At the 17th ASEAN Regional Forum in 2010, Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Yang Jiechi reminded everyone that “China is a big country and all the other countries are small countries; this is a fact.” Though Brunei is the smallest of all the ASEAN states in both population and GDP, the level of Chinese investment in the sultanate (cumulated direct investment and construction contracts divided by 2018 GDP) is much higher than in most other ASEAN states. This paper analyzes the Belt and Road stakes for both Brunei and China and Brunei’s response to the Chinese proposals, showing that in spite of its smallness, the sultanate still seems able to preserve its own interests to a certain extent, thanks to its balanced foreign policy and its financial resources.

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