HIS MAJESTY THE SULTAN AND YANG DI-PERTUAN OF BRUNEI DARUSSALAM JOINS THE ASEAN RELATED SUMMITS VIA VIDEO CONFERENCES
His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu'izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar 'Ali Saifuddien Sa'adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, this afternoon joined other ASEAN Leaders and ASEAN Dialogue Partners for the 23rd ASEAN-China Summit; the 23rd ASEAN-Japan Summit; and the 21st ASEAN-Republic of Korea Summit, held virtually via video conferences from Baitul Mesyuarah, Istana Nurul Iman.
THE 23rd ASEAN-CHINA SUMMIT
At the 23rd ASEAN-China Summit, His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam acknowledged the People's Republic of China's support for ASEAN's Community building efforts over the years, and towards mitigating the COVID-19.
His Majesty also expressed appreciation for China's effective efforts in addressing the pandemic overseas, which have translated into positive outcomes for the region's economy, including continued growth of ASEAN and China's two-way trade despite the global economic downturn. To this end, greater efforts are encouraged to further open up trade and realise the full potential of the ASEAN-China Free Trade Agreement to facilitate ASEAN's recovery efforts.
2021 is a significant year to mark the 30th anniversaries of ASEAN-China Dialogue Relations and Brunei-China Diplomatic Relations, as well as the centenary of the founding of the Communist Party of China. His Majesty acknowledged the opportunity next year to build greater understanding and deepen trust and confidence amongst ASEAN and China, which will enhance cooperation on all fronts in taking relations to greater heights.
Earlier at the Summit, His Excellency Nguyễn Xuân Phúc, Prime Minister of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam as the ASEAN Chairman for 2020 in his remarks acknowledged 2020 as a year of significant challenges and called for collaboration from all international partners to overcome them. Despite this, ASEAN and China has managed to sustain cooperation including towards a cohesive and responsive recovery.
Meanwhile, His Excellency Li Keqiang, Premier of the State Council of the People's Republic of China in his statement highlighted on China becoming ASEAN's top trading partner and reiterated the commitment of China and ASEAN to pursue common development and promote mutally beneficial cooperation in East Asia to boost global development.
His Excellency Rodrigo Duterte, President of the Republic of the Philippines, then delivered the ASEAN Common Statement as Country Coordinator for ASEAN-China Dialogue Relations, which showed China's strong support for ASEAN's regional architecture including ASEAN's Centrality and unity; and the significance of cooperation towards equitable distribution of safe, effective and affordable vaccines, diagnostics and medicine. President Duterte called for continued dialogue and coordination towards peace, stability and prosperity in the region, as well as underlined the commitment to a rules-based multilateral system to enhance trade and investment.
At the Summit, the leaders also touched on the importance of digital economy to regional resilience; trade and investment; connectivity and the ASEAN Smart Cities Network; people-to-people exchanges; and welcomed the designation of 2021 as the ASEAN-China Year of Sustainable Development Cooperation to cooperate on key areas for sustainable development.
THE 23rd ASEAN-JAPAN SUMMIT
At the 23rd ASEAN-Japan Summit, His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam in a titah acknowledged Japan's close and supportive relationship with ASEAN, where both sides have progressed their work together with renewed commitment despite challenges.
His Majesty appreciated Japan's contributions to establish the ASEAN Centre for Public Health Emergencies and Emerging Diseases, whereby the Centre will greatly improve the region's preparedness for any future health crisis.
Central to this, ASEAN and Japan are encouraged to also focus on building a more resilient economy by ensuring that people can adjust to the changes from the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
In view of Japan's expertise in technology and innovation, His Majesty welcomed cooperation in various areas such as automation and digital technology that would help to develop a workforce that is skilled and prepared for the future.
In emphasising the importance to build greater trust and understanding, so that ASEAN and Japan can better address complex challenges in a rapidly changing geo-political landscape, His Majesty valued Japan's continued support for ASEAN Centrality and ASEAN-led processes.
Earlier at the Summit, His Excellency the ASEAN Chairman in his remarks spoke about the pressing need for ASEAN-Japan to expand cohesive cooperation including to combat COVID-19 and mitigate its impacts. In addition, joint activities have been held to show close partnership between ASEAN and Japan.
Meanwhile, His Excellency Yoshihide Suga, Prime Minister of Japan said that Japan will work hand in hand with ASEAN to accomplish a free, open and more prosperous Indo-Pacific. Japan is ready to build economic resilience into supply chains and advancing the use of digital technology. Along with fundamental principles of cooperation such as maritime cooperation, achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, connectivity, and the environment, the Prime Minister also spoke about Japan's support to ASEAN initiatives towards fulfilling the Paris Agreement.
His Excellency the Prime Minister of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam, as Country Coordinator for ASEAN-Japan Dialogue Relations delivered the ASEAN Common Statement which welcomed Japan's contribution to regional joint efforts to ASEAN-led frameworks towards the maintenance of peace and security. Sustainable market access for trade and investment is encouraged, as well as continued commitment to multilateral trade. In tackling the COVID-19 impact, ASEAN hopes to receive Japan's active support in enhancing the region's healthcare capacity as well as public health systems.
At the Summit, the leaders also talked about Japan's support towards regional recovery and development including to address emerging health crisis; welcomed Japan's support to further enhance capacity for production and trade, as well as developing digital infrastructure; creating collaboration between the industry and academia in ASEAN and Japan; and continue to prioritise people-to-people exchanges.
At the end of the Summit, the ASEAN and Japan Leaders witnessed the launching of the ASEAN Regional Center on Public Health Emergencies and Emerging Diseases, of which Japan contributed 50 million USD, through Japan-ASEAN Integration Fund (JAIF) to support the Center's establishment, which will further support ASEAN's capabilities and efforts in countering future threats of public health emergencies in the region.
THE 21st ASEAN-REPUBLIC OF KOREA SUMMIT
At the 21st ASEAN-Republic of Korea (R.O.K.) Summit, His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam in a titah delivered the ASEAN Common Statement, as Country Coordinator of ASEAN-R.O.K. Dialogue Relations, in which His Majesty appreciated President Moon's continued personal efforts to strengthen ASEAN - R.O.K. relations, including through the New Southern Policy-Plus as well as the R.O.K.'s strong support for ongoing ASEAN initiatives on measures to help overcome the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, His Majesty welcomed the R.O.K.'s proposal to establish a Health Dialogue Channel that would strengthen public health capacity through exchanges of information and expertise, and complement the work towards regional recovery.
His Majesty therefore looked forward to enhancing the ASEAN-R.O.K. Free Trade Agreement through further liberalisation efforts that will bring more benefits to people, help businesses and the development of micro, small and medium enterprises (M.S.M.E.s). This is where the R.O.K.'s expertise in e-commerce, artificial intelligence, and 5G technologies that can help build a future-ready ASEAN Community.
His Majesty also welcomed more scholarships and training opportunities from the R.O.K. in various areas such as governance innovation, e-learning and farming technologies that can build resilient societies.
Furthermore, His Majesty was pleased with the R.O.K.'s interest to deepen subregional cooperation, including with the BIMP-EAGA through a fund for joint projects which will facilitate inclusive and sustainable economic growth throughout the region.
ASEAN continues to value the R.O.K.'s support of ASEAN Centrality as well as the R.O.K.'s active participation in ASEAN-led processes. Looking ahead, His Majesty reiterated ASEAN's readiness to work with the R.O.K. in efforts to promote peace and security in the region.
Earlier at the Summit, His Excellency the ASEAN Chairman highlighted that an open economic mindset and cooperation are common values in ASEAN and the R.O.K. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the R.O.K. and ASEAN have reaffirmed their commitment to develop efforts in containing outbreaks such as through research and development of vaccines, and facilitating movement of skilled workers through travel corridors. Aspects of human capital such as upskilling and reskilling were underlined to assist these efforts.
Meanwhile, His Excellency Moon Jae-in, President of the Republic of Korea in his statement welcomed continued exchanges of cooperation between ASEAN and the R.O.K. to overcome the pandemic, with the objective to create better preparedness in facing unexpected challenges. The R.O.K. will share their expertise in managing the spread of the pandemic both from physical kits as well as financial contributions. The R.O.K. hopes to take the lead in the post COVID-19 era towards building a people-centred community.
At the Summit, the leaders also touched on strategic partnerships between ASEAN and the R.O.K. continues which continues to grow despite the current challenges brought about by COVID-19; economic recovery through regional economic integration and the importance of reskilling of human resources towards, among others, increasing business and investment opportunities; as well as green infrastructure.