Delegates from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) on Tuesday gathered in Lao capital for the opening of the 9th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Transnational Crime.
The meeting, attended by Lao Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong, aims to revise the outcomes of the 8th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Transnational Crime (AMMTC) and determine future cooperation on fighting transnational crime in eight key areas.
"Transnational crime is one of the challenges threatening peace and stability, and affecting socio-economic development in the region and the world. One country alone cannot curb and eliminate it,"Thammavong said in his opening remarks.
"Concrete cooperation among ASEAN member states, specifically active and harmonious authorities and dialogue partners are essential in order to tackle these challenges."
Illicit drug trafficking, trafficking in persons, arms smuggling, economic crime, fraudulent travel documents and illegal immigration, cyber crime, sea piracy and money laundering are all on the agenda for the four-day meeting.
Lao Minister of Public Security Thongbanh Sengaphone, in his opening address, said the meeting would also be a chance to engage and cooperate with ASEAN's dialogue partners.
"The AMMTC serves as a forum to cooperate, exchange views on recent developments concerning the prevention and eradication of transnational crime as well as possibilities for capacity building between ASEAN and its dialogue partners," Sengaphone said.
Tuesday's ceremony also marked the opening of the 6th AMMTC+3, the 3rd AMMTC+China and the 1st AMMTC plus Japan, which will run parallel to the AMMTC schedule.
The AMMTC is held once every two years on a rotational basis. The 8th AMMTC was held in 2011 in Bali, Indonesia.