Brunei Darussalam continues to practise a policy of mutual respect among friendly nations regardless of ideology. This policy guides the Sultanate not to interfere in the affairs and interests of any party, in line with the concept of preserving and respecting each other’s sovereignty.
The Sultanate will continue to practise respectful behaviour and maintain a transparent relationship with other countries. In addition, Brunei will enhance regional economic integration and participation in the global economic network.
Brunei also remains committed and will work closely with the international community to address key current challenges such as climate change issues, environmental pollution, terrorism threats and extremism.
During the ASEAN Summit in Bangkok in 2019, 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 called on the ASEAN member states to continue safeguarding ASEAN centrality. His Majesty highlighted the importance of ensuring the support for ASEANled mechanisms remains strong and relevant.
Equally important are efforts to further enhance existing relationships and to seek new partnerships that could help ASEAN shape the future of the region, based on mutual respect, benefit and interest. In this matter, Brunei is committed towards strengthening the ASEAN community for an open, inclusive and peaceful region.
His Majesty also said that a people-centred ASEAN community is essential for a sustainable future, ensuring peace, stability and prosperity for all. His Majesty noted that there are opportunities to build a more integrated ASEAN community. This includes strengthening cooperation in the field of education by facilitating student exchange programmes between institutions in ASEAN member states. In return, this will build friendship and help youth understand the diversity within the region.
Other steps to foster a more integrated ASEAN, the monarch highlighted, include initiatives that will prepare ASEAN better for the digital future. An example is to strengthen telecommunications in the region in terms of mobile data roaming to enhance intra-ASEAN travel and connectivity.
It is a tradition for ASEAN’s 10 members to take turns chairing the regional bloc in alphabetical order. On January 1, 2020, Vietnam formally took over from Thailand.
Prime Minister of Vietnam Nguyen Xuan Phuc has said that Vietnam will focus on strengthening ASEAN’s sustainable cohesion by upholding solidarity and unity. The country also aims to increase economic links and connectivity, deepen the values and identities of ASEAN members, improve the efficiency of the ASEAN apparatus and promote ASEAN’s partnerships in the global community.
Vietnam’s chairmanship is themed ‘Cohesive and Responsive’ and the country has identified five priorities for 2020. Among these priorities is to enhance the bloc’s performance of its role and contribution to the maintenance of regional peace, security and stability.
Another important priority for Vietnam is to boost connectivity and improve the capacity of adapting to and capitalise on the Fourth Industrial Revolution. At the same time, the country places importance on promoting awareness of the ASEAN community and its identities to create common values for the group.
Other priorities include reinforcing partnerships for peace and sustainable development with other countries; improving ASEAN’s adaptability and efficiency by reforming institutions; and improving the operations of the association’s apparatus.
Vietnam will mark the 25th anniversary of its accession to ASEAN in 2020. Its growth has been nothing short of remarkable since the country opened its economy in the 1980s with a series of market reforms that have boosted development and lifted millions out of poverty.
As one of Asia’s most dynamic economies, Vietnam is an attractive investment destination and has contributed towards making ASEAN the fifth largest economy in the world. In 2018, the combined gross domestic product (GDP) of ASEAN was USD3 trillion.
A total of 300 meetings and activities were scheduled to be held in Vietnam in 2020. The most important will be summits in April and November and the 41st General Assembly of the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA) in August. Vietnam will also host the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and ministerial meetings.
Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Nguyen Quoc Dung, who is also the Secretary General of the National ASEAN 2020 Committee, said 2020 has a significant meaning to both ASEAN and Vietnam. The year marks the mid-term review of the ASEAN Community’s Master Plan 2015-25, while Vietnam will celebrate its 25th anniversary as a member of the bloc.
Copyright 2019 Borneo Bulletin Yearbook 2019 All rights reserved.