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Senior Chinese leader urges thorough investigation into Mekong River attack


14:19, November 01, 2011

BEIJING, Oct. 31 (Xinhua) -- Senior leader Zhou Yongkang on Monday urged enhanced efforts among China, Laos, Mynamar and Thailand for a thorough investigation into the murder of 13 Chinese sailors on the Mekong River.

Zhou, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, made the appeal during a group meeting with Laotian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Douangchay Phichit, Minister of Home Affairs of Myanmar Ko Ko and Thai Deputy Prime Minister Kowit Wattana.

The foreign ministers gathered in Beijing for a meeting on law enforcement cooperation on the Mekong River.

Hailing the fruitful exchanges that have taken place among the four countries in recent years, Zhou said that upon receiving China's invitation, Laos, Myanmar and Thailand promptly sent their delegations to China for the meeting, demonstrating their commitment to regional security cooperation.

Recalling the Oct. 5 incident, Zhou said the murder of 13 Chinese sailors on the Mekong River evoked great emotion in China. The Chinese government and society strongly condemned the criminals, urging authorities to bring them to justice as soon as possible, he said.

The Chinese sailors were killed in the "Golden Triangle" area, where the borders of Myanmar, Thailand and Laos meet. Shipping on the Mekong River has been suspended after the deadly boat attack.

Zhou said Chinese leaders, including President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao, are highly concerned about the case and have assigned a joint working group and senior officials from the Ministry of Public Security to Thailand to work closely with their Thai counterparts.

He expressed thanks to the governments of the three countries for their attention to the case.

"With our joint efforts, investigation work has achieved significant progress," he said. He called for enhanced coordination among the four parties to conduct a thorough investigation, strictly punish the murderers and give closure to the relatives of the victims.

Zhou said criminal activity on the river has increased in recent years, with extortion, robbery and shootings becoming more frequent.

"These cases, especially the Oct. 5 murder, have severely endangered the security of ships and sailors on the route," he said.

China proposed holding the meeting in order to effectively combat cross-border crime and maintain shipping safety, Zhou said.

"We hope to make joint efforts with concerned parties to set up a joint law enforcement and security mechanism, enhance information exchanges, carry out joint patrols and create conditions for resuming shipping along the Mekong River as soon as possible," he said.

The three ministers vowed closer coordination with China during the investigation and to bring the criminals to justice as early as possible.

They affirmed the necessity and timeliness of the meeting amid the grim security situation on the river. They pledged to enhance coordination with China for the early establishment of a joint law enforcement and security mechanism and to jointly maintain security along the river.

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