Asean leaders set for annual summit

by News Desk

BANDAR SERI BENGAWAN (Borneo Bulletin/ANN) - 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 will join other Asean leaders at the 30th Asean Summit which will be held in Manila, the Philippines tomorrow.

The Asean Secretariat said in a statement yesterday that this is the first of two Asean summits in this milestone year as Asean celebrates its 50th anniversary. Rodrigo Roa Duterte, President of the Republic of the Philippines, will play host to fellow Asean leaders and preside over the opening ceremony on Saturday at the Philippine International Convention Center and the Leaders’ Retreat at the Coconut Palace.

During the summit, the leaders would be discussing the implementation of Asean Community Vision 2025 and the way forward, external relations and future directions. They will also exchange views on regional and international issues. They are expected to sign the Asean Declaration on the Roles of the Civil Service as a Catalyst for Achieving the Asean Community Vision 2025.

Further, the leaders will be meeting with the representatives of Asean Inter-Parliamentary Assembly and Asean youth. The 12th Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East Asean Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) Summit and 10th Indonesia-Malaysia-Thailand Growth Triangle (IMT-GT) Summit will also be held in this occasion.

For its Asean chairmanship, the Philippines has adopted the theme ‘Partnering for Change, Engaging the World’ to illustrate its vision of an Asean Community that is dynamic, vibrant and prosperous for all - acting in unity within and with its global partners.

“Five decades of cooperation and integration have made Asean one of the most successful regional organisations in the world. Asean works together - cognisant of, and leveraging on, its diversity and collective potentials - to pursue a shared vision and common aspirations. This represents Asean’s unique strength,” said Le Luong Minh, Secretary-General of Asean, about his perspective on the core achievement of Asean.

Meanwhile, agencies reported that Southeast Asian nations would adopt a softer than usual tone about South China Sea disputes at a leaders’ summit on Saturday in Manila and exclude references to militarisation or island-building, according to a draft of the chairman’s statement.

Although some Asean leaders will express “serious concern” over the “escalation of activities” in the disputed sea, Asean will drop references, or even allusions, to China’s construction of artificial islands and the military hardware it has placed on them, according excerpts of the draft.