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
AT THE HANDING OVER CEREMONY OF
THE ASEAN CHAIRMANSHIP TO BRUNEI DARUSSALAM
SUNDAY, 15 NOVEMBER 2020, VIA VIDEO CONFERENCE
Mr. Chairman, Colleagues, Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen.
I am pleased to be with you all today, as we turn another page in ASEAN's proud history.
Let me begin by congratulating Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc and the Government and people of Viet Nam, on the success in chairing ASEAN during a very challenging year.
At a time of great disruption, Vietnam has guided ASEAN to fulfil its promise of being "Cohesive and Responsive".
Brunei Darussalam will continue building on Viet Nam's admirable work, to advance regional recovery and Community-building efforts.
ASEAN was formed over fifty years ago, with the hope and vision, that the future would be better and more peaceful than the past.
We all came together, with the shared understanding that ASEAN as a whole, is greater than the sum of its parts.
Integration, unity and solidarity, have and must continue to be, the foundation of our relations.
In today's polarised world, ASEAN must continue to advance together.
Looking back, I am happy with what ASEAN has achieved today.
We live in a region that has prospered, millions have been lifted out of extreme poverty, economies are growing, connectivity is improving. Overall, we are contributing to each other's development.
But this is only one side of ASEAN's story.
We have also endured many complex challenges over the years.
Our region has faced financial crises, energy shortages, natural disasters and climate change.
More recently, we have seen how a virus can severely affect global activities.
These problems have taught us that there are no simple solutions.
However, we have learned that they can be overcome together by strengthening ASEAN solidarity and Centrality.
As a region, we must continue to cooperate and innovate, even during challenging circumstances.
I believe that ASEAN has always excelled at this point, as its very inception was created out of a delicate strategic landscape.
The 1967 Bangkok Declaration and the ASEAN Charter enshrined our collective desire for peace, development and prosperity.
Above all else, it expressed our resolve to always put our people first, and advance together as one ASEAN Community.
The values and aspirations articulated decades ago are still relevant to guide us today.
As Chair in 2021, Brunei Darussalam will promote three fundamental areas, inspired by ASEAN's long history of development.
First, caring for our people and each other's well-being.
Second, preparing for future opportunities and challenges.
Third, prospering together as a unified region.
It is in this spirit, that Brunei Darussalam's theme for its Chairmanship next year will be "We Care, We Prepare, We Prosper".
We believe these three fundamental areas will strengthen ASEAN's solidarity and reinforce ASEAN Centrality.
Moreover, it will accelerate our efforts to recover from the pandemic and realise our ambitions of an inclusive ASEAN Community.
To this end, the support and contributions of our Dialogue Partners are important.
We will therefore keep working with our partners through the various ASEAN-led mechanisms, and uphold multilateralism and the rule of law.
Our actions in the coming years, will shape the regional outlook and our post-2025 Vision.
As we enter a new phase of human history, we must set the stage well, so future generations can come into the next era with confidence and optimism.
I believe we must seize this rare opportunity to build a more prepared, dynamic and sustainable regional Community, that can enhance our people's lives.
Brunei Darussalam is therefore honoured to accept the Chairmanship from Viet Nam.
I look forward to working together with all ASEAN Member States to realise our vision of a better and brighter future that we "dare to dream" for ASEAN.