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Thayer Consultancy

ABN # 65 648 097 123

Background Briefing: Brunei: National Security Outlook Carlyle A. Thayer August 22, 2011

[clientnamedeleted] 1)Fromtheperspectiveofnationalsecurity,whatareBrunei`scoreissues(whatit wouldbewillingtousemilitaryforcetoprotect)?Aretheythesametodayaswas definedinthedefensewhitepaper? ANSWER: Bruneis core interests are defined by the Sultan. They include preservation of the monarchy, Bruneis territorial integrity against threats to its offshore oil and gas infrastructure and external subversion directed across its land borders. 2) How has the resolution of Brunei`s overlapping territorial claims with Malaysia affected national security? Does Brunei believe that it can reach similar resolution withotherclaimantsinthenext10years? ANSWER: The resolution of the dispute over Louisa Reef ended what might be termedaminorirritant.Bruneihasalwaysplayedalowkeyrolewithrespecttothe SouthChinaSea.BruneihuddleswithASEANandwillsupporteffortstoimplement thenewlyadoptedguidelinesonimplementingthedeclarationonconductofparties in the South China Sea. Brunei will further support ASEANs efforts to negotiate a code of conduct with China. But Brunei will not take the lead in these discussions untilitassumestheChairofASEANin2013. Brunei has little expectation that Chinas claims to waters lying in Bruneis EEZ, as illustrated on Chinas 9 dash line map, will be resolved in the next decade. FortunatelyforBrunei,withtheexceptionofLouisaReef,therearenoothermajor featuresinthesecontestedwaters.Inmid2005,Chinaspresident,HuJintao,visited Brunei and promoted future joint development of marine resources in disputed areas. 3) How does Brunei properly weight traditional (ex. balance of power) and non traditional(ex.climatechange)securityissuesinitsnationalsecurityplanning? ANSWER:Bruneis2011WhitePapergivesgreaterstresstonontraditionalsecurity issuesthanits2004WhitePaperand2007strategicguidance.Thisshiftinemphasis reflects current thinking among ASEAN states. Brunei views low intensity conflict

2 particularly by nonstate actors as more likely than conventional stateonstate conflict. Bruneis national security perspective is mainly shaped by what it views as a relativelynonthreateningexternalenvironment.ThisisreflectedinBruneisfailure to follow through on some big ticket defence purchases. To the extent that the armedforcesaretaskedwithdealingwithnontraditionalsecurityissuetheserelate todisasterrelief,counterdrugtraffickingandcounterterrorism. 4) Does Brunei support ASEAN becoming more interventionist in regional security issues(ex.ThaiCambodiaborderdispute)? ANSWER: Brunei supports whatever consensus emerges in ASEAN. It is not a keen supporter of a more proactive ASEAN in dealing with regional security issues, especiallyifitinvolvesfrictionChinaorotherexternalpowers.Bruneipursuesalow keynonoffensiveapproachtoregionalsecurityissues.Bruneiwasconcernedabout possible spillover affects of the ThaiCambodia border clashes on external perceptions of Southeast Asias stability. But Brunei was not in favour of pushing IndonesianmonitorsonanunwillingThailand. 5)WhatisBrunei`soutlookforpeaceandstabilityinSEAsiaoverthenexttenyears? What are the country`s major concerns? Are its defense budget increases a reflectionofitsconcernsaboutregionalstability? ANSWER: Brunei is vitally concerned that tensions in the South China Sea do not eruptintoarmedconflict.Bruneiisalsoconcernedaboutthepeacefulmaintenance ofthebalanceofpowerasChinascontestU.S.primacy.Bruneialsoholdsconcerns thatIndonesiasdemocratictransitioncouldunravel. Bruneisprimeconcernisthedepletionofitsoilreservesanditsinabilitytodiversify theeconomy.Thiscouldgenerateinstability. 6)DoesBruneiforeseearoleforASEANinOceaniasecurity(ex.PNG)?WouldEast Timor`sadmissionintoASEANspurincreasedengagement? ANSWER: Brunei generally does not favour an expanded security role for ASEAN becauseofthestressthiswouldputonBruneislimitedresources.Bruneiwouldlook toAustraliawithrespecttoinstabilityinPNG.AsforTimorLeste,Bruneiwillfollow Indonesiaslead. 7) Brunei supports international peacekeeping efforts and increasing calls on internationalpeaceandstabilityasacoresecurityobjective.Whatprecipitatedthis increasedfocusoninternationalpeaceandstability? ANSWER:Bruneihasonlyrecentlycomearoundtogivingstrongerendorsementto regional peacekeeping and stability operations. This is a result of the evolution of ASEANpolicyandasaresultofU.S.pressuretosupporttheGlobalPeaceOperations Initiative. 8) Will Brunei increase its emphasis on bilateral security cooperation with major powers,especiallytheUS?DoesBruneibelievethatthebasingofUSlittoralcombat shipsinSingaporewillincreaseregionalpeaceandstability?WouldBruneibeopen tosuchbasinginthefuture?

3 ANSWER:BruneifollowedSingaporeingrantingtheU.S.forcesaccessaftertheU.S. was forced to vacate its bases in the Philippines in 1992. Brunei welcomes the presenceofforeigntroopssuchasSingapore,BritainandtheU.S.andwillcontinue todoso.BruneiviewsaU.S.presenceintheregionasstabilizingandwasoneofa handfulofregionalstatestoopenlysupporttheU.s.ProliferationSecurityInitiative aimed at countering the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their meansofdelivery.BruneiquietlysupportsthepresenceofU.S.littoralcombatships as providing a rapid response capability. Brunei is more likely to host visits rather thanprovidepermanentbasingfacilities. 9)WhatroledoesBruneiseeforIndia,Korea,andJapaninSEAsecurity?Willtheir increasedengagementsupportorunderminepeaceandstabilityintheregion? ANSWER: Brunei generally adopts ASEAN perspectives on the role of external powers.India,SouthKoreaandJapanareallASEANdialoguepartners.Bruneiviews JapanandIndiaastwopowersthatcancontributetothesecurityofSoutheastAsias maritimeenvironmentincludingsecurityforsealinesofcommunication.. 10) Does Brunei see China`s increasing diplomatic and military assertiveness as a threattoBrunei`snationalinterests?Aretherealsoopportunitiestocooperatewith Chinatopromotepeaceandstabilityintheregion? ANSWER: Brunei does not view China as a direct threat to its national security or interests.TheSultanateofBruneihasalonghistoryofrelationswithChinaextending back to the imperial era. In 19992000 china signed long term cooperation framework agreements with all ten ASEAN members. Seven of these agreements, includingtheonesignedwithBrunei,includedaclausefordefencecooperation.The ChinaBrunei agreement was short and only identified cooperation in science and technology and defence in general. Between 2002 and 08, Brunei and China exchanged seven high level defence visits including a visit to Brunei by Chinas defenceminister.BruneihasalsohostedonePLANportvisit. 11)Howhas theArabSpringaffectedBrunei`snationalsecuritystrategy? Howhas theunrestinMalaysiaaffectingBrunei'snationalsecurityplanning?Aretherelong term implications from these two events? How can the military help ensure continuedregimelegitimacy? ANSWER:TherearefewsignsofdiscontentinBruneidirectedagainsttheSultan.The ordinarycitizensofBruneibenefitfromthesocialwelfareandeducationpoliciesof thepresentgovernment.Despitedraconianinternalsecuritylaws,theBruneistateis not repressive to the extent of its counterparts in the Middle East. Unrest and politicalinstabilityinMalaysiaisalwaysamatterofconcernespeciallyitpotentialto spill over and affect Brunei. But political events in peninsular Malaysia do not automatically translate to East Malaysia Sabah and Sarawak. The Royal Brunei ArmedForcesaretaskedwithbordersecurityandsurveillanceandcanbeexpected to step up their efforts if instability should affect neighbouring states. Regime legitimacy in Brunei is based on tradition and Islam. The military can contribute to regimelegitimacybyremaininganapoliticalprofessionalforce.

4 12)Wouldamoreformalsecurityorganization(ex.NATO)inAsiaPacificsupportor undermineBrunei`snationalsecurityobjectives?CanASEANeverserveasthebasis fortheformationofsuchanorganizationfromtheperspectiveofBrunei? ANSWER: There is little prospect for a ASEAN becoming a more formal security organization. Rather, ASEAN itself is buildingaPoliticalSecurity Community as one of the three pillars supporting an ASEAN Community by 2015. Brunei has been a participantoftheASEANDefenceMinistersMeeting(ADMM)process.TheADMMs roleisgraduallyevolvingandBruneiiscomfortablewiththispace.Thedevelopment of ASEAN defence relations is also being conducted in tandem with its dialogue partners.Bruneisnationalsecurityisnotunderminedbyeitherdevelopment. 13) How important is energy security to Brunei`s national security? What can the countrydotomitigatetherisksofglobalenergymarkets? ANSWER:EnergysecurityisabsolutelyvitalforBruneibecauseofitsdependencyon hydrocarbons.Bruneisoilreservesarenearingdepletinganditsgasreserveswillbe depletedby2050.Thesetrendscouldbeoffsetbynewdiscoveries.Bruneisnational securitywouldbeaffectedifChinamovedtoopposeBruneisdevelopmentofnew energyreservesinareasclaimedbyChina.Bruneisinternalsecurityisthreatenedif the money earned from energy reserves declines and social welfare support for Bruneicitizensiscutback.Bruneihasalargeandgrowingyouthpopulationthatis unemployed. Brunei needs to diversify its economy. It has failed to follow Singapores example by effectively developing its human resources to meet future challenges. 14) How have cyber threats and terrorism affected Brunei`s national security planning?IsthisareasontostrengthenitsrelationswiththeU.S.? ANSWER: Brunei has only been indirectly affected by terrorism. It is of concern because terrorism affects the stability of nearby countries, such as the Philippines andIndonesia.Bruneihassupportedandparticipatedinregionalcounterterrorism cooperation. Brunei has also worked closely with the United States and can be expected to do so in the future. But the threat of regional and international terrorism in Southeast Asia has declined markedly. As the Brunei armed forces acquiremoresophisticatedC4SIequipmentandcapabilitiestheimportanceofcyber threats to national security will increase. One problem that Brunei faces is its dependency on foreign expertise in this area; there are not sufficient of Brunei citizenstrainedforITsecurity. 15)HowdoesBruneiperceiveEuropeanpowersasitssecurityguarantors?Canthey beahedgeoraretherenorealoptionsotherthantheU.S.? ANSWER: Brunei views the United Kingdom as one of its main security guarantors and permits the UK to base military forces on its soil. Brunei also views individual European countries as sources of defence equipment, particularly Germany and Switzerland. But the weight of Bruneis trade relations lie in the region not with Europe. Any threat to Brunei would involve the immediate interests of Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore. Brunei would look to these countries for support. At the sametime,BruneiwouldlooktoAustralia,theUnitedStatesandtheUKforsupport.