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Brunei
Thursday, December 8, 2022
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Brunei
Thursday, December 8, 2022
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    ASEAN must strengthen institutional capacity, effectiveness: His Majesty

    ASEAN needs to strengthen its institutional capacity and effectiveness to ensure that it can take advantage of its strategic value and skillfully navigate challenges and opportunities, affirmed 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 in a titah during the Plenary Session of the 40th ASEAN Summit at the Sokha Phnom Penh Hotel, Cambodia yesterday.

    Accompanying His Majesty was His Royal Highness Prince ‘Abdul Mateen.

    The arrival of His Majesty was welcomed by Prime Minister of Cambodia Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen.

    His Majesty first attended the opening ceremony of the 40th and 41st ASEAN Summits and Related Summits, which was also attended by other ASEAN heads of state and government. The ceremony commenced with the ASEAN anthem, The ASEAN Way, followed by cultural performances and opening remarks from the Prime Minister of Cambodia as Chairman of ASEAN this year, who welcomed all leaders and delegates.

    Following the opening ceremony, His Majesty and other ASEAN leaders witnessed the Photo Exhibition on Cambodia’s Contribution to ASEAN.

    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, and His Royal Highness Prince ‘Abdul Mateen with Prime Minister of Cambodia Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen during the 40th and 41st ASEAN Summits and Related Summits, in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. PHOTO: INFOFOTO
    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 in a group photo on stage during the 40th and 41st ASEAN Summits and Related Summits, in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. PHOTO: INFOFOTO

    His Majesty’s attendance to the ASEAN Summits in Phnom Penh this year, among other things, marks a significant opportunity to reaffirm His Majesty’s friendship with other leaders as well as to continue discussions on the further strengthening of regional cooperation.

    At the Plenary Session of the 40th ASEAN Summit, His Majesty highlighted that over the last 55 years, ASEAN has made numerous achievements in maintaining peace and prosperity in the region. In this regard, ASEAN should redouble its efforts to advance the community-building process. With ASEAN taking advantage of various opportunities such as digital transformation and the ongoing work in implementing and upgrading Free Trade Agreements, this would help ensure ASEAN’s competitiveness and resilience.

    His Majesty also welcomed the launching of the ASEAN Junior Fellowship Programme in August 2021, which would equip the young people of ASEAN with knowledge of the inner workings of ASEAN and foster good relations among them.

    In striving to achieve a united and inclusive community, His Majesty expressed support for Timor-Leste’s membership to ASEAN and to become an observer in the meantime, while finalising the terms of accession.

    His Majesty added that ASEAN is currently engaged in one of its most critical works through the post-2025 visioning process, where Brunei prioritises an ASEAN with stronger neighbourly relations, as well as closer friendship and cooperation.

    In this process, ASEAN needs to balance pragmatism and ambition to ensure that it remains stable and progressive while staying true to its identity.

    In concluding the titah, His Majesty expressed appreciation to Secretary-General of ASEAN Dato Paduka Lim Jock Hoi for his valuable contributions to ASEAN over the last five years. His Majesty expressed support for Dr Kao Kim Hourn of Cambodia as the next ASEAN Secretary-General.

    Earlier, the Prime Minister of Cambodia in a speech highlighted the importance of ASEAN’s collective endeavours to tackle existing and emerging challenges, and reiterated Cambodia’s commitment in ensuring ASEAN Community-building efforts are sustained towards achieving peace, stability, security and sustainable development.

    During the Plenary Session, leaders were presented with a report from Dato Paduka Lim Jock Hoi highlighting ASEAN’s achievements in recovering together from the COVID-19 pandemic through significant economic growth of 5.1 per cent; the upgrading of key trade agreements with dialogue partners as well as the signing of the ASEAN-European Union (EU) Comprehensive Air Transport Agreement.

    ASEAN leaders also emphasised the importance of unity and centrality in ensuring that ASEAN is able to respond to common challenges and furthermore enhance cooperation in areas such as food and energy security as well as digital development.

    At the end of the Plenary Session, the ASEAN Leaders’ Vision Statement on ‘ASEAN ACT: Addressing Challenges Together’; ASEAN Leaders’ Statement on 55th anniversary of ASEAN; ASEAN Leaders’ Statement on ASEAN Connectivity Post-2025 Agenda; and ASEAN Leaders’ Statement on the Application of Timor-Leste for ASEAN Membership were adopted.

    Following the Plenary Session, His Majesty attended the Retreat Session of the 41st ASEAN Summit.

    His Majesty delivered a titah highlighting that ASEAN was able to work with its partners and find opportunities to enhance its cooperation, despite the challenges due to the multi-dimensional impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    His Majesty also stressed that heightened geopolitical tensions threaten to hinder the progress of ASEAN’s work, including on food and energy security. Therefore, it is important to promote stable and constructive relations among all ASEAN’s partners to respond to these shared challenges.

    Further engagement and cooperation between ASEAN and its partners is encouraged, which will demonstrate ASEAN’s commitment to an open and inclusive regional architecture which upholds ASEAN centrality. His Majesty expressed support for the ASEAN Leaders’ Statement on the 55th anniversary of ASEAN which calls for ASEAN to remain inclusive and outward-looking, with strengthened centrality and unity in its engagement with external partners.

    During the Retreat Session, His Majesty and other ASEAN leaders reaffirmed that Myanmar remains an integral part of ASEAN. The Five-Point Consensus – which was agreed by leaders during Brunei Darussalam’s ASEAN Chairmanship in 2021 – shall remain the valid reference and should be implemented in its entirety.

    Leaders also discussed on ASEAN’s external relations and future direction, as well as exchanged views on regional and international issues.

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