known for oil and its longstanding monarchy. The Sultanate has ruled the Southeast Asian country for more than 500 years, except for the approximately 100 years when Brunei was part of the British Empire from the late 19th Century to the late 20th. Huge oil reserves were discovered in the 1920s, which made the Muslim nation of only 300,000 very wealthy. That wealth went to the heads of some members of the royal family, namely Prince Jefri Bolkiah (aka &ldquo;the Playboy Prince&rdquo;), younger brother of Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah. Jefri Bolkiah made worldwide headlines several years ago when he was accused of embezzling $16 billion from the Brunei government while serving as finance minister. The United States&rsquo; relationship with Brunei has centered mostly around oil, which represents the largest source of trade between the two countries.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div>
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Basic Information
<div><b>Lay of the Land</b>: Brunei, in southeast Asia, consists of two enclaves on the northern coast of Borneo.&nbsp;Both sections are completely surrounded by the Malaysian state of Sarawak.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><b>Population</b>: 381,371</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><b>Religions</b>: Muslim 55.2%, Christian 15.0%, Ethnoreligious 10.7%, Buddhist 9.7%, Chinese Universalist 5.2%, Confucianist 1.9%, Hindu 0.9%, Baha'i 0.3%, non-religious 1.1%.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><b>Ethnic Groups</b>: Malay 66.3%, Chinese 11.2%, indigenous 3.4%, other 19.1%.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><b>Languages</b>: Brunei 68.5%, Chinese (Hakka, Mandarin, Min Dong, Min Nan, Yue) 10.3%, Tutong 7.1%, Iban 3.9%, English (official) 2.1%, Malay (official).&nbsp;There are 17 living languages in Brunei.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div>
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History
<div>Brunei has been ruled by the same monarchy (the Brunei Sultanate) for the past 500 years. An ancient kingdom was in power beginning in the 7th or 8th Century. The Sumatran Hindu Empire of Srivijaya conquered the ancient Brunei kingdom around the 9th Century, and expanded its reach as far as Borneo and the Philippines. The modern day kingdom (whose lineage extends to today&rsquo;s Sultanate) enjoyed its greatest period from the 1400s to the 1600s.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Internal battles over royal succession took their toll on the kingdom in the succeeding years. The Sultanate&rsquo;s power was also eclipsed by European colonial powers that began trading in the region in the 1800s. In 1839, the English sea captain James Brooke arrived in Borneo and helped the Sultan put down a rebellion. Brooke was rewarded by the Sultan with the title of governor and later &ldquo;Rajah&rdquo; of Sarawak, making him the first leader of Caucasian descent in the kingdom. The British eventually extended external control over Brunei by 1888, when the country became a protectorate of the British Empire, leaving the Sultan in charge of only domestic affairs. That level of political control was lost by 1906, when the British took over all political affairs, except for those concerning local custom and religion.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Oil was first discovered in Brunei in 1899, but it wasn&rsquo;t until the 1920s that foreign companies began jockeying for position to explore Saria, the main oil producing region in the country. Those companies included the British Borneo Petroleum Syndicate, the Shanghai Langkat Company (a Singapore consortium), Nederlandsche Koloniale Petroleum Maatschappij (a Dutch company), the Anglo-Saxon Petroleum Company Limited, Asiatic Petroleum Company (Federated Malay States) Limited and the British Malayan Petroleum Company Limited (BMPC). Ultimately it was Shell Oil that won out, forging a partnership with the government in 1957 to create Brunei Shell Petroleum Company Limited (BSP), which has dominated Bruneian oil ever since.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>The British lost control of Brunei during World War II when Japan invaded the region. When the Japanese empire was defeated, control of Brunei was returned to the United Kingdom. The British began to loosen their grip on Brunei in 1959, allowing a new constitution to take effect that declared the country a self-governing state. The UK remained in control of all external affairs. The British did not give up complete control of Brunei until 1984, when the country became a fully independent state. The Sultanate resumed control of the country for the first time in almost a hundred years. Sultan Bolkiah, who was crowned in 1967 at the age of 22, ruled Brunei unilaterally, having disbanded the parliament that was set up while the British were still in power.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>In 2004, Sultan Bolkiah reinstated a parliament for the first time since 1984. In May 2005 he fired four members of his cabinet, including the education minister, whose plan to expand religious education angered many parents.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><a href="http://bruneiresources.blogspot.com/">The Daily Brunei Resources</a> (blog about Brunei)</div> <div><a href="http://bruneiresources.blogspot.com/2006/08/history-of-brunei-oil.html">The History of Brunei Oil</a> (book review, The Daily Brunei Resources)</div> <div><span style="font-size: small;">&nbsp;</span></div> <p>&nbsp;</p>
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Brunei's Newspapers
<div><a href="http://www.onlinenewspapers.com/brunei.htm">Brunei's Newspapers</a></div> <div>&nbsp;</div>
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History of U.S. Relations with Brunei
<div>The United States&rsquo; first contact with Brunei came in April 1845 when the crew of the American naval warship, the USS <i>Constitution</i>, visited the kingdom. Five years later, the two countries signed a <a href="http://tcc.export.gov/Trade_Agreements/All_Trade_Agreements/exp_002785.asp">Treaty of Peace, Friendship, Commerce and Navigation</a>, which remains in force today. The US maintained a consulate in Brunei from 1865 to 1867, but did not open an embassy until January 1, 1984, when Brunei won its independence from the United Kingdom. Brunei opened its embassy in Washington, DC, three months later. On November 29, 1984, the US and Brunei signed a military pact that opened the way for joint military exercises, training and other military cooperation.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div>
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Current U.S. Relations with Brunei
<div>In December 2002, Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah traveled to the US for the first time and met with President George W. Bush. The meeting was reportedly cordial and both sides agreed to greater intelligence sharing, including with respect to terrorism threats, and to promote cultural exchanges.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>In April 2008, the United States Navy&rsquo;s top official in the Pacific, Admiral Timothy J. Keating, visited Brunei for the first time. American and Bruneian forces participated in joint military exercises in August 2008 (the annual <a href="http://www.clwp.navy.mil/carat.htm">Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training</a>, or CARAT). Another exercise, SEACAT, or South East Asia Combined Afloat Training, was scheduled for September. <br /> <br /> The CARAT exercise in 2008 expanded beyond its traditional maritime security scope to include humanitarian assistance and disaster-response planning and cooperation. This came about in response to the December 2004 tsunami and, more recently, severe flooding in Brunei in February 2008.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>A total of 1,951 Americans visited Brunei in 2005, while 958 Bruneians visited the US in 2006.&nbsp;The number of Bruneians visiting the U.S. annually has averaged about 760 in recent years.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><a href="http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2002/12/20021216-4.html">Joint Statement Between the United States of America and Negara Brunei Darussalam</a> (White House press release, 2002)</div> <div><a href="http://www.defenselink.mil/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=49514">Keating Visit to Brunei Reaffirms U.S. Commitment to Pacific Region</a> (US Department of Defense press release)</div> <div>&nbsp;</div>
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Where Does the Money Flow
<div>Trade between the United States and Brunei centers primarily around oil. Petroleum is easily the largest import by the US from Brunei, totaling $284 million in 2007. A distant second among imports is apparel and household goods, $101 million. American exports to Brunei are dominated by oil field equipment, totaling almost $60 million from 2003-2007. However, the US recently began&nbsp;to sell civilian aircraft to Brunei. In 2006, the US sold zero planes. In 2007, it sold $54.9 million in aircraft, plus another $17.2 million in parts.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Altogether, US exports to Brunei nearly tripled from 2006 to 2007, with two-way trade totaling about half a billion dollars.&nbsp;Bruneian officials have made moves in recent years to try and diversify the country&rsquo;s economy and make it less reliant on oil and natural exports for revenues (which account for 90% of the country&rsquo;s foreign trade). Brunei&rsquo;s oil industry is controlled by Brunei Shell Petroleum (BSP), a 50-50 joint venture between Royal Dutch/Shell and the government of Brunei. BSP has been the only oil producer in the country and still operates the country&rsquo;s only oil refinery. However, other oil companies are beginning to make inroads into the Brunei oil fields, including Total, S.A. of France and Conoco.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>US officials have applauded these declarations of diversification, while also noting problems with a &ldquo;lack of transparency in some government operations, including the availability of information about foreign investment policies, the procurement and state trading activities of state enterprises, and the coverage and timeliness of financial statistics.&rdquo; American diplomats also have complained about Brunei&rsquo;s black market trade that pirates optical disks, as well as other illegal threats to intellectual property originating in the US.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>While the US does not give security assistance to Brunei, the tiny oil kingdom has been known to buy American-made military aircraft. In 2005, the Bruneian Royal Air Force purchased two Black Hawk helicopters from Sikorsky, a leading US manufacturer of helicopters, adding to other helicopters in its fleet made by the company. The Bruneian air force reportedly includes helicopters made by Bell Helicopter, based in Texas.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><a href="http://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/statistics/product/enduse/imports/c5610.html">Imports from Brunei</a></div> <div><a href="http://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/statistics/product/enduse/exports/c5610.html">Exports to Brunei</a></div> <div><a href="http://geneva.usmission.gov/Press2008/February/0225TPRBrunei.html">Statement by Deputy Chief of Mission David Shark U.S. Permanent Representative to the WTO</a></div> <div><a href="http://www.bf2online.com/modules/wfsection/article.php?articleid=11">S-70A Black Hawk Helicopter</a> (Battlefield Online)</div> <div><a href="http://www.scramble.nl/bx.htm">Royal Brunei Air Force</a> (Scramble Magazine)</div> <div>&nbsp;</div>
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Controversies
<div><b>Jointly Funded Oil Exploration Raises Controversy in Brunei </b></div> <div>Oil exploration in the Spratly Islands, an archipelago jointly claimed by Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Taiwan, has become the focus of controversy as China and Vietnam are at odds over a project jointly funded by an American company, ExxonMobil, and Vietnam&rsquo;s state-run Petro Vietnam in waters claimed by both countries. Although the United States has refused to take sides in he conflict, it has called for a legal solution to the tensions.</div> <div><a href="http://www.rfa.org/english/multimedia/Spratly-Tensions-Map-07302008151805.html">Oil Deal Raises Spratly Tensions</a> (Radio Free Asia)</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><b>Prince of Brunei Ordered to Surrender Assets </b></div> <div>In December 2007, the &ldquo;Playboy Prince&rdquo; of Brunei, Jefri Bolkiah, was ordered by a British court to surrender ownership of prestigious US hotels and European homes to the Brunei government&rsquo;s investment arm as payback for allegedly helping himself to billions of dollars from state coffers. Jefri Bolkiah is the younger brother of Brunei&rsquo;s supreme ruler, Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah. The Brunei Investment Agency, which used to be headed by Jefri, launched court proceedings in 2004, saying the prince had not transferred ownership of five American and European properties and a trust fund as required by the settlement. The properties included the New York Palace Hotel, the Hotel Bel-Air in Los Angeles, three residences in London and Paris and a trust fund to the Brunei agency.</div> <div><a href="http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2007/12/02/MND9TJQLA.DTL&amp;feed=rss.news">British court deals blow to prince's lavish lifestyle</a> (by Sean Yoong, Associated Press)</div> <div>&nbsp;</div>
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Human Rights
<div>Although the government includes a Legislative Council, the reality is that Brunei is entirely ruled by the Sultanate, which has few restrictions on its power. The Legislative Council is limited to recommending and approving legislation and offering debate, but has no real say over the government budget. The sultan maintains control over Brunei&rsquo;s security forces.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>The biggest human rights problems that have been reported involve the inability of citizens to change their government and restrictions on religious freedom. Although the law allows other religions to practice in peace, the country is dominated by Islam (Shafi&rsquo;I sect), and the government requires religious organizations to register with the government. US officials claim the government has restricted non-Islamic religions and non-Shafi'i Islamic groups from practicing their beliefs. The government controls mosques and the Ministry of Religious Affairs prepares the weekly Friday sermons delivered in mosques countrywide.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>According to the US State Department, &ldquo;the government has used its internal security apparatus against persons it considered to be purveyors of radical Islam, non-Muslims who attempted to proselytize, and religious groups that did not belong to the official religion. According to government statistics, 30 foreign citizens were expelled in the first eight months of the year for religious violations, primarily the sale of traditional or mystical bomoh healing services.&rdquo;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Also, the State Department reports, &ldquo;there continued to be credible reports that certain Christian groups were denied permission to register or chose not to register out of the expectation that their applications would be rejected.&rdquo;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>In addition to these concerns, there have been reports of limits on freedom of speech, press, assembly, and association; discrimination against women; restricted labor rights; and exploitation of foreign workers.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><a href="http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2007/100514.htm">U.S. State Department</a></div> <div><a href="http://hrw.org/doc/?t=asia&amp;c=brunei">Human Rights Watch</a></div> <div>&nbsp;</div>
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Debate
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Past Ambassadors
<div>Barrington King <br /> Appointment: Apr 12, 1984 <br /> Presentation of Credentials: May 28, 1984 <br /> Termination of Mission: Left post, Apr 30, 1987 <br /> <br /> Thomas C. Ferguson <br /> Appointment: Jul 15, 1987 <br /> Presentation of Credentials: Jul 2, 1987 <br /> Termination of Mission: Left post, Apr 9, 1989 <br /> <br /> Christopher H. Phillips <br /> Appointment: Oct 10, 1989 <br /> Presentation of Credentials: Nov 28, 1989 <br /> Termination of Mission: Left post, Oct 31, 1991 <br /> <br /> Donald Burnham Ensenat <br /> Appointment: Aug 11, 1992 <br /> Presentation of Credentials: Sep 26, 1992 <br /> Termination of Mission: Left post, Jun 13, 1993 <br /> <br /> Theresa Anne Tull <br /> Appointment: Oct 8, 1993 <br /> Presentation of Credentials: Jan 5, 1994 <br /> Termination of Mission: Left post, Apr 30, 1996<br /> <br /> Glen R. Rase<br /> Appointment: Jul 2, 1996<br /> Presentation of Credentials: Sep 16, 1996<br /> Termination of Mission: Left post June 6, 1999</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Sylvia Gaye Stanfield<br /> Appointment: Aug 9, 1999<br /> Presentation of Credentials: Nov 3, 1999<br /> Termination of Mission: Left post Aug 28, 2002</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Gene B. Christy<br /> Appointment: Nov 15, 2002<br /> Presentation of Credentials: Jan 24, 2003<br /> Termination of Mission: Left post, Jul 18, 2005</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Emil A. Skodon<br /> Appointment: Jun 27, 2005<br /> Presentation of Credentials: Nov 1, 2005<br /> Termination of Mission: 2008</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><a href="http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ho/po/com/10397.htm">Former U.S. Ambassadors to Brunei</a></div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><a href="http://brunei.usembassy.gov/">U.S. Embassy in Brunei</a></div> <div>&nbsp;</div>
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Brunei's Ambassador to the U.S.
ambassador-image Hamid, Yusoff

After serving as an ambassador and handling other foreign affairs roles since the 1980s, Dato Paduka Haji Yusoff bin Haji Abd Hamid became ambassador of Brunei to the United States in November 2009.

 
Born on March 1, 1949, in Kuala Belait, Hamid attended college in the United Kingdom, receiving his Bachelor of Arts (with honors) in economics from City of Birmingham Polytechnic (1976).
 
After finishing his studies, he went to work as an administrative officer in the treasury department for four years. During this time, he earned a Certificate in Financial Management from the Royal Institute of Public Administration in London (1979).
 
For the first half of the 1980s, Hamid served as a private and confidential secretary to Prince Mohamed Bolkiah, minister of foreign affairs. He also continued his education, gaining a Certificate in Diplomacy from Oxford University and attending a seminar on the aims and methods of development cooperation at the German Foundation in Berlin, both in 1982.
 
From 1986-1988, Hamid was director of the Economic Department in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He juggled this duty while pursuing a master’s degree in law and diplomacy from Tufts University in the United States (1987).
 
Hamid then became director of the ASEAN Department in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, serving until 1992.
 
The following year, he was the high commissioner to Australia for four years.
 
He received his first ambassadorship in 1996, to Japan.
 
By 1997, he became deputy permanent secretary in the ministry, and then was promoted in 2000 to high commissioner to the UK and ambassador to Ireland.
 
From 2001-2004, he was chairman of the Economic Development Board. In April 2004, Hamid was appointed ambassador to Belgium. The following year, he was made head of the Brunei Mission to the European Union, ambassador to the Netherlands and to Hungary, and Brunei’s permanent representative to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.
 
Later in 2005, he was made deputy minister of communications, a position he held until becoming ambassador to the U.S.
 
When not handling foreign affairs for his country, Hamid enjoys golf, walking and jogging. He and his wife, Mahani binti Dato Abu Zar, have three sons and a daughter.
 
CV (Brunei Resources.com)
 

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Brunei's Embassy Web Site in the U.S.
<div><a href="http://www.bruneiembassy.org/">Brunei's Embassy in the U.S.</a></div> <div>&nbsp;</div>
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U.S. Ambassador to Brunei

Shields, Daniel
ambassador-image

A career member of the Senior Foreign Service, Daniel L. Shields III was nominated on November 15, 2010, to be the U.S. ambassador to Brunei.

 
Originally from Pennsylvania, Shields received his Bachelor of Science degree in international relations from Georgetown University and his Master of Science from the National War College (2001).
 
His overseas assignments have included postings in China (as political minister counselor 1991-1993), Japan (deputy chief of the political section) and the Philippines. In Washington, Shields has served as economic deputy in the State Department’s Office of China and Mongolia, special assistant to the under secretary for political affairs and as Cambodia desk officer.
 
Prior to his nomination to Brunei, Shields served as the deputy chief of mission and chargé d’affaires for the U.S. embassy in Singapore and as the director of the Office of Mainland Southeast Asia at the State Department.
 
Shields and his wife, Sangeeta, have one daughter, Sonali.

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