Brunei takes ASEAN helm next year

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 yesterday afternoon joined other ASEAN leaders for the closing ceremony of the 37th ASEAN Summit and Related Summits, and the handing over of the ASEAN Chairmanship to Brunei Darussalam, held virtually via video conference from Baitul Mesyuarah, Istana Nurul Iman.

The closing ceremony began with remarks by Prime Minister of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam Nguyn Xuân Phúc as the ASEAN Chairman for 2020, who reiterated ASEAN’s strong commitment to multilateralism, dialogue, ASEAN centrality, and shaping an inclusive rules-based regional architecture.

The ASEAN Identity was emphasised in contributing to sustainable development of the region.

The conclusion and signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) will further promote economic liberalisation and connectivity.

Vietnam expressed confidence in Brunei Darussalam’s chairmanship in 2021.

Nguyn Xuân Phúc handed over the ASEAN Chairmanship to His Majesty, and Brunei will Chair the ASEAN Summit next year.

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 joins ASEAN leaders for the closing ceremony of the 37th ASEAN Summit and Related Summits

In His Majesty’s titah, the monarch congratulated Nguyn Xuân Phúc and the government and people of Vietnam on successfully chairing of ASEAN during a very challenging year.

Despite the disruptions, Vietnam has guided ASEAN in fullfiling its promise of being “cohesive and responsive”. Brunei Darussalam will continue to advance regional recovery and community-building efforts.

ASEAN was formed over 50 years ago with a vision for a better and more peaceful future based on the shared understanding that ASEAN as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

Integration, unity and solidarity, have and must continue to be the foundation of ASEAN’s relations in advancing together.

In today’s polarised world, ASEAN must continue to advance together. His Majesty expressed satisfaction with what ASEAN has achieved thus far.

Although ASEAN is a prosperous region with a growing economy and improved connectivity, the region has faced financial crises, energy shortages, natural disasters and climate change. The severe challenges on global activities brought about by a virus has also shown us that ASEAN must continue to strengthen ASEAN solidarity and centrality to overcome them.

As a region, ASEAN must continue to cooperate and innovate, even during challenging circumstances. His Majesty believed that ASEAN’s strength is through its collective desire for peace, development and prosperity as enshrined in the 1967 Bangkok Declaration and the ASEAN Charter. The people always come first in advancing together as one ASEAN Community, guided by values and aspirations articulated decades ago.

His Majesty stated that as Chair in 2021, Brunei Darussalam will promote three fundamental areas, inspired by ASEAN’s long history of development.

First, caring for our people and each other’s well-being. Second, preparing for future opportunities and challenges. Third, prospering together as a unified region.

In this spirit, the theme for Brunei Darussalam’s Chairmanship will be ‘We Care, We Prepare, We Prosper’. These three fundamental areas will strengthen ASEAN’s solidarity and reinforce ASEAN Centrality. Moreover, it will accelerate efforts to recover from the pandemic and realise the ambitions of an inclusive ASEAN Community. To this end, the support and contributions of dialogue partners are important to help shape the regional outlook and ASEAN’s post-2025 Vision.

At the end of the ceremony, the ASEAN leaders witnessed a video presentation by Brunei, revealing the theme and aspirations of Brunei Darussalam.