East Asia Summit has come a long way
Azaraimmy HH

BRUNEI Darussalam will be chairing the eighth East Asia Summit (EAS) on October 10 and will be pursuing EAS initiatives including the US-Asia Pacific Energy Partnership for a Sustainable Energy Future, in partnership with the US and Indonesia.

The Sultanate is also offering 10 scholarships on Master of Public Management programmes to EAS countries annually for the next three years commencing January 2014.

Brunei is also focusing on strengthening EAS practical cooperation in food and energy security, environment and biodiversity, health and pandemic diseases prevention as well as disaster management.

During the third EAS Foreign Ministers’ Meeting yesterday at the International Convention Centre, His Royal Highness Prince Mohamed Bolkiah said that the EAS is still in its early stages, but with many initiatives and several new proposals, it is certainly taking shape. He added that it has been 46 years since the first Asean meeting and said, “I am sure our founding fathers would be amazed to see us today.

“I think they would also be very happy they believed in things that did not exist back then – regionalism and then globalism, and the East Asia Summit is probably the biggest step we have taken towards this.”

His Royal Highness also welcomed new Asean faces in the EAS including US Secretary of State John Kerry, Minister Khurshid, Minister Kishida, Minister Yun and Minister Wang Yi.

His Royal Highness highlighted that the EAS’ first principle is that it is “leaders led” and its substance was well set out last year in the Phnom Penh Development Initiative by the People’s Republic of China.

HRH believes the EAS has moved a long way from the days when it was described as just a “brainstorming session”.

HRH said EAS’ focus on strengthening the Asean Community involves making sure that the peoples day-to-day lives are improved and that they are able to cope with all the challenges of the modern world.

The EAS has many initiatives to look at and several new proposals to consider.

HRH said in terms of the people’s basic needs in health and education, EAS has Australia’s initiative on malaria and their proposal for a forum on connectivity, as well as India’s Nalanda University.

Then, when the need to face more modern challenges arise, there are Japan and Korea’s contributions to “low carbon growth” and green technology, the United States’ energy partnership, proposals from New Zealand on connectivity and Russia on security cooperation.

“As well as these, we have ongoing projects on disaster management, finance, food security, fisheries and marine conservation – a very impressive list. They are all very relevant to our people’s lives and crucial to the development of our region and strengthening our Asean Community,” HRH concluded. - Borneo Bulletin (3 July 2013)