China will strengthen cooperation with regional and international organizations to combat the trafficking and smuggling of human beings.
Greater efforts will also be made to stem illegal migration, said Liu Jieyi, deputy director-general of the Department of International Organizations and Conferences of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in his opening address at the Workshop on Operational Cooperation to Combat Irregular Migration, Trafficking and Smuggling of Migrants.
Co-organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the workshop attracted more than 90 delegates from 17 countries and regions in Asia and Oceania.
The major topic of the workshop, which runs until Friday, is combating illegal migration through international cooperation, according to Liu.
"Both regional and global irregular migration, trafficking and smuggling of human beings pose grave threats to social stability and give rise to a multitude of social problems,'' Liu said.
Numerous complex factors behind the issue include the unreasonable international political and economic order, socio-economic development differences between nations, organized transnational crime and the different migration policies of different countries, he added.
"The Chinese government has always attached great importance to measures against irregular migration by enhancing legislation, law enforcement, administration and other measures to address the symptoms,'' he said. "Exchanges, consultations and cooperation were also carried out with other countries and relevant international organizations on the basis of mutual respect and quality.''
"Over the past several years, migration, particularly irregular migration, has become one of the major political, economic and social issues,'' said Yorio Tanimura, IOM Senior Regional Advisor for Asia and Oceania.
The rampant irregular migration caused by the process of globalization and technological development can only be managed through cooperation among governments, he said.
He estimated the global human trafficking business was worth US$7 billion last year.
Tanimura said China had done "an excellent job'' in combating illegal migration, such as cracking down on the illegal traffickers known as "snakeheads.''
China became an observer of IOM last week.
This will allow the organization to more effectively combat people smuggling in Asia and around the world, said Tanimura.
Founded in 1951, the IOM now has 86 members and 41 observers.
Participants attending the workshop are also parties to the Manila Process, a framework launched by IOM in 1996 which require members to exchange information and cooperate in the fight against illegal migration.
"Through cooperation and joint efforts by the parties to the Manila Process, new progress and breakthroughs can be made in combating irregular migration, trafficking and smuggling migrants,'' Liu said.
(China Daily 06/12/2001)