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Obama Encourages Sultan of Brunei 'to Do Some Shopping' Here to 'Strengthen the U.S. Economy'

1:03 PM, Mar 12, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
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President Obama welcomed Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei to the White House today, and said that while he's in America he should "do some shopping" here to "strengthen the U.S. economy." The sultan is estimated to be worth more than $20 billion. 

Via the pool report:

Alluding to the sultan's famed wealth, POTUS expressed his delight that his counterpart and family are heading to New York tomorrow: "We're going to encourage him to do some shopping" in order to "strengthen the U.S. economy."

More from the pool report:

Pool was ushered into the Oval Office at 11:55. Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah wore a dark suit and green tie.

POTUS called it a "great pleasure" to welcome a "key leader in the South East Asian region" who is "widely respected around the world" to the White House. He said they have gotten to know each other at multilateral meetings, including the ASEAN conference last November, and since the sultan is hosting the next ASEAN conference, this was a good time to meet in Washington. This continues the 160-year relationship with Brunei, he said. POTUS noted that the sultan has ruled alongside nine U.S. presidents. "I won't ask him which one was his favorite."

POTUS: "Our interests in having a strong, peaceful, prosperous Asian-Pacific region is something that we share."

He said the issues to be addressed at the October ASEAN conference include: energy and climate change, expanding commerce through the Trans-Pacific Partnership, maritime issues, education and English-language programs, and U.S.-ASEAN-Chinese humanitarian and disaster relief joint exercises.

On maritime issues: "Obviously there has been a lot of tension in the region around maritime issues, and his majesty has shown great leadership as far as bringing countries together and making sure that everybody is abiding by basic precepts of rule of law and international standards so that conflicts can be resolved peacefully and effectively."

On education: "His majesty himself of Brunei has helped to finance a number of English-language structures for youth in the South East Asia region." This "expands commerce but also strengthens ties between the United States and other nations in the region." 

On disaster relief: "Our militaries are extraordinarily capable, and our bilateral relationship ... has the capacity to help people in times of need and to try to help avoid conflict, rather than start conflict."

"Overall, I'm very grateful for his majesty's outstanding leadership and his friendship, and I'm glad that he's had a chance to visit."

POTUS noted that the sultan piloted his own 747 here to Washington. "I think you're one of the only heads of state that flies their own 747." He then made a joke comparing his experiences flying on Air Force One. Couldn't make it out on my recording.

Alluding to the sultan's famed wealth, POTUS expressed his delight that his counterpart and family are heading to New York tomorrow: "We're going to encourage him to do some shopping" in order to "strengthen the U.S. economy."

Handshake.

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