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Joint crime fighting due with ASEAN
( 2003-08-26 08:07) (China Daily)

China's Ministry of Public Security and its Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) counterparts are to map out medium- and long-term programmes to enhance co-operation against transnational crime, said representatives attending a workshop in Beijing yesterday.

China and ASEAN will increase exchanges in terms of politics, trade and economics and personnel, Meng Hongwei, assistant minister of public security, told yesterday's opening ceremony.

At the same time, the two sides are working harder in the fight against transnational crime, he added.

The workshop provides an opportunity to deepen the friendship and mutual understanding between the law-enforcement departments of ASEAN and China, said Krerkphong Pukprayura, commander of the General Staff Division of Thailand's Immigration Bureau.

"We can gain a collective ability to communicate and co-ordinate so that, in the future, no country will be a safe haven for cross-border criminals,'' he said. "We must be able to establish freer channels of communication while we are each enforcing our capacity to combat transnational crime.''

Relations between China and ASEAN have developed harmoniously and stably, said Zhao Jianhua, a Chinese foreign ministry official.

"Meanwhile, transnational problems -- which will increase due to globalization and exchanges of personnel -- should be dealt with through transnational co-operation.''

In the past few years, many transnational criminal cases have been cracked through bilateral and multilateral co-operation between China and ASEAN member countries, Meng said.

In November last year, China and ASEAN issued a joint co-operative declaration on non-traditional security, marking a new page in their fight against transnational crime, officials said at the time.

According to the declaration, the two sides will work together to combat drug trafficking, illegal immigration, piracy, terrorism, weapons smuggling, money laundering and Internet crime.

During the Beijing workshop, representatives will exchange views on how to perfect a mechanism for co-operative law enforcement, how to exchange intelligence information and how to strengthen personnel training.

In another development, the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime -- which was signed by China on December 12, 2000 -- is on the agenda of the ongoing fourth session of the 10th National People's Congress Standing Committee.

The convention establishes the principle of accelerating co-operation to effectively prevent and crack down on transnationally organized crime, as well as outlining what action signatory states should take and other regulations.

Chen Zexian, a researcher with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said China has always taken seriously the fight against transnational crime, including the fight against terrorism.

"China had held symposiums in the past with the European Union and Russia in this field,'' Chen added.

He said China played an active role in the drafting and approval of the UN convention.

The convention was approved at the 55th UN General Assembly on November 15, 2000. It was opened for signing on December 12 that year, on which day Vice-Foreign Minister Wang Guangya signed the convention on behalf of the Chinese Government.

By May 31 this year, 147 countries had signed the convention, which will take effect on September 29.

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