Relations between the two nations can be traced back to over 2,000 years ago when both started to trade with each other, as early as the Western Han periods. Some historians also suggest Chinese settlers from Fujian Province arrived in Borneo and settled in the area which is now called "Brunei" in the 13th and 14th centuries. While in the 15th century, the Sultan of Brunei at the time, Abdul Majid Hassan died during his travels to China, despite the Chinese emperor's best efforts to help treat the Sultan's illness. The Sultan was later buried with a royal tribute in Nanjing and continues to serve as a symbol of the relationship between the countries even today.
In modern times relations are not close since Brunei was a British protectorate, beginning in the 19th century until it gained official independence on 1 January 1984. During this time, there were also various concerns in Brunei particularly toward communism and its sensitivities to the ethnic Chinese population. By 30 September 1991, Brunei had become the last member of ASEAN to establish official diplomatic relations with China.
In 2011, trade between the two countries has increased to U$1.3 billion. The two countries promote practical co-operation in some areas such as infrastructure construction, agriculture and fishery. Some Chinese companies also have agreed to finance two projects in aquaculture and paddy production in Brunei which worth about U$10 million.
- BRIGHT FUTURE FOR BRUNEI-CHINA TIES BruDirect
- Brunei, China hail special relationship The Borneo Post
- "Brunei-China Relations". Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Brunei). Retrieved 17 February 2014.
- Prashanth Parameswaran (9 November 2012). "China, Brunei: ties that bind". Asia Times Online. Retrieved 17 February 2014.
- Zhu Ningzhu (11 October 2013). "China, Brunei agree to further boost strategic cooperation". Xinhua News Agency. Xinhua.net. Retrieved 17 February 2014.
- "China Firms in B$10m Brunei Rice-Growing and Aquaculture Projects". The Brunei Times. Embassy of China in Brunei. 12 November 2009. Retrieved 17 February 2014.