BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN – August 8 marks the 51st anniversary of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

Formed as a geopolitical grouping during a tumultuous time of war and instability, ASEAN has come a long way from its unsteady beginnings.

His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam on Wednesday released his annual message to mark ASEAN Day. Here’s the statement in full:

Commemorating ASEAN Day is an opportunity for us to reflect on the achievements of our association as well as a chance for us to celebrate how much our region and its people have grown over the past 51 years.

Throughout those time, ASEAN has experienced significant economic progress and technological advancements as well as growing support from external partners for ASEAN’s Community Building process. Our region has benefitted from these developments through improvements to our education and health systems as well as the expansion of infrastructures that have raised the living standards for our people.

Nevertheless, developmental challenges to the region still remain and coupled with other issues of the 21st century such as disruptive technology, climate change and the threat from terrorism and violent extremism, require the collective efforts of countries to overcome.

In this regard, ASEAN continues to provide a platform for its member states and partners to cooperate and work with each other to achieve common goals. With the ASEAN Community Vision 2025, we are committed to realising a region that is politically cohesive, economically integrated and socially responsible for its people.

This involves a broad range of cooperation including addressing cybersecurity, promoting micro, small and medium enterprises, protecting the natural environment and developing our youth for the future.

At the same time, ASEAN will continue to enhance cooperation with its regional and international partners to ensure peace, security and prosperity in Southeast Asia and the wider region.

We fully support Singapore and their work as ASEAN Chairman in 2018 under their theme “Resilient and Innovative ASEAN”. Brunei Darussalam will continue working with Singapore as well as with other ASEAN members and regional partners in achieving our common goals for the benefit of all its people.

My best wishes for a very happy ASEAN Day and our continued hope for a bright future for ASEAN and its people.

Indonesian foreign minister Retno Marsudi (C-L) and ASEAN Secretary-General Lim Jock Hoi (C-R) attend an event at the ASEAN Secretariat in Jakarta to mark the bloc’s 51st anniversary on Aug 8, 2018. Photo: ASEAN Secretariat

Meanwhile, speaking at the ASEAN Secretariat in Jakarta Indonesia’s foreign minister Retno Marsudi said:

Looking back, ASEAN helped transform Southeast Asia from an area of enmity into a region of amity; from a pocket of poverty into a land of opportunities, and; from a zone of instability into an ecosystem of peace, stability, and prosperity.

Nonetheless, our success should not make us complacent. ASEAN centrality must be continuously earned and nurtured.

ASEAN Secretary-General Dato Lim Jock Hoi added that ASEAN Day is about celebrating solidarity across borders.

He said the new secretariat building, slated for completion by mid-2019, will bring about a “new era of modernisation”.

The new building not only represents a physical transformation for the ASEAN Secretariat and ASEAN, but it also paves the way for a more integrated and conducive community-type atmosphere.

There will be opportunity for more community engagement with academia, development partners, civil society organisations, private sector, and others, strengthening our ASEAN motto – One Vision, One Identity, and One Caring and Sharing Community.