An anti-terrorism drill (Photo: Jakarta Post)

Jakarta (VNA) – The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) should combine economic integration with deeper integration in the field of security in order to defeat all schemes and activities of the self-claimed Islamic State (IS), said an article published recently on the Jakarta Post.

It noted that the IS once said Southeast Asia will be the next destination for its terrorist activities. Therefore, more than ever, ASEAN member countries need to strengthen solidarity and consensus to become a united front to maintain peace and create a favourable environment for economic growth and bring prosperity for people, the article said.

Looking back at ASEAN’s moves in fighting terrorism, the article recalled that in 2001, ASEAN issued a statement on joint activities to prevent terrorism. The bloc’s member nations have conducted a number of relevant high-level conferences to build counter-terrorism programmes in the region.

The greatest stride of ASEAN in the field is demonstrated by the Treaty on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters (MLA) and the ASEAN Convention on Counter-Terrorism (ACCT).

However, the rising threat posed by IS necessitates closer coordination among ASEAN member nations, the article said, reporting that IS has established relations with more than 60 regional armed organisations and is attempting to move to the Southeast Asian region with the support of those organisations.

The largest attack by IS in the region is said to be the occupation of Marawi city in the Philippines’ Mindanao island since May 23, with 103 persons killed so far.-VNA