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Xinhua Insight: Capture of Mekong murder suspect example of effective cooperation (2)

(Xinhua)

11:09, May 12, 2012

INT'L COOPERATION NEEDED

"Since reviewing the Oct. 5 incident, we have learned that drug control cannot be conducted purely through domestic efforts," Hu said. "International cooperation is the solution to drug control."

Liu Zhi, director of the international relations institute of Yunnan University, said the drug economy in the "Golden Triangle" has a history of more than 100 years.

In recent decades, the drug trade has encroached on China's borders, with more drug harvesting areas being set up near Yunnan province since the mid-1980s.

In 1998, Chinese authorities made efforts to help local people plant alternative crops instead of poppies, helping to decrease the overall drug harvesting area.

"Joint efforts should be made by the international community to transform the region's economy and help it realize sustainable development," Liu suggested.

A cooperative mechanism used by China, Laos, Myanmar and Thailand has been established to help crack down on cross-border drug trafficking, allowing authorities to successfully uncover a series of offenses.

China will deepen cooperation with countries near the "Golden Triangle" and jointly carry out law enforcement to destroy drug gangs and networks in the area, Chinese police said.

"China must strengthen cooperation and communication with neighboring countries to protect legal rights for overseas Chinese," said Wang Fangrong, chief of the public security bureau of Yunnan's Xishuangbanna prefecture, a frontline in the country's efforts to combat the drug trade.

"The Mekong River basin cannot develop through the efforts of just a single country," Wang added.

NEW COOPERATIVE MODEL

On Dec. 10 last year, business returned to Guanlei county, a port on the Mekong River that borders Myanmar. Traffic on an international route on the river resumed more than two months after the Oct. 5 incident.

The resumption of the route resurrected the long-standing issue of how to protect the safety of Chinese nationals abroad.

China responded promptly after the incident occurred. The Ministry of Public Security called together a special investigation task force and sent investigators to Thailand to work on the case with police there.

Later, China held several security conferences with Laos, Thailand and Myanmar. At a conference on Oct. 31, the four countries agreed to establish a mechanism for cooperation in security and law enforcement. At another conference on Nov. 26, an agreement was reached to kick off joint patrols and law enforcement on the Mekong River starting mid-December. So far, the countries have conducted three successful joint patrols.

"After the tragedy, scores of sailors transferred to other trades, but now I want to tell them they can sail with ease on the Mekong River as a result of the joint patrols," said Huang Xingqiang, the brother of one of the victims of the Oct. 5 incident.

Shipping companies and local residents alike have mentioned a renewed sense of security since the establishment of the patrols, with international shipping and tourism returning to their previous states.

"Maintaining stability and security is a common wish of people living along the Mekong River and is in the common interests and duties of the four countries on the river," said Khamvan, commander of a Laos patrol ship.

Prof. Liu pointed out the incident indicates that cooperation between countries on the river should bolster not only economics, but also security.

Myanmar, Thailand, and Laos have put forward a joint proposal to crack down on the trafficking of weapons and drugs, kidnapping and the establishment of illegal armed groups.

An officer from China's investigative task force for the Oct. 5 incident said the joint patrols were "instrumental" in the arrest of Naw Kham and his cohorts, adding that China will continue to deepen international security cooperation.

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