Joint efforts to deal with transnational crime should be stepped up by members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, according to experts who attended a forum on the subject.
“ASEAN is one of the most dynamic and promising regions in the world,” said Hu Binchen, deputy director of the International Cooperation Department at the Ministry of Public Security.
He pointed to the potential of the Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st Century Maritime Silk Road initiatives proposed by China, but said opportunities always come with challenges. “We also need to be clear-minded that the region is facing severe challenges on transnational crime, including border safety, illicit drugs, human trafficking and the pursuit of criminals,” he said.
“These greatly undermine the stability and economic development of the region.”
China has called for the creation of new practical cooperation models to crack down on transnational crime, such as establishing a joint team to deal with major cases, Hu said.
He was one of the delegates at the 13th ASEAN Regional Forum Inter-Sessional Meeting on Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime, which took place in Nanning, capital of the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, and ended on Friday.
Luo Yanping, a senior official at the ministry’s Border Control Department, said China works closely with other countries and international organizations, and has established a liaison mechanism with neighboring states to counter human trafficking and enforce anti-drug laws.
Ministry figures show that since 2012, the department has arrested 28,000 illegal immigrants who arrived from neighboring countries. It has dealt with more than 9,800 cases involving drugs, arresting more than 12,000 suspects and seizing 19.5 metric tons of illegal substances.
The ASEAN Regional Forum met for the first time in 1994 and has developed into a platform for consultation with the aim of preventing conflicts in the Asia-Pacific region.
Cherdkiat Atthakor, deputy director of the Department of ASEAN Affairs at Thailand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, co-chaired the meeting in Nanning. He said counterterrorism and dealing with transnational crime is not a task for one nation, but requires cooperation among all the countries in the region as well as international organizations.
Thailand gave advice on sharing data to control illegal immigration and transnational crimes.
Hurry Sudradjat, an official at Indonesia’s Counterterrorism Agency, agreed that transnational crime has become a serious issue that requires wide-ranging solutions.
“International cooperation is an effective way to crack down on drug trafficking,” he said. “A future without drugs is the future for ASEAN.”
Guangxi suffers more from transnational crime than other parts of China.
Peng Shunke, director of the International Cooperation Division of Guangxi’s Public Security Department, said regional cooperation should be increased to deal with the problem.
Huo Yan contributed to this story.