Ministry of Interior secretary of state Sok Phal led a Cambodian delegation to a recent ASEAN Plus Three consultation meeting in Indonesia. The conference focused on cooperation in the fight against transnational crime, and aimed to strengthen the management of work between partner countries more effectively.

“The 17th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Transnational Crime was held on August 22, in Labuan Bajo, Indonesia. It was attended by representatives of the ASEAN member states, along with the ‘Plus Three’ dialogue partners – China, South Korea and Japan,” said a ministry statement.

During the summit, attendees exchanged views on joint cooperation against transnational crime and suggested mechanisms which could strengthen cooperation between the ASEAN bloc and its partner nations more effectively.

Following the meeting, Phal participated in the transfer ceremony of the 18th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Transnational Crime. Laos will assume the rotating ASEAN chair for 2024, and will host next year’s summit.

Phal also met with Chinese Minister of Public Security Wang Xiaohong, with both sides expressing their appreciation for the excellent relations and cooperation they have shared over the years.

They also pledged to enhance cooperation against transnational crime through regional mechanisms such as the Mekong-Lancang Cooperation (MLC).

Kin Phea, director of the Royal Academy of Cambodia’s International Relations Institute, described the consultation meeting as an important multilateral mechanism to address traditional security issues regarding transnational crime.

“Dialogue partners such as China, South Korea and Japan all have the potential to support cooperation within the ASEAN framework,” he said.

“Cooperation to combat transnational crime has generally been strong, as it is a common issue that needs to be addressed, and requires multilateral mechanisms to do so,” he added.

He explained that in terms of regional security, major transnational crimes require countries to work together.

“No single nation can totally prevent them; it requires multilateralism,” he said.