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'ASEAN Plus 3' Pledge to Combat Transnational Terror - 2004-01-10


Senior officials from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, along with China, South Korea and Japan, have pledged to work more closely to combat transnational terrorism and crime.

It was ASEAN Plus Three - the Association of Southeast Asian Nations along with the three East Asian giants. They met in Bangkok on Saturday to look for ways to deal with the growing problems of transnational crime in the region.

Ministers from the various Asian nations vowed to improve communication and enhance intelligence sharing, especially against the growing threat of terrorism in the region.

Ong Keng Yong, Secretary-General of ASEAN, stressed that communication among countries needs to be more up to date and more comprehensive if terrorism is to be contained.

"Generally speaking, there is a lot of information out there and we hope to improve the way we process this information, and from the effective processing of this information we can deal with the criminals as well as those terrorists threats," he said.

Pongthep Thepkanjana, the Thai minister of justice, says Asian countries need to speed up legal cooperation, through mutual assistance in criminal matters and extradition treaties.

"In summary, ASEAN, with the cooperation of the Plus Three countries, need more speed, more coordination on how to carry out common measures, more action with our dialogue partners, more innovation to overcome differences, and more education for our people," he said.

The meeting focused on all manner of regional crime, including terrorism, money laundering, sea piracy, cyber crime, and the smuggling of drugs, arms and human beings.

ASEAN comprises Brunei, Burma, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

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