Brunei Defense and Foreign Policy

Foreign policy and defense

According to abbreviationfinder, Brunei is a nation in Southeastern Asia. Its capital city is Bandar Seri Begawan. Since the independence of the British in 1984, Brunei has prioritized good relations with the nearest neighbors. The country joined Asean already a week after independence. The Sultanate’s closest ally is Singapore. Relations with the US and the UK are also central.

brunei military spending and defense budget

Brunei is also a member of Asean’s free trade area Afta (Asean Free Trade Area) and the organization’s defense cooperation Arf (Asean Regional Forum). Brunei is also part of the larger cooperation organization for economic cooperation in Asia and the Pacific, Apec.

  • Countryaah: Overview of business holidays and various national observances in Brunei for years of 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023, 2024 and 2025.

With Malaysia, Brunei has long had a conflict-filled relationship, mainly because of disputes over the boundary between the countries. Relations began to improve at the end of the first decade of the 21st century. In 2007, the countries could agree on a document that facilitates cross-border travel. At the same time, air traffic between the two countries was increased in order to promote tourism. In 2009, they resolved the conflict over the border offshore and around the Limbang River, which divides Brunei in two halves.

Relations with Malaysia were further strengthened in 2010 through a cooperation agreement on higher education, and one on joint oil and gas extraction off the coast of Borneo. In 2013, a bridge was opened across the Pandaruan border, which promotes trade and tourism.

Brunei claims the uninhabited Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, where there is oil and natural gas under the seabed. This creates tension in the region, as the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, China and Taiwan also claim all or part of the area around the archipelago. However, Brunei maintains a low profile on the issue, not least in order to avoid conflict with the major power China.

Alongside Singapore, the old colonial power of Britain is Britain’s closest ally. The contacts are strongest at the military and commercial level.

Since the middle of the 2010s, Brunei’s economic cooperation with China has increased rapidly. These are mainly Chinese investments in infrastructure in Brunei, including a new oil refinery and a bridge.

Brunei has during the 2000s and 2010s also expanded its cooperation with other Muslim countries.


Brunei has a regular defense with army, navy and air force. In addition, there is a semi-military force responsible for the safety of the Sultan.

Singapore’s army regularly trains jungle warfare in eastern Brunei, while a battalion of British so-called Cucumber soldiers are also placed in the Sultanate.

Brunei has conducted joint naval exercises with, for example, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines and Pakistan. Annual marine exercises are held with the United States and Asia.