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Japan, ASEAN deepen anti-terror cooperation

Japan and Southeast Asian nations deepened cooperation against terrorism Tuesday, with plans to cut off funding for terror groups and strengthen immigration controls to stop militants crossing borders. Leaders of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and Japan adopted an anti-terror plan at a summit in the Laotian capital saying the “threat of terrorism remains a global security concern.” They said it was important to work together to “prevent, disrupt and combat international terrorism through information exchange, intelligence sharing and capacity-building.” Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and his Southeast Asian counterparts agreed to boost measures to “counter and prevent the financing of terrorists and terrorist organisations, and the use of alternative means of remittance such as illegal money transfer.” Terrorism is a major concern among ASEAN members, after a series of deadly attacks mainly in Indonesia blamed on the Jemaah Islamiyah regional terror group linked to the Al-Qaeda network. The Philippines says Abu Sayyaf militants in its south are also linked to Al-Qaeda, while Thailand is battling an insurgency in its Muslim provinces that has claimed about 550 lives this year. The plan adopted by Japan and ASEAN says they will strengthen immigration controls to stop militants moving across borders, and enhance law enforcement cooperation, including extradition, “to bring terrorists to justice.” They will also “implement appropriate measures so that terrorists will not use charitable organisations and groups to cover their activities.” And they planned to enhance aviation and shipping security to avert attacks. Japan also urged all ASEAN members to accede to United Nations conventions and protocols relating to terrorism.Full Story

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