US Secretary of State John Kerry said on Monday that his country looks forward to working with Brunei on issues like the South China Sea, energy and climate change.
"We're very, very much looking forward to working with you on issues with the South China Sea, and issues of energy and climate change," the top American diplomat told visiting Brunei's Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah in front of reporters before their meeting at the State Department.
"He is taking on the important job of being the president of the ASEAN meeting this year," Kerry said of his guest.
President Barack Obama is scheduled to welcome the sultan to the White House on Tuesday, as Brunei will host the East Asia summit and US-ASEAN summit in October.
"The sultan's visit underscores the strategic importance the president places on the Asia Pacific region and to substantive engagement with our friends and partners in the region," the White House said in a statement last week.
"It highlights the president's commitment to participating fully in the region's multilateral forums in order to foster cooperation, maintain stability and promote economic growth," the statement said.
The United States, along with Russia, first attended the annual East Asia summit in 2011 in Bali, Indonesia.