Brunei backs efficient energy usage
By Azlan Othman

His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam yesterday said Brunei was looking at strategies to encourage the adoption of energy efficient technology and practices. In this regard, His Majesty said that Brunei was pleased to work closely with Japan and appreciated its support.

His Majesty said this at the end of the Asean Summit meetings with dialogue partners - Republic of Korea (ROK), Japan and India - at the Shangri-La Hotel. His Majesty also attended a working lunch with leaders of the East Asia Summit (EAS).

Asean and dialogue partners reviewed their respective cooperation and future direction, as well as regional and international concerns. During these dialogue meetings, His Majesty expressed his pleasure over the progress of dialogue relations and added that they were very comprehensive and had continued to progress well in many areas of mutual interest over the years.

His Majesty said that the Asean-Japan partnership has not only brought about benefits to both sides but also contributed significantly to the peace, stability and prosperity of the region. This important relationship has been further enhanced with the Asean-Japan strategic partnership based on comprehensive dialogue and cooperation.

His Majesty was pleased that several Asean countries, including Brunei Darussalam, have signed their respective bilateral Economic Partnership Agreements with Japan, which will help elevate their respective relations and strengthen regional economic cooperation. In this regard, His Majesty was pleased with the substantive conclusion of the Asean-Japan Free Trade Area (FTA) negotiations and looked forward to its signing soon.

On climate change and energy security, His Majesty said that Asean could learn from Japan through sharing of best practices and technical assistance that could help upgrade Asean's capacity. His Majesty also expressed his support for Japan's "Cool Earth 50" initiative.

The importance of enhancing cooperation to promote more programmes on people-to-people contacts was also highlighted as it involved direct interactions and promotes friendship among the people. This would complement the efforts made by both sides to create awareness and understanding of the Asean-Japan relations, such as the Asean-Japan Youth Ship Programme, "Nippon Maru", exchanges among officials, and researchers.

At the Asean-ROK Summit, His Majesty was pleased that the situation in the Korean Peninsula was progressing well and reiterated Asean's support for Korea's continuous efforts in the six-party talks.

His Majesty expressed satisfaction on the implementation of various areas of cooperation in economic, culture and information technology. His Majesty was pleased with the progress in the FTA negotiations by both sides, and the implementation of economic cooperation projects under the FTA to enhance confidence in integration efforts. His Majesty hoped that both sides would continue to encourage more initiatives that could help promote closer economic linkages.

The leaders later witnessed the signing of the Agreement on Trade in Services under the Framework Agreement on Comprehensive Economic Cooperation among the Governments of the member countries of Asean and the Republic of Korea, and the Memorandum of Understanding on establishing the Asean-Korea Centre.

Signing on behalf of Brunei was Pehin Dato Seri Setia Lim Jock Seng, Second Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

During the Asean-India Summit, His Majesty expressed satisfaction with the continued efforts to promote closer cooperation in many areas, particularly in the economic field, such as negotiations on an Open Skies Agreement.

On youth exchanges and human resource development, His Majesty was of the view that India's initiatives in these fields would contribute significantly in promoting greater interaction among the people.

At the same time, His Majesty was also pleased with India's continued interest in working with Asean in the area of information technology, health, and science and technology.

His Majesty added that India was an important strategic partner of Asean and that the two sides had worked very well in various areas of cooperation. Together with the economic and cultural ties that had been in existence for many centuries, His Majesty was confident that Asean and India had a good basis to further deepen and widen future cooperation.

Later, His Majesty attended the EAS working lunch, which brought together the leaders of Asean, Australia, China, India, Japan, S Korea and New Zealand. - Borneo Bulletin (22nd Nov 2007)