SM Teo Chee Hean in Brunei for Sultan's birthday celebrations

Senior Minister Teo Chee Hean and his wife, Mrs Teo Poh Yim, with Brunei's Crown Prince Al-Muhtadee Billah and his wife, Pengiran Anak Isteri Pengiran Anak Sarah. PHOTO: MINISTRY OF COMMUNICATIONS AND INFORMATION, SINGAPORE

SINGAPORE - Senior Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security Teo Chee Hean is in Brunei on a three-day trip to celebrate the 75th birthday of Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah.

He is accompanied by his wife, Mrs Teo Poh Yim, as well as officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA).

Mr Teo had an audience with Brunei's Crown Prince Al-Muhtadee Billah, who is also Senior Minister at Brunei's Prime Minister's Office, on Wednesday morning (July 14), MFA said in a statement.

They discussed the Singapore-Brunei Young Leaders' Programme, with Mr Teo inviting the Crown Prince to visit Singapore for the next edition soon. The two countries take turns to host the programme, which is aimed at strengthening ties between younger leaders on both sides.

Mr Teo, who arrived in Brunei on Tuesday, also met several ministers and senior officials.

On Thursday morning, he will attend a Royal Guard of Honour and Investiture Ceremony. This will be followed by an audience with Sultan Bolkiah.

Several of Singapore's leaders, including President Halimah Yacob and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, have also written to congratulate the Sultan.

In her letter, Madam Halimah spoke warmly of how Sultan Bolkiah's leadership has brought peace, prosperity and development to his country, and recalled her state visit to Brunei in 2018.

"I had a first-hand opportunity to witness Brunei's development and the wide-ranging cooperation between our two countries," she said. "I am confident that the special relationship between Singapore and Brunei, nurtured through generations of leaders, will grow from strength to strength in the years ahead."

PM Lee added that the region has "benefited immensely" from Brunei's chairmanship of Asean this year, and said he looked forward to continued deepening of bilateral ties.

"Singapore and Brunei are longstanding friends who have worked together in many areas, including defence, financial cooperation and in the education sphere," Mr Lee observed.

Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for Economic Policies Heng Swee Keat, Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong and Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan also wrote congratulatory notes to the Sultan.

Join ST's WhatsApp Channel and get the latest news and must-reads.