His Majesty hails closer Asean-Japan ties
Danial Norjidi in Phnom Penh

His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam yesterday consented to attend the 15th Asean-Japan Summit; Asean Plus Three (APT) Commemorative Summit; luncheon with Asean Plus Three leaders; 10th Asean-India Summit; 15th Asean-China Summit; 4th Asean-US Leaders' Meetings; and held a bilateral meeting with the Prime Minister of Japan at the Peace Palace, Phnom Penh.

In the morning, His Majesty with other Asean leaders and Yoshihiko Noda, the Prime Minister of Japan attended the 15th Asean-Japan Summit.

During the Summit, His Majesty consented to deliver a titah, stating that Japan has been a dynamic and enduring partner for Asean and has helped Asean in many key areas towards the community building process, in particular on disaster management and assistance to Asean Coordination Centre for Humanitarian Assistance (AHA Centre).

The monarch also added that another area is on con-nectivity which will contribute to narrow the development gap in the region and hoped Japan formalised its relations with BIMP-EAGA as an official development partner.

His Majesty expressed his appreciation on Japan's emphasis on people-to-people linkages through many youth programmes such as the Kizuna Project.

His Majesty then added that there is a good scope to solidify the partnership through the 10-Year Strategic Economic Cooperation Road Map and looked forward to the timely conclusion under the Asean-Japan Compre-hensive Economic Partnership (AJCEP) which will set a foundation for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) that further broaden the cooperation.

The monarch hoped that the Asean-Japan coopera-tion could focus on core issues which have direct impact on the people in the region to ensure sustainability.

His Majesty stated that Brunei Darussalam attaches great importance to food and energy security. On food, Asean has the APTERRA (Asean Plus Three Emergency Rice Reserve Agreement) and His Majesty expressed his belief that there is more to learn on how to increase agricultural productivity and its stable supply and also to look at other forms of food such as marine resources.

His Majesty then added that there is a need to work towards a sustainable energy future and at the same time balance the economic and environmental interests. It is time to explore clean energy options and enhance energy efficiency in the region which can be benefited from Japan's expertise.

In ending the titah, His Majesty, as the incoming Chair of Asean, looked forward to future cooperation, especially as it will be the 40th anniversary of Asean-Japan cooperation next year, with the commemorative summit being held in Japan later in the year.

Later in the day, His Majesty also consented to hold a bilateral meeting with Japan's Prime Minister, in which the leaders exchanged views on bilateral relations as well as regional and international issues of mutual concern.

Present at the bilateral meeting were Pehin Orang Kaya Pekerma Dewa Dato Seri Setia Lim Jock Seng, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade II; Pehin Datu Singamanteri Colonel (Rtd) Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Awang Haji Mohammad Yasmin bin Haji Umar, Minister of Energy at the Prime Minister's Office; and Shaikh Haji Fadilah bin Shaikh Haji Ahmad, Ambassador of Brunei Darussalam to the Kingdom of Cambodia.

After the 15th Asean-Japan Summit, His Majesty consented to join other Asean leaders and President Lee Myung-bak, the President of the Republic of Korea, at the 15th Asean-Korea Summit.

His Majesty consented to deliver a statement in which His Majesty outlined on how much Asean values the Republic of Korea's continuous support for the Asean's community building efforts and of Asean's centrality in the various regional processes. The establishment of a Republic of Korea's mission to Asean in Jakarta will facilitate closer cooperation between the Republic of Korea and Asean.

The monarch expressed his appreciation to the Republic of Korea on the various environmental programmes and also to the President of the Republic of Korea, Lee Myung-bak in convening the Asean-Korea Biodiversity Seminar in Brunei Darussalam last month. His Majesty looked forward to developing similar cooperative activities especially in the information sharing and technology transfer.

His Majesty also congratulated the successful hosting of Yeosu International Expo in the Republic of Korea and hoped that this kind of activities would help raise awareness among the people and build understanding. His Majesty added that the people-to-people contacts represent one of the most integral parts of Asean and the Asean-Korea Centre in Jakarta has been doing very well since its establishment. His Majesty hoped that the centre could raise awareness and encourage private sector participation in the Free Trade Agreement.

The monarch also expressed his appreciation to the President of Korea, since it will be his last meeting with Asean, for his personal contribution and commitment to the dialogue relations.

After the 15th Asean-Korea Summit, His Majesty together with other Asean leaders attended the 15th Asean Plus Three Commemorative Summit which was held at the Peace Palace.

In this summit, His Majesty expressed his appreciation on the achievements made over the years especially in the areas of finance and food security. His Majesty added it is important to continue to strengthen all areas of the cooperation as peace, security and stability are fundamental for the countries.

His Majesty felt that more emphasis should be placed on political-security cooperation by strengthening trust and confidence through dialogue and consultation. His Majesty also looked forward for the launch of the Asean Framework on Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) which will complement the work which has been done with Plus One partners.

His Majesty stated that another important area to look at is education where the Asean Education Ministers have met officially this year. His Majesty expressed his support for the statement on connectivity where interaction and exchanges between youth should be encouraged as it enhances people-to-people linkages.

In conclusion, His Majesty also believed that the report of East Asia Vision Group Two would be useful for the future cooperation as the recommendations could provide new ideas to advance future relations and giving emphasis on economic relationship when renewing the work plan. - Borneo Bulletin (20 November 2012)