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Region's Top Cops Gather in Bali

3-Day Meeting Among ASEAN and Regional Police Officials Discussed New Forms of Cooperation in Fighting Crime.

(5/23/2005) President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono opened the three-day 25th Annual ASEAN Chiefs of National Police Conference (ASEANPOL) on Tuesday, May 17, 2005, at the Bali International Convention Center (BICC) in Nusa Dua.

In his opening remarks, the President praised ASEANPOL for its growing dedication to the exchange of regional information in the battle against drug smuggling, the illegal arms trade, the trafficking in human beings, terrorism, financial and internet-crime, and counterfeiting.

The Need to Exchange Data and Intelligence

In his speech, President Yudhoyono said, "In these times, following the cold war, following the World Trade Center 9-11, and after the Bali bombing - we must create security through the exchange of intelligence among each other. This is different from the situation during the cold war, when each government tried to protect their respective security by hiding information from one another."

The President explained that in days gone by we only knew of security threats in the form of military invasion, ethnic conflicts, nuclear war or other conventional threats. "However," the President warned, "now, we face not only these conventional threats, but we also are engaged in a new form of war with non-conventional threats such as terrorism, the illegal trade in narcotics, the trade in human beings, crimes connected with money laundering and other forms of trans-national crime."

Reflecting on the severe economic hardships visited upon the people of Bali following the October 2002 night spot bombing, Indonesia's President said the threats and consequences of these new forms of crime demand cooperation between national intelligence agencies. Adding the need to remove cultural and racial barriers, he said, "We each need to approach each other in an open fashion, creating a new culture and atmosphere of security that will be condusive to mutual assistance. An atmosphere of mutual respect, without reference to racial differences, regardless if he (our partner) is Chinese, Australian, American, Indonesian, Indian, or Filipino."

ASEAN and Regional Participation at Conference

In addition to attendance by the ranking law enforcement officials of the 10-member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), police officials from China, Japan, South Korean, Australia, New Zealand and East Timor also attended the conference.

Founded in 1981, ASEANPOL meets each year to enhance inter-regional cooperation between police agencies.