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06.09.16 Plenary Session of the 28th ASEAN Summit

His Majesty later attended the Plenary Session of the 28th ASEAN Summit. The Plenary Session was also attended by the ASEAN Heads of State and Government. Before the Plenary Session began, His Majesty joined other ASEAN Heads of State and Government for a group photograph session.

The Plenary Session of the 28th ASEAN Summit began with an Opening Remarks by His Excellency the Prime Minister of the Lao People's Democratic Republic and Chairman of ASEAN. This was followed by a report from His Excellency Le Luong Minh, ASEAN Secretary-General on matters that required attention and guidance from the ASEAN Leaders.

During the Plenary Session, His Majesty delivered a Titah. His Majesty highlighted that ASEAN currently is at an important juncture. Last year, ASEAN Community was established and Vision 2025 was adopted that paves the way for ASEAN to continue its future progress and development. The recent events following the Brexit referendum, coupled with the ever-changing geo-strategic landscape, will pose a challenge for ASEAN and it is therefore more important than ever, for ASEAN to demonstrate its unity in its commitments, and remain relevant to the whole region. Despite the global uncertainties, ASEAN's future looks bright with its economic growth projected to be at 4.7% next year and by 2030; ASEAN is expected to be the world's fourth largest economy. His Majesty also highlighted that ASEAN is on the brink of what may be called another industrial revolution, where technology is advancing at an exponential pace with unprecedented development. What is important for ASEAN now, is to be properly prepared, and remain steadfast in the commitment to make the region competitive. When ASEAN Economic Community was launched last year, public expectations from within and beyond the region were high. Despite the importance of these economic initiatives, and the potential benefits to the private sectors, ASEAN still has much to do if it were to reinforce its credibility, as a place to do business. His Majesty stated that ASEAN has the opportunity, to review how it can fast track the implementation of its economic commitments, based on what is already provided for in the ASEAN Charter. By allowing for initiatives to proceed amongst some Member States, it may help build confidence, and other member states can take them up once they are prepared. One such initiative that can be implemented this way is the ASEAN

Business Travel Card. His Majesty added that ASEAN needs to find a way to help amplify the spirit of togetherness, and sense of belonging. His Majesty suggested that ASEAN considers ways to increase collaboration, through joint venture schemes in certain identified projects. His Majesty also highlighted the importance of socio-cultural cooperation to all the work in ASEAN. ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community Council should find more ways to make the people proud of the ASEAN Community, and the uniqueness of the region living harmoniously together with the cultural diversity. This will help strengthen ASEAN's image to the rest of the world. In this regard, His Majesty is pleased that Bandar Seri Begawan has been declared the ASEAN City of Culture for the next two years, which will coincide with the Visit ASEAN Year in 2017. To end the Titah, His Majesty believes that ASEAN will continue to develop into a community that is dynamic, and responsive, based on the principles that have shaped us to this day. ASEAN's decision-making through consensus has proven to be crucial in ensuring the unity and cohesiveness of the region, and this must continue to be preserved.

News courtesy of Radio Television Brunei
Photo courtesy of InfoFoto