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 afternoon joined other ASEAN Plus Three Leaders for the 23rd ASEAN Plus Three Summit, held virtually via video conference from Baitul Mesyuarah, Istana Nurul Iman. 

At the Summit, His Majesty underlined that ASEAN Plus Three countries need to stand more closely together in strengthening regional cooperation in public health to address the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly for disease control, treatment and prevention. ASEAN thereby appreciated the Plus Three countries for their valuable contributions and commitments in addressing current challenges, including support for the COVID-19 ASEAN Response Fund.

Meanwhile, His Majesty emphasised the importance of maintaining economic continuity, which would enable a swift and sustainable recovery by ensuring that goods and services are readily available, supply chains are open and connected, and businesses are able to continue operating.

In addition, His Majesty encouraged the consideration of establishing arrangements between ASEAN Plus Three countries to facilitate necessary and safe movement of peoples in the region towards accelerating and contributing to regional economic recovery and development.

His Excellency Nguyễn Xuân Phúc, the Prime Minister of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam as the ASEAN Chairman for 2020 in his opening remarks at the beginning of the Summit affirmed commitment in enhancing ASEAN’s coordination with ASEAN Plus Three countries to respond effectively to the COVID-19 pandemic and its impacts towards the livelihoods of people and the economy.

His Excellency Moon Jae-in, President of the Republic of Korea as Country Coordinator for the Plus Three countries in his remarks called for the facilitation of essential travel across borders without undermining disease control efforts. Furthermore, cooperation in areas of public health should continue towards the development of equitable supply of treatments as well as transparent mechanisms to prepare against new outbreaks. On the economic front, ASEAN Plus Three countries are urged to prepare preemptively for the post COVID-19 era by strengthening measures towards resilient and inclusive economies.

This was followed with a statement from His Excellency Li Keqiang, Premier of the State Council of the People's Republic of China, in which he said China believed that the joint efforts to keep industrial and supply chains open demonstrates the resilience of ASEAN Plus Three cooperation and solidarity. In this regard, China highlighted that inclusive cooperation can contribute to peace, development and prosperity in the region.

His Excellency Yoshihide Suga, the Prime Minister of Japan also highlighted the cooperation between ASEAN Plus Three countries, particularly in finance and food security, in making progress towards sustainable development. Japan also encouraged efforts towards economic revitalisation through resilient supply chains within industries.To defeat the COVID-19 pandemic, Japan believed that universal health coverage is crucial and stands ready to collaborate with countries in the region to achieve this.

At the Summit, the leaders also talked about a collective response to regional and global crisis, which includes addressing the adverse impact of COVID-19 towards socioeconomic recovery; strengthening healthcare infrastructure to build resilience; and enhancing cooperation between institutions and businesses towards building the digital economy, restoring essential travel and ensuring continued food supply, among other things.