Prince Mohamed lauds Asean's 'one identity'

His Royal Highness Prince Mohamed Bolkiah, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, yesterday hailed the "one identity" of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) in a statement commemorating Asean Day 2008.

HRH praised the theme of this year's Asean Day "One ASEAN Identity; One Asean Community", saying that it presents a bright and far-reaching vision for Southeast Asia.

Following is the full text of HRH Prince Mohamed Bolkiah's statement:

Every year, the members of ASEAN celebrate the 8th of August 1967. This was the date when the Bangkok Declaration was signed and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations was formed.

Today we honour this memorable occasion for the 41st time and, this year, we are also honouring an equally historic moment in ASEAN history.

November the 20th 2007.

This was the day last year in Singapore when the leaders of our 10 member nations signed the ASEAN Charter. Its spirit is clearly captured in the theme of this year's ASEAN Day:

'One ASEAN Identity; One ASEAN Community'

This presents a bright and far-reaching vision of Southeast Asia.

It is not just an idealistic vision. It also offers the 500,000,000 people in our 10 nations a compelling practical invitation. It invites us to enter a process that will shape our future region and bring us together in "one community", offering each other steadfast hope and constant reassurance.

Such a community will be one in which we work together in peace and security. We appreciate one another's culture, tradition, background, faith and aspirations. We help and protect each other against any threat, whether man-made or natural.

We open up new social and economic opportunities for each other, as warm friends, close neighbours and professional partners.

It is one in which our "one identity" is expressed by each of us being able to say with confidence and reassurance:

"I am not only from Southeast Asia. I am Southeast Asian."

That is the community our leaders invited us to enter last year when they signed the ASEAN Charter.

It is an invitation that Brunei Darussalam is happy to accept and, in doing so, we send our very best wishes to the people of our fellow member nations for peace, happiness and prosperity. - Borneo Bulletin (8th August 2008)