[Stop-traffic] News/ASIA: FIGHTING CRIMES A PRIORITY FOR ASIA, EUROPE.

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Subject: [Stop-traffic] News/ASIA: FIGHTING CRIMES A PRIORITY FOR ASIA, EUROPE.
From: Melanie Orhant (morhant@igc.org)
Date: Fri Nov 03 2000 - 08:18:05 EST


10-15-00 ASIA: FIGHTING CRIMES A PRIORITY FOR ASIA, EUROPE.
By GRACE SUNG.
Member states of the Asia-Europe meeting will discuss plans to combat
corruption, money laundering and human trafficking in Seoul next week

BRUSSELS - Europe and Asia will next week set out priorities - including
collective efforts to combat transnational crimes such as human trafficking
- to carry forward their relationship in the next decade.
Member states of the Asia-Europe meeting (Asem) are expected to announce
various initiatives at their summit in Seoul next week (Oct 20-21) to fight
corruption and money laundering, as well as the trafficking of children,
women and illegal migrants.
The focus will be on improving networking and information exchange between
the countries.
The training of law enforcement officers in dealing with such crimes will
also be tackled.
"These are concrete initiatives. If the leaders manage to pass the message,
people will feel that they talk about real problems and not just about
making the world a better place," said Mr Michael Reiterer, adviser on Asem
at the European Commission, one of the summit participants.
Human trafficking is a particularly topical issue.
The problem was highlighted tragically in June when 58 Chinese nationals
were found dead in a truck while being smuggled into Britain.
"It is a problem between Asia and Europe, within Asia and within Europe. It
concerns all of us," Mr Reiterer told The Straits Times.
The Commission is keen to build on the Asem process, but also to make it
more relevant to the public.
In a working document earlier this year, it said that Asem might lose
momentum if it could not confirm and maintain its "clear relevance to
public and business interests".
Said Mr Reiterer: "Many lines of communication are now open because of
Asem. But we are not happy with just that. We want to reach out further to
civil society and put a human face to the Asia-Europe relationship."
The proposals that will be put forward in Seoul include projects to narrow
the digital divide, facilitate trade, improve links between research
networks and boost science and technological cooperation in forestry and
sustainable development.
In an effort to defuse the fears and negative sentiments against
globalisation, a round table on the issue will be set up.
Opinion leaders and non-governmental bodies will be invited to participate
in discussions about the economic and political impact of globalisation.
The heads of state will also endorse plans to increase the number of
student exchanges and scholarship schemes between the two regions.
It is understood that no decisions will be taken in Seoul on increasing
Asem membership.
Although there is no set agenda for the political dialogue sessions, the
leaders are expected to discuss wide-ranging issues, from the situation on
the Korean peninsula to the EU's institutional reforms.
They will adopt a declaration for peace on the Korean Peninsular and the
Asia-Europe Cooperation Framework 2000, which will lay down the principles
and goals for Asem in the next decade.
Mr Reiterer said Europe wanted to send a clear message to Asia at the
upcoming summit: "Despite the concentration on our internal reforms, it is
not our intention to turn inward-looking or protectionist.
"Asia is an important partner and we want to continue the relationship on
an equal basis."
(c) 2000 Singapore Press Holdings Limited.
STRAITS TIMES 15/10/2000
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