His Majesty lauds China as engine of Asian growth

THOUGH Asia is at the forefront of global progress, it will no doubt continue to face new challenges as uncertainty continues to cloud the global economic climate. The global issues call for a global response thus making the Boao Forum for Asia an invaluable platform for sharing ideas on how to address those issues.

His Majesty said this in a titah at the Boao Forum for Asia, which was held at the Boao Forum for Asia International Conference Centre, Hainan Province, the People’s Republic of China.

Accompanying His Majesty to the forum was His Royal Highness Prince ‘Abdul Mateen.

His Majesty began the titah by congratulating the recent appointment of Xi Jinping as China’s President and thanked for the invitation to visit China and the participation at the Boao Forum for Asia.

His Majesty stated that he has frequently visited China and has always been impressed with the country’s overall development. His Majesty is confident, with the leadership of the President Xi Jinping, China will make further strides towards economic prosperity, progress and development.

His Majesty also commended the organisers for choosing an apt topic for the forum as the countries of this region work together to seek development for all in Asia. His Majesty added that most of Asia has managed to recover from the global financial crisis and that Asia’s continued economic success has been increasingly powered by China’s economic engine of growth, which in turn has contributed to the recovery of the global economy as a whole.

As the world becomes more connected, Asia’s success would contribute to a greater good in the global arena. In this respect, all Asian countries share a collective responsibility in shaping a successful future, said His Majesty.

The monarch highlighted that as nations strive to grow closer together, they are bound to face competing political and economic interests. These will pose a test of the nations’ resolve for partnership and harmony.

His Majesty shared that among other issues which Asia and the world will be facing are climate change, global health and poverty alleviation which demand concerted action. In this regard, Asean has a role to play in promoting peace and greater collaboration among the nations.

As the Chair of Asean for 2013, Brunei has chosen the theme “Our People, Our Future Together”. This reflects the visions of the Asean founders who understood that open conflict would endanger the development prospects of the countries and therefore were committed to refraining from using any form of force. His Majesty also stated that this commitment remained the bedrock of Asean members’ interaction with one another. This has ensured that in the last 45 years of the association’s existence, its disagreements did not escalate into a war.

His Majesty stated that the Asean approach of cooperation and diplomacy was strengthened by its dynamic and inclusive community building efforts. This was mirrored in its work with the dialogue partners in the Asean Regional Forum, the Asean+3 Framework and the East Asia Summit. His Majesty also added that being inclusive also entailed expanding and deepening the cooperation with other forums.

As an example, His Majesty shared that in June this year, Brunei Darussalam will host a joint humanitarian and military medicine exercise between the Asean nations and partners including the People’s Republic of China, Japan and the United States. This will enhance the region’s capabilities in times of crisis and also build confidence and understanding among the servicemen and women.

In the area of international finance, His Majesty said after the 1997 financial crisis, Asean along with China, Japan and South Korea worked together to build a stronger regional financial architecture that was to ensure greater stability. This effort is a reflection of the commitment to each other and the understanding that the region’s future is tied together.

In international trade, Asean continues to work on the establishment of a single regional market by 2015. It will also create the world’s largest free trade area through the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) with the dialogue partners.

His Majesty also emphasised that these cooperative efforts should be planned for the distant future for the youth who will inherit the world that is being built for them. The governments are not the only one responsible to address the world’s challenges. Other stakeholders in the private sector and civil society must also be involved. This shared responsibility should be supported and nurtured to form the foundation of the future society, the ruler said.

His Majesty was confident that the leaders who were present at the forum would have the strength and wisdom to bring about development to the entire region and beyond.

After the ceremony, His Majesty proceeded to the Pavilion View Point with other leaders for a luncheon hosted by Xi Jinping.

Later, His Majesty consented to attend a bilateral meeting with Julia Gillard, Prime Minister of Australia at the King Palm Room, Boao Forum for Asia International Conference Centre. His Majesty and the Australian Prime Minister discussed and exchanged views on matters pertaining to bilateral relations, regional and international issues.

Accompanying His Majesty to the bilateral meeting was His Royal Highness Prince ‘Abdul Mateen.

His Majesty also consented to meet Christine Madeleine Odette Lagarde, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). His Majesty and Lagarde discussed matters of economy and global finance of mutual interests.

Also accompanying His Majesty to the meeting was His Royal Highness Prince ‘Abdul Mateen.

Accompanying His Majesty to the events were Pehin Orang Kaya Laila Setia Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Abdul Rahman bin Haji Ibrahim, Minister of Finance II at the Prime Minister’s Office; 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 Datin Paduka Magdalene Teo Chee Siong, Ambassador of Brunei Darussalam to the People’s Republic of China; as well as other senior government officials.

Earlier, His Majesty was greeted on arrival by Zhou Wenzhong, Secretary General of the Boao Forum for Asia.

His Majesty then joined other leaders who attended the forum for a group photo.

His Majesty later attended the Opening Plenary Session of the Forum at the Main Hall of the International Conference Centre, which began with opening and welcoming speeches from Zhou Wenzhong; Yasuo Fukuda, Chairman of the Forum followed by a keynote speech by Xi Jinping, the President of the People’s Republic of China. - Borneo Bulletin (8 April 2013)