Brunei welcomes stronger Japanese involvement in Asean
Azaraimy HH

HIS Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, who chaired the Asean-Japan Summit, welcomed “ever stronger Japanese involvement” in the 10-nation grouping.

The Asean-Japan Summit was held back to back with the 23rd Asean Summit that kicked off yesterday.

The summit was attended by the heads of state and government of Asean and the Prime Minister of Japan. Prior to the summit, His Majesty and the heads of state and government of Asean and Japan proceeded to a group photo session.

At the beginning of the summit, His Majesty in his titah, welcomed Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and congratulated Japan for winning the bid to host the 2020 Olympics.

His Majesty was pleased to note that Japan has played an instrumental role in helping Asean develop its economic and industrial capabilities as well as narrowing the region’s gap.

As such, His Majesty welcomed an ever-stronger Japanese involvement in Asean.

His Majesty said Japan’s declaration to enhance “heart-to-heart” relations with Asean in 1977 has created numerous programmes aimed at bringing young people closer in the region.

His Majesty noted that the positive outcome of this very important initiative has allowed them to develop a strong sense of friendship which has led to greater mutual trust and understanding that is evident today.

With this in mind, His Majesty very much commended Japan for their latest programme, the JENESYS 2.0 (Japan-East Asia Network of Exchange for Students and Youths) and the on-going Kizuna Project and Ship for Southeast Asian Youth Programme (SSEAYP). His Majesty added that this very important area of cooperation is one that should be continuously sustained in the future.

His Majesty also noted that Japan’s growth and dynamism have brought benefit to Asean over the years, which together, the people have been able to mutually benefit from this growth.

Furthermore, His Majesty was pleased to see the revitalisation of Japan’s economy, especially under the leadership of Prime Minister Abe, which will have positive impacts to the region.

In addition, His Majesty took note of the informal meeting that was held in May this year between the Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors and their decision to explore ways to further enhance cooperation between Asean member states and Japan. As such, His Majesty pointed out that it is important for Asean-Japan to maintain the close economic relations they have by building upon good work done.

Hence, His Majesty believed that the timely completion of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) in Services and Investment before the Commemorative Summit and the effective implementation of the 10-year roadmap will help towards the aim of doubling trade beyond US$500 billion and investment beyond US$40 billion by 2022.

His Majesty commended the good work that has been done together over the past years and looked forward to co-chairing the Commemorative Summit with Prime Minister Abe. His Majesty also expressed deep appreciation for Japan’s dedicated support and friendship to Asean especially in realising the Asean Community by 2015 and working beyond this in the future.

At the end of the summit, Brunei Darussalam, as Chair of Asean, issued a Chairman’s Statement of the 16th Asean-Japan Summit.

Among others, the Chairman’s Statement reiterated “the importance of Asean’s central role and leadership in the evolving regional architecture and reaffirmed our commitment to work closely with all our external partners to ensure the maintenance of peace, security, stability and prosperity through various Asean-led processes, including the Asean Plus One, Asean Plus Three, Asean Regional Forum (ARF), Asean Defence Ministers Meeting (ADMM)-Plus and East Asia Summit (EAS). In this regard, we look forward to meeting our partners at the forthcoming Asean Plus One Summit, the Asean Plus Three Summit and the EAS”.

The Chairman Statement also encouraged all external partners of Asean to support the implementation of the Roadmap for an Asean Community (2009-2015) and the Bali Declaration on Asean Community in a Global Community of Nations (Bali Concord III) to bring the Asean common platform on global issues into reality by 2022.

The Chairman Statement took note of Indonesia’s idea to promote second generation external relations and dialogue partnership, with the aim of having an equal, mutually beneficial and meaningful partnership. - Borneo Bulletin (10 October 2013)