14 November 2020

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 morning joined other ASEAN Leaders and ASEAN Dialogue Partners for the 8th ASEAN-United States Summit; the ASEAN-New Zealand Commemorative Summit; and the 2nd ASEAN-Australia Biennial Summit, held virtually via video conferences from Baitul Mesyuarah, Istana Nurul Iman.


At the 8th ASEAN-United States Summit, His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam in a titah stressed that the United States’ strategic engagement with ASEAN remains crucial to ensuring peace, security and prosperity in the region, and that this has helped ASEAN’s socio-economic development and Community building efforts over the years.

In addressing the COVID-19 pandemic, His Majesty highlighted that ASEAN appreciated U.S. commitment to the ongoing initiatives in improving ASEAN’s medical and health capacities whilst encouraging further progress, specifically to cooperate with the U.S. to provide affordable and effective COVID-19 vaccines for all ASEAN countries. In addition, ASEAN welcomed the Joint Statement on Human Capital Development at the 8th ASEAN-U.S. Summit, and looked forward to initiatives that could help develop their people’s skills in ICT, digital literacy and cybersecurity to take into account the challenges of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. In concluding the titah, His Majesty said ASEAN also encouraged the United States’ continued support in ASEAN businesses through the enhancement of their digital skillsets so they could better participate in the digital economy. Earlier at the Summit, His Excellency Nguyễn Xuân Phúc, the Prime Minister of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam as the ASEAN Chairman for 2020 in his remarks welcomed the United States’ constructive engagements in enhancing dialogue and cooperation in the region through ASEAN-led mechanisms, including the United States’ active role in practical initiatives in raising the capacity of ASEAN countries. ASEAN partners including the U.S. have been able to effectively respond to emerging challenges, as well as efforts to contain the COVID-19 pandemic and mitigate its impacts, in maintaining a stable environment conducive to a speedy recovery and sustainable development of countries.

The Honourable Robert O’Brien, National Security Advisor and Special Envoy to the President of the United States of America delivered a statement on behalf of the President which expressed U.S.’ appreciation towards ASEAN efforts to keep supply chains open, which contributed to the robust foundation for ASEAN-U.S. cooperation in public health and combatting infectious diseases through which the U.S. has contributed ventilators and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to ASEAN partners. Furthermore, ASEAN-U.S.cooperation in science, health, education, livelihoods and security has grown dramatically. The U.S. highlighted its investments in education, academic, cultural and professional exchanges as well as providing training for young women entrepreneurs in ASEAN to continue their businesses online despite the pandemic.

The ASEAN Common Statement presented by His Excellency Thongloun Sisoulith, Prime Minister of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, as Country Coordinator for ASEANU.S. Dialogue Relations acknowledged the key role of the ASEAN-U.S. Strategic Partnership in achieving regional peace, security, stability and prosperity. ASEAN welcomed the U.S.’ continued support for improving and enhancing the skills and economic competency of the ASEAN workforce through the promotion of public-private partnerships and socio-cultural partnerships. ASEAN also valued U.S. support in the areas of digital transformation and smart cities, as well as efforts to narrow the development gap in ASEAN. ASEAN looked forward to close cooperation with the U.S. against the COVID-19 pandemic and addressing its socioeconomic impacts by ensuring the sustainability of supply chains and international connectivity.

At the Summit, the leaders also spoke about further renewing commitment to the strategic partnership of ASEAN-U.S. relations and taking new approaches to tackle current global issues; enhancing cooperation in the fields of research and vaccines as a way forward to combat COVID-19; and recognising the importance of digital technology in improving digital infrastructures and connectivity as well as maintaining uninterrupted trade and supply chains. ASEAN-NEW ZEALAND COMMEMORATIVE SUMMIT At the ASEAN-New Zealand Commemorative Summit, His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam in a titah expressed satisfaction in celebrating the 45th anniversary of ASEAN-New Zealand dialogue relations, in which the cooperation continues to bring many mutual benefits for their peoples in a wide range of areas.

To this end, His Majesty called upon ASEAN and New Zealand to focus on improving their peoples’ livelihoods and building a resilient region, particularly in pursuing efforts for a swift regional recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic by ensuring that businesses and trade remain active, and supply chains, connected. Amid the rapid growth of internet users in the region, His Majesty encouraged ASEAN and New Zealand to promote e-commerce, which would provide more opportunities and greater market access, particularly for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and other consumers in the region. Therefore, ASEAN looked forward to upgrading the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (AANZFTA) to advance economic growth and integration. In concluding the titah, His Majesty emphasised that ASEAN and New Zealand need to ensure that their recovery efforts are environmentally friendly and sustainable, and therefore cooperation on mitigating climate change and disaster management is greatly encouraged.

Earlier at the Summit, His Excellency the ASEAN Chairman in his remarks welcomed the encouraging progress in cooperation between ASEAN and New Zealand, including through New Zealand’s active contributions in ASEAN-led dialogues and frameworks in the region, and Viet Nam believed that ASEAN and New Zealand are able to overcome challenges as the world faces complex developments including the COVID-19 pandemic. Meanwhile, The Right Honourable Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister of New Zealand in her statement acknowledged that the broad and deep relationship of ASEAN and New Zealand has brought about peace and prosperity in the region with great success. ASEAN is one of New Zealand’s top trading and investment partners and forms a critical strategic hub, connecting New Zealand to Asia and the rest of the world. In facing challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, New Zealand emphasised its commitment towards free and equitable access to vaccines; keeping supply chains open and resilient; as well as a rules-based international order.

The ASEAN Common Statement was delivered by His Excellency Aun Pornmoniroth, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Economy and Finance of the Kingdom of Cambodia, as Country Coordinator of ASEAN-New Zealand Dialogue Relations, among other things, encouraged further cooperation between ASEAN and New Zealand to attain greater progress in the three ASEAN pillars under four key themes of “People, Prosperity, Peace and Planet”. To further strengthen the ASEAN-New Zealand Strategic Partnership, New Zealand is encouraged to design innovation and youth development programmes to ensure people are well-equipped to face ever-changing global demands; to narrow the development gap and increase regional integration especially in the fields of food security, agriculture, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and women entrepreneurship; assist in natural disaster relief programmes for ASEAN countries, in particular the C.L.M.V. countries; and undertake joint efforts to recover and stimulate economic growth through maintaining and upholding multilateral trading system.

At the Summit, the leaders also highlighted stronger partnership in the Pacific including focus on trade, investment, education, human resource development, public health, connectivity, food security, fisheries, climate change and disaster recovery; charting a course towards early economic recovery and continue regional economic integration that is mutually beneficial based on a free, open and rules-based multilateral system; and the need to remain vigilant on the threats posed by terrorism by addressing its root causes. At the end of the Summit, the ASEAN and New Zealand Leaders adopted the Joint ASEAN-New Zealand Leaders’ Vision Statement on the 45th Anniversary of ASEAN-New Zealand Dialogue Relations: A Legacy of Partnership, A Future Together. 


At the 2nd ASEAN-Australia Biennial Summit, His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam in a titah highlighted that Australia has continued to play an important role in promoting regional peace, stability and prosperity, in which ASEANAustralia cooperation has progressed over the years in mutually beneficial areas such as trade and education. To this end, His Majesty expressed belief that ASEAN-Australia cooperation will be further strengthened with the agreement to hold an annual Summit starting in 2021. His Majesty said ASEAN appreciated Australia’s support in addressing the impacts of COVID-19, including the continued supply of food to ASEAN Member States during the outbreak. His Majesty further stressed the importance of strengthening healthcare systems for the future, and thereby encouraged more capacity-building initiatives in this area, including in safeguarding peoples’ mental health and well-being. In concluding the titah, His Majesty urged ASEAN and Australia to work for a swift regional economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, and believed that the upgrading of the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (AANZFTA) would bring better benefit to businesses and people.

Earlier at the Summit, His Excellency the ASEAN Chairman in his remarks welcomed the continued partnership of ASEAN and Australia in achieving important cooperation outcomes across all sectors. Throughout this year, ASEAN and Australia have coordinated responses to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and addressed its repercussions. ASEAN appreciated Australia’s consistent policy and close connection to the region, in its support of  ASEAN Centrality and activities under ASEAN-led dialogues conducive to priority areas and emerging challenges towards peace, prosperity and stability.

Meanwhile The Honourable Scott Morrison, Prime Minister of Australia in his statement commended ASEAN on its cohesive and responsive approach to the COVID-19 pandemic, and recognised ASEAN Centrality as the core of Australia’s vision of the Indo-Pacific. Under the ASEAN-Australia Strategic Partnership, Australia underlined its commitment to support the development of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, as well as cooperation in the fields of health and science. To this end, Australia also outlined its financial contributions in ASEAN towards achieving economic recovery in line with ASEAN’s priorities.

Yang Amat Berhormat Tan Sri Dato’ Haji Muhyiddin Haji Mohd. Yassin, Prime Minister of Malaysia as Country Coordinator of ASEAN-Australia Dialogue Relations presented the ASEAN Common Statement on Australia’s contribution to ASEAN Community building. Despite challenges faced during the COVID-19 pandemic, health cooperation between ASEAN and Australia expanded significantly including to ensure free and equitable access to safe, effective and affordable vaccines. ASEAN also encouraged the continued coordination in addressing traditional and non-traditional threats as well as boosting cooperation in various areas such as the Fourth Industrial Revolution, digital technology, trade facilitation and e-commerce, disaster management, conservation, culture, women empowerment, sports and youth development.

The Leaders also welcomed the convening of an annual ASEAN-Australia Leaders’ Summit starting in 2021; the strengthening of cooperation in pandemic response and recovery; continued cooperation in education and human capacity building; and strengthening efforts towards regional integration and closing development gaps.

At the end of the Summit, the ASEAN and Australia Leaders adopted the Joint Statement of the Second ASEAN-Australia Biennial Summit: Strong Partnership for Recovery.