Energy security, investment to revitalise regional growth
By James Kon in Jeju Island, Korea

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) and South Korea yesterday signed a joint statement and a free trade agreement on investment, previously limited to goods and services, to conclude the Asean-RoK Commemorative Summit marking 20 years of dialogue.

His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam during the second session of the Asean Republic of Korea Commemorative Summit yesterday expressed satisfaction with the overall Asean-Korea relations and encouraged the furthering of cooperation to address ongoing challenges that the region is facing.

The leaders of Asean and Korea discussed ways to strengthen Asean-RoK cooperation in addressing global challenges with an emphasis on the economic slowdown, energy security and climate change. It was held at the International Convention Centre in Jeju Island.

In dealing with the global economic crisis, His Majesty stated that Asean and Korea should strengthen their efforts in order to bring confidence, create business and investment opportunities to revitalise regional growth.

His Majesty also welcomed the collective steps, which both sides had taken including the commitment to open market regime through the establishment of the Asean-Korea Free Trade Area and the expansion of the Chiang Mai initiative. Similarly, His Majesty also commended Korea's role in the G20 and conveyed his confidence on the continuing role of G20 in ensuring global growth.

With regards to energy security, His Majesty recognised the importance of improving energy efficiency and developing clean and renewable sources of energy in the region to ensure sufficient supply of energy.

In addressing the effects of the climate change, His Majesty appreciated the ongoing work and praised Korea for its 'low carbon, green growth' initiative.

His Majesty believed that Asean could learn from Korea's expertise in this area especially in moving forward with sub regional projects, which were aimed at preserving natural environment such as Heart of Borneo.

Following the session, His Majesty with other leaders witnessed the signing of the Asean-Korea investment agreement by Asean and Korea economic ministers.

His Majesty and other Asean Leaders then signed the joint statement of the Commemorative Summit, which outlined the overall Asean-Korea relations including achievements and future measures to enhance the partnership.

The joint statement comprised review of Asean-Korea Dialogue relation, reinforcing political and security cooperation, strengthening economic and development cooperation and promoting socio-cultural exchanges.

After the conclusion of the summit yesterday, His Majesty and other Asean leaders attended a luncheon hosted by Korean President Lee Myung-bak at Shilla Hotel. - Borneo Bulletin (3rd June 2009)