Sultan in discussions to enhance regional integration
By James Kon in Hanoi

His Majesty the Sultan And Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam yesterday joined other Asean leaders and representatives to discuss ways and means to enhance regional integration towards an Asean Community as well as to effectively implement the Asean Charter at the Plenary Session of the 16th Asean Summit yesterday.

After the opening ceremony of the summit, His Majesty and other leaders were briefed by Asean Secretary-General Surin Pitsuwan on the status of implementing the Asean Charter and the Roadmap for the Asean Community 2015.

Vu Huy Hoan, Vietnam's Minister for Trade and Industry and Chairman of the Asean Economic Community Council delivered a report on progress of Asean's Economic Cooperation.

His Majesty and other leaders have agreed that Asean needs to focus on concrete actions to effectively implement agreements in time by enhancing coordination among relevant bodies and developing proper mechanisms for monitoring and resources mobilisation.

The leaders also gave fruitful guidance to promote Asean Connectivity.

As such, Asean's intra-connectivity including the Mekong and other sub regions should be prioritised, focusing on hardware connectivity such as transportation, ICT, energy as well as software connectivity like facilitation for cross border trade, investment, tourism and people-to-people exchange.

At the same time, Asean shall strengthen cooperation with external partners to pave the way for further connectivity in East Asia.

Prior to the opening, His Majesty and other Asean leaders had a meeting with representatives of the Asean Inter-parliamentary Assembly (AIPA) led by Mr Nguyen Phu Trong, current president of the AIPA-31.

His Majesty and the other Asean leaders gathered last night for a working dinner at the Melia Hotel and today the leaders will attend a retreat session.

His Majesty yesterday afternoon met Nong Duc Manh, General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam, at the Central Committee Headquarters in Hanoi, the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.

His Majesty congratulated Nong Duc Manh and the Government of Vietnam for hosting the 16th Asean Summit, and exchanged views on bilateral and regional matters.

Also present at the talks was His Royal Highness Prince Mohamed Bolkiah, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade. - Borneo Bulletin (9th April 2010)