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 as the Chair of ASEAN for 2021, was invited by His Excellency Li Baodong, Secretary General of the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA), to deliver a special titah via recorded video at the Opening Plenary of the BFA Annual Conference 2021 in Boao, People’s Republic of China on 20th April 2021.
His Excellency Xi Jinping, President of the People’s Republic of China and other state leaders from Asia-Pacific countries also delivered pre-recorded speeches at the Opening Plenary of the Conference. His Excellency Wang Qishan, Vice President of the People’s Republic of China attended the Conference.
His Majesty in the titah noted that this year is another milestone in the history of relations with the People’s Republic of China as this year marks the 30th anniversary of ASEANChina dialogue relations as well as the establishment of diplomatic relations between Brunei Darussalam and People’s Republic of China.
During this difficult time, ASEAN has shown its solidarity and joined hands to mitigate the impacts of the pandemic, without losing sight of the integration efforts. His Majesty stated that Brunei Darussalam, as the Chair of ASEAN for 2021, has the honour to lead the region towards economic recovery. The theme, “We Care, We Prepare, We Prosper” affirms ASEAN’s collective commitment to care for its people and prepare for future challenges and opportunities, with the goal of ensuring that the whole ASEAN Community can sustainably prosper.
His Majesty said that under the ASEAN Economic Community, Brunei Darussalam’s 13 Priority Economic Deliverables show ASEAN’s determination in focusing its efforts towards the region’s economic recovery post-pandemic, while leveraging on new technologies and digitalisation to ensure sustainable economic growth in ASEAN.
The signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (RCEP) last year not only demonstrated the concerted efforts of its member countries towards advancing international trade cooperation, but it will also help to strengthen regional recovery efforts.
His Majesty further said the Belt and Road Initiative would further complement the revitalisation of their economies, adding that it is a significant plan that would contribute to regional connectivity and further enhance the economic landscape, and that it could also present opportunities to work together in many areas and through sub-regional fora such as BIMP-EAGA.
Before concluding the titah, His Majesty looked forward to the continuous strengthening of ASEAN-China cooperation to maximise the prospects and efforts towards achieving regional sustainable economic growth.
The BFA Annual Conference 2021 was held 18th to 21st April 2021 and coincided with the 20th Anniversary of the Forum. The theme of this year's Forum is, “A World in Change: Join Hands to Strengthen Global Governance and Advance Belt and Road Cooperation”. Jointly initiated by 29 Asia-Pacific countries in February 2001, BFA serves as a high-level platform of dialogue bringing together more than 2,000 delegates from governments, businesses, media, academic institutions and international organisations from Asia and beyond, including leaders from host country People’s Republic of China and other economies, to share their insights and proposals on the development of Asia and the world.