Saturday, August 2, 2014

Asean to look into boosting security ties ahead of AEC

The Nation - August 2, 2014
Supalak Ganjanakhundee

Ministers will seek knowledge on border control from partners like EU and the US

Asean will explore the ways and means of strengthening cooperation in order to tackle new, non-traditional security threats at the annual ministerial meeting in Nay Pyi Taw next week, an official said yesterday. 

The grouping has enhanced regional integration and connectivity over the past few years and is about to build an economic community by the end of next year. However, Asean needs to be aware of the negative impacts of this connectivity and integration, warned Arthayudh Srisamoot, director of the Thai Foreign Ministry's Asean Affairs Department. 

The negative side of the connectivity and integration includes transnational crimes, human trafficking, migration, trans-border disease and environmental problems, he said.

Asean foreign ministers will also have a chance to meet dialogue partners from other parts of the world, including the European Union and the United States, which have experience in border control, he said. 

In this regard, Thailand will play an active role in forging cooperation and will, with China, co-chair the Asean Regional Forum's Inter-Sessional Meeting on Counter-Terrorism and Transnational Crime in 2015, he said.

Thailand will also host a regional conference on August 25 and 26 on the future of security in the Asia-Pacific region. 

At the forum, academics and experts will discuss trans-border issues and threats, he said. 

The forum will also discuss emerging challenges, promoting conflict management and enhancing cooperation in maritime areas, Arthayudh added.

At the Nay Pyi Taw meeting, Asean members will also discuss among themselves and with dialogue partners several regional and global issues including the Middle East, North Africa, and Ukraine crises, notably the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, as well as the situations in Northeast Asia and the South China Sea, he said.

Foreign Ministry permanent secretary Sihasak Phuangketkeow, who is also acting foreign minister, will represent Thailand at the Asean meeting, where he will meet his counterparts from the grouping as well as from dialogue partners such as China, Australia and North Korea. 

Basically, Sihasak will seek other countries' understanding over the Thai political development, Arthayudh said. 

At the meeting with the North Korean minister, views will be exchanged about the situation in the Korean Peninsula that the international community and Asean countries are concerned about, he said.

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