BRUNEI will be playing a pivotal role in maintaining regional stability when it assumes the Association of Southeast Asian Nations' (ASEAN) chairmanship next year.
Taking over the chair from Cambodia, Brunei will be facing a regional political scenario where two economic giants from both sides of the Pacific — China and the US — are competing to dominate. This scenario, together with the South China Sea row , the forthcoming US election and the change in Chinese leadership at the end of the year, could bring about great change in the regional affairs.
ASEAN, a region with a combined population of over 600 million and a nominal gross domestic product exceeding US$1.8 trillion, has been strengthening ties with its dialogue partners to address issues pertaining to economy, politics, security, people's welfare and humanitarian assistance. Many leading Southeast Asian experts say if ASEAN were a single entity, it would rank as the ninth largest economy in the world, behind the United States, China, Japan, Germany, France, Brazil, the United Kingdom, and Italy.
As the next ASEAN chairman, Brunei will be playing an active role in highlighting the need for ASEAN to continue sharing its concerns through consultations, strengthening the ASEAN Secretariat, and bringing on board all ASEAN partners in order to work together in achieving the targets as well as addressing the challenges.
We have great confidence that the Sultanate would be able to guide and steer ASEAN to move forward in accordance with the regional organisation's Connectivity agenda and encourage greater participation from the private sector as well as other regional and international stakeholders. Brunei's chairmanship would greatly help enhance ASEAN's integration efforts and make ASEAN more competitive and able to shape wider regional economic cooperation.
Monday, July 23, 2012
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