2012 Asia Pacific Round Table

Under the theme of “The Prospects of Regional Development in Asia Pacific”, the 2012 Asia Pacific Round Table was successfully held at the Brunei Hotel in Bandar Seri Begawan in the Negara Brunei Darussalam on November 17 to 20, 2012. A total of 32 delegates from 13 countries attended the meeting. Countries represented were : Brunei, Cambodia, Canada, Guam, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, New Zealand, Philippine, Taiwan, USA and Vietnam.

The Brunei round table was opened by Senator Dato Mohammed Najeeb bin Abdullah of Malaysia. Distinguished guests at the meeting included: Ms. Lim Kim Ly, Advisor of the Cambodia People’s Party (the ruling party) of the Kingdom of Kampuchea; Mr. Chhong Koem Phoon, former Congressman of Cambodia; Dr. Maung Zarni, founder of the Free Burma Coalition and a Visiting Fellow at the London School of Economics in Great Britain.

The round table was opened in the morning on November 18 followed by Session One with presentations from Professor Rodrigo Camelo Ong of Philippine and Mr. Joseph KaiYuan Hsu of Guam. Professor Ong, who is the Director and Trustee of the Rizal Sun Yat Sen Society, talked about “The Taipi/Beijing Relations in a New Era”, while Mr. Hsu, who is the Chairman of the Asia Pacific Society for Friendship, presented his observations on the “US Policy and Western Pacific Development. The Session was chaired by Dr. Khamlay Mounivongs, an educator who has been the Director of the Department of Education of the University of Quebec in Canada.

Session Two was held in the afternoon on November 18, with country reports from the chief delegates. The Session was chaired by Mr. Masatoshi Abe, the President of the Institute for Global Strategy in Japan.

With the conclusion of Session Two, the Closing, chaired by Dr. Tai Wan-chin, Vice President of the TamKang Unviersity in Taipei, was held. At the Closing, a plaque of appreciation was presented to Mr. Lien Kon Sien, Chairman of the Organization Committee of the Host country, for his contribution and sponsorship for the Brunei round table. Mr. Lien, a native born of Brunei, is the Founding Chairman of the Taiwan Business Association in Brunei Darussalam.

Before the departure on November 20, a cultural tour was arranged on November 19. Delegates of the round table have a touch of the Brunei heritage through their visits to the residential house on the Kampong Ayer (Water Village), the Kampong Ayer Cultural Gallery, the Royal Regalia Museum, the Jame Asr Hassanil Bolkiah Mosque, and the Brunei Museum. The delegates from Asia and Pacific was impressed by the Malay culture of Brunei, and agreed that they have uncovered a new Brunei after this round table.

This is a meaningful round table as this is the first gathering in Brunei for the APLFD in its 58-year history. Most significantly, the meeting has promoted our members’ understanding of their neighbouring country, which even small and quiet, but still is a land with wonders when you come to know it.