How Apec member nations are stepping up fight against terror
CLARK, Philippines— The 21 member economies of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) are bolstering their anti-terrorism defenses to ensure security and stability in the Asia-Pacific region.
“Apec members are strengthening capacity in the Asia-Pacific region to fight terrorism and ensure the security of our people and our economies,” Oscar Valenzuela, chair of the Apec Counter-Terrorism Working group said in a statement.
Valenzuela said coordination among member economies is underway as terrorism continues to elevate risks in the Asia-Pacific region.
“We continue to see a rise in the spread of violent extremism worldwide,” he said.
Valenzuela said the brutal death of two Japanese hostages by the Islamic State group signals an increased threat in the region.
He said the new developments in technology and communications are posing new counter-terrorism challenges that put lives and livelihoods at risk, citing “it is critical to move swiftly to address these advances.”
The Apec official pointed the importance of aligning government policies of member economies as well as with existing anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism regimes to clamp down the financing of terrorists.
He said a stepped up cooperation “to boost relevant prosecutorial and law enforcement capacities in the region.
According to him, discussion on travel-related aspects of increasing terrorist flows is also underway among Apec member economies.
“The movement of terrorist recruits traveling to and from other regions around the world could have an impact on the Asia-Pacific,” he said.
A “Major Events Security Framework,” he said, is also being developed to provide a direct channel for information and experience sharing among Apec members to support all related stages of planning for events such as the visit of Pope Francis to the Philippines.
“Cooperation on the framework comes as Russia prepares to host the 2018 Fifa World Cup and Japan for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo,” he said.
“The Asia-Pacific is playing host to major events with increasing frequency and that means greater exposure to threats,” he added.
Beginning January 26, the various technical groups and committees that report to the Apec senior officials have met to discuss initiatives, policies and capacity-building strategies that advance Apec’s objectives.
The Apec Senior Officials’ Meeting runs from Jan. 26 to Feb. 7 at the Clark and Subic freeport zones.
Apec has 21 member economies, namely Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, People’s Republic of China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Republic of South Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Republic of the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Chinese Taipei (Taiwan), Thailand, the United States, and Vietnam.
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