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China, ASEAN step up war against drugs
By Jiang Zhuqing (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-10-21 05:46

China and its neighbours in Southeast Asia vowed yesterday to further strengthen their co-operative efforts in fighting against illicit drugs, especially the increasing menace of amphetamine type stimulants (ATS).

This consensus was reached at the Second International Congress of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and China Co-operative Operations in Response to Dangerous Drugs (ACCORD), which concluded yesterday in Beijing.

"ASEAN countries and China are both victims of illicit drugs," said Zhou Yongkang, minister of public security, at the ministerial level meeting of the ACCORD congress.

Instant efforts are required because new types of illicit drugs such as ATS are proliferating, producing strong social problems, including the generation of drug-related HIV/AIDS cases.

Considering its growing influence in the region, China should play a leading role in the campaign against illicit drugs, said Antonio Maria Costa, executive director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), at a press conference after the meeting.

To deal with the new challenges, the congress endorsed the initiative on joint action against ATS-related crimes, which was proposed by the Chinese delegation.

The abuse of ATS in this region has spread rapidly, especially among young people, officials said. The majority of global ATS seizures occur in the region, including 80 per cent of all methamphetamine hauls.

International law enforcement co-operation should be used actively to fight against trans-national ATS-related crimes, it said.

In addition, a Beijing Declaration and an updated ACCORD Plan of Action were adopted during the congress, which attracted more than 200 delegates from drug control departments in China, ASEAN, UNODC and other international organizations.

Both documents set up drug control targets, goals and relevant measures in the upcoming three years.

For example, according to the action plan, nations in the region are asked to promulgate effective laws before 2008 that drug-related money laundering should be criminalized as a crime of the most serious level, and all direct and indirect drug-related profits be confiscated.

(China Daily 10/21/2005 page2)

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