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Major newspapers in Brunei have reported on the positive outcomes of the 46th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM-46), which transpired in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam on June 30 under the theme “Our People, Our Future Together”.
The independent newspaper Borneo Bulletin posted on its website on July 1 an article “Joint communiqué issued amid sea row” in which it emphasised the successful adoption of a joint communiqué at the end of the AMM-46.
It quoted His Royal Highness Prince Mohamed Bolkiah who in his capacity as the meeting’s chairman as saying that “what I hope we can do over the next three days is look at how we can build on all this progress, stick to the idea of ASEAN centrality, successfully manage our growing relations with the outside world, find a common approach to everything that affects the region, and look forward to a successful ‘life after 2015’.”
The newspaper reported the association is now entering a new period with growing interest from many countries.
In an article entitled “China agrees to meetings to resolve lingering sea dispute”, Borneo Bulletin quoted ASEAN Secretary-General Le Luong Minh who spoke at the meeting as saying that “China and ASEAN will have a special meeting between the foreign ministers, and ASEAN will have a special retreat of the foreign ministers to prepare for this meeting. China and ASEAN will also organise the sixth meeting of the ASEAN-China senior officials and the ninth joint working group to discuss in more detail the issue of how they can engage more effectively in this connection to ensure full and effective implementation of the Declaration of Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DoC) and move towards the completion of the Code of Conduct in the East Sea (CoC).”
Mentioning that the China-ASEAN ties are not affected by the East Sea issue, Borneo Bulletin cited Wang Yi, Minister of Foreign Affairs of China who spoke at a press conference on the sidelines of the AMM-46 as saying that “on the basis of the DoC, the Chinese side is prepared to advance the CoC process in the course of implementing the DoC in a step-by-step manner on the basis of consensus.”
“In other words, the DoC and CoC should not be divided, nor can they be divided. This is because the truth is that the CoC is a product that has grown out of the DoC, “Minister Wang Yi said.
Borneo Bulletin also quoted Thailand’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Surapong Tovichakchaikul, at the press conference, as saying that “the negotiations on the CoC and the East Sea, of course, will take time, patience and prudence. This is because we have to take into consideration the concerns and interest of all the parties, particularly in maintaining peace, stability and co-operation in the region.”
“However, I’m confident that with the strong determination of all sides, the negotiation process will not be too long,” the Thai leader added.
Under the title “ASEAN Plus Three a successful, ‘extremely important’ partnership”, the newspaper cited His Royal Highness Prince Mohamed Bolkiah’s words at the meeting between ASEAN Foreign Ministers and their counterparts from China, Japan and the Republic of Korea as saying that the ASEAN Plus Three has become an extremely important partnership between the countries involved.
“Our work in the Plus Three has helped our people through many difficult times, such as the financial crisis with the Chiang Mai Initiative, the SARS epidemic soon after that and the setting up of rice reserves,” stated His Royal Highness.