His Majesty highlights 'wonderful voyage' of China-Asean friendship
By M K Anwar

His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam highlighted the wonderful voyage in building a simple human friendship with a genuine respect for each other between China and Asean, in a titah during the closed-door session of the Commemorative Summit marking the 15th Anniversary of Asean-China Dialogue Relations.

His Majesty, together with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and leaders from the other nine Asean member countries, was attending the Summit in Nanning, capital of south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.

Accompanying His Majesty was His Royal Highness Prince Mohamed Bolkiah, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Pehin Dato Seri Setia Lim Jock Seng, Minister II of Foreign Affairs and Trade, also attended.

Touching on the relations with the Chinese People, His Majesty noted that it has been a wonderful voyage of discovery for everyone. "We have very much enjoyed re-discovering our long history and learning how far we go back together," His Majesty said in his titah.

His Majesty expressed appreciation on the efforts of scholars and historians from the two countries to "bring the history all alive again and help us to know each other much more closely".

The monarch further mentioned the tremendous effort in making the Asean-China relationship such that it is "so strongly based on simple human friendship and genuine respect for each other, which is why so much has been achieved in the last fifteen years".

Highlighting the financial crisis in 1997, the fears of major health problems in recent years and also the constant concerns on terrorism, His Majesty said that these have tested the regional cooperation but have never prevented it from working positively and successfully together, sharing ideas and emerging with the partnership both intact and strengthened that can provide reassurances to the people of Asean and China.

On the idea of an Asean-China Centre, His Majesty expressed his full support for this proposal and welcomed it. The monarch regarded this as a symbol in trying to achieve trade and investments as well as cultural affairs and simple day-to-day human contact.

"These give a deep feeling of confidence and security to all international relations," His Majesty said.

His Majesty went on to express special appreciation from Brunei to Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and Madame President.

"We are doing everything we can as coordinator of Asean-China dialogue over the next three years."

His Majesty also stated that there are many ongoing challenges in security, trade, investment, energy, the environment and economic cooperation. "The work is extensive and extremely important in the peaceful development of East and Southeast Asia as a whole," His Majesty said.

"It is a question now of looking to the future and building the excellent relations we built up in the last fifteen years. To be closely involved in the future of Asean-China relations is a privilege and an exciting prospect for us," His Majesty concluded.

Other Asean leaders attending the summit were Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Lao Prime Minister Bouasone Bouphavanh, Myanmar Prime Minister General See Win, Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (co-chairing the summit), Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung and Thai Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont. - Borneo Bulletin (1st Nov 2006)