ARF workshop seeks to enhance maritime law enforcement hinh anh 1Deputy Foreign Minister Nguyen Quoc Dung speaks at the ARF workshop on enhancing maritime law enforcement which was opened in Nha Trang city on January 18 (Photo: VNA)

Khanh Hoa (VNA) – The ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) workshop on enhancing maritime law enforcement was opened in Nha Trang city, the central province of Khanh Hoa, on January 18 with a view to boosting dialogue to ensure maritime security in the region.

The two-day event is the first activity to implement the ARF Ministerial Statement on Enhancing Cooperation among Maritime Law Enforcement Agencies. It is organised by Vietnam’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Australia and the EU, attracting nearly 80 delegates from 22 countries and international organisations.

Addressing the event, Deputy Foreign Minister Nguyen Quoc Dung mentioned the settlement of challenges to maritime law and order, including the surge of piracy, drug and human trafficking, and illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. 

He also underscored the role of maritime law enforcement forces and the necessity for these agencies to cooperate to control, prevent and respond to those challenges.

Participants in the workshop talked about maritime security challenges in the region and the need for stronger cooperation among maritime law enforcement agencies. They also reviewed maritime law enforcement cooperation in Asia-Pacific and the cooperation principles, scope and measures for the agencies.

They stressed that seas are the artery of international trade, the natural resource for economic development of coastal countries, and the livelihood of coastal residents. Therefore, ensuring maritime security, safety and stability is crucial, especially for the countries and people in the Asian-Pacific region.

Aside from traditional security issues like territorial and maritime disputes, more and more non-traditional security challenges have appeared in seas and oceans, including illegal fishing, destroyed marine environment and ecosystem, and maritime crimes.

Participants shared the view that law enforcement cooperation in the region is part of efforts to ensure maritime security and safety, especially under ASEAN-led mechanisms. However, there remain obstacles to cooperation in this field such as countries’ different mechanisms on maritime law enforcement forces, and maritime and territorial disputes.

They said mutual trust is the prerequisite for good cooperation among maritime law enforcement forces, and this trust is built basing on measures devised at the ARF and other regional mechanisms.

Founded in 1994, the ARF aims to build trust and foster dialogue in the region with ASEAN at the centre. Twenty-seven countries and international organisations have taken part in this forum.-VNA