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ASEAN key player in free and open Indo-Pacific, says Japanese envoy

James Kon

ASEAN has been a cornerstone for the region’s peace and prosperity for more than half a century. Japan has always been working closely with ASEAN and its members to promote friendship and cooperation in the Asia Pacific region, said Ambassador of Japan to Brunei Darussalam Maeda Toru yesterday in a congratulatory message for the 55th ASEAN Day celebration today.

Over the past 55 years, he said, ASEAN “has developed an extensive mechanism of dialogues among members, through which mutual trust and solidarity among members have been successfully forged and the concept of ‘ASEAN Centrality’ has taken roots in each member’s foreign policy.

“In recent years, however, there have been cases in which the solidarity of ASEAN was challenged by some serious problems in the region as well as in the international community. Nevertheless, it is encouraging that the dialogue mechanism continues to function and has become even stronger in some areas”.

ASEAN, he added, “has also become a key player in promoting a free and open Indo-Pacific. The adoption of the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific has broadened the horizon of a partnership between ASEAN and Japan, as well as the other like-minded countries.

Historically, peoples of Brunei and Japan have long lived by the sea and rivers. For us, the sea and rivers are the foundations of living, providing us with highways for trades and travels, nutritious foods, water and natural resources, and sometimes protection against threats from outside. We, therefore, naturally know that everyone has free access to the open sea, and no one has a monopoly”.

The ambassador also shared “The year of 2023 marks the 50th anniversary of friendship and cooperation between Japan and ASEAN. During the ASEAN-Japan Foreign Ministers’ Meeting last week, Foreign Minister Hayashi proposed to host a commemorative Japan-ASEAN Summit next year, and the proposal was unanimously supported. They also agreed on the theme of the anniversary, – ‘Golden Friendship, Golden Opportunities’, and the logo.

I very much look forward to participating in a series of events and celebrations next year both in Japan and ASEAN member countries, including here in Brunei.”

Ambassador of Japan to Brunei Darussalam Maeda Toru
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