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5/5/03 - COMBATING TERRORISM IN ASIA - 2003-05-05

The war against terrorism is global. In November, the ten member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations strengthened their resolve to fight terrorism. Since then, the ASEAN countries have tightened financial controls, improved border controls, and increased protection of trade routes. And, said U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, “Countries that once had reservations about intelligence sharing, are now among the strongest advocates”:

“Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia have cracked terrorist cells. China has cooperated with us bilaterally and as a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council to pass those necessary resolutions that will implement the international will with respect to terrorism, including the historic resolution that is the foundation for all that we do, resolution thirteen-seventy-three.”

Mr. Powell said that authorities in Indonesia have arrested many of the terrorists responsible for the October 2002 bombing in Bali:

“All of the ASEAN countries and others joined in asking the United Nations to designate that group, Jemaah Islamiyah, as a terrorist organization. Even as we cooperate bilaterally with the countries of the region, we are working hard to bolster regional forums and help focus the efforts of these forums on terrorism and other transnational challenges.”

Jemaah Islamiyah is an extremist Muslim group that has been linked to al-Qaida. By cracking down on Jemaah Islamiah and other terrorists groups, the countries of Asia are making their region a safer place for their citizens.