His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, recently joined the 13th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Summit, which was held virtually from Baitul Mesyuarah, Istana Nurul Iman.
At the Summit, His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam in his titah highlighted that the meeting which coincided with ASEM’s 25th anniversary provided a good opportunity to reflect on its value and significance.
When ASEM Leaders gathered at the first Summit in 1996 in Bangkok, His Majesty recalled that they recognised the huge potential in linking Asia and Europe to achieve greater growth and prosperity.
Reinforcing this partnership is vital, as Member Partners recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. In this regard, His Majesty underlined the importance of digital connectivity, and it is incumbent on us to align efforts on this to meet the needs of the peoples and businesses.
Therefore, Brunei is pleased that this effort will be advanced through the ASEM Connectivity initiative.
His Majesty also stressed that timely and equitable access to vaccines as well as recognising vaccines as listed in WHO’s Emergency Use Listing are important in resuming safe travel as soon as possible to forge educational, social and cultural links, which will be mutually beneficial for all.
Lastly, His Majesty stated that the issue of mental health should also be addressed to prevent long-term impacts to the economy and the people; and underlined that Brunei sees huge potential for ASEM to cooperate in this area through the sharing of expertise and best practices.
The First Plenary Session focused discussions on the role of ASEM in promoting multilateralism amidst complex global challenges while maintaining mutual respect, understanding and trust between ASEM Partners through the strengthening of a rules-based international trading system; as well as cooperation to achieve sustainable development and growth especially in tackling the climate change agenda and leveraging on digital connectivity opportunities.
Earlier in the Meeting, opening remarks were delivered by His Excellency Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, as Chair of the 13th ASEM Summit; His Excellency Mr. Charles Michel, President of the European Council, as the Regional Coordinator for European Group; Her Excellency Mrs. Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, as the Regional Coordinator for European Group; His Excellency Mr. Mikhail Mishustin, Prime Minister of the Russian Federation, as the Regional Coordinator for NESA Group; His Excellency Mr. Janez Janša, Prime Minister of the Republic of Slovenia, as the EU Council Presidency and Regional Coordinator for European Group; and His Excellency Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha (Ret.), Prime Minister of Thailand, as the Regional Coordinator for ASEAN Group. At the Summit, the leaders also observed statements by stakeholders of ASEM.
This article was first published on 27 November 2021 in our Weekly E-Paper issue 169 | More stories here
THE BRUNEIAN | BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN