China and Southeast Asian countries promised to combat crime together.
Prosecutors-General from China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) on Friday pledged utmost efforts to provide mutual legal assistance in combating crime.
A joint statement signed by the 10 ASEAN countries and China at the end of the two-day China-ASEAN Prosecutors-General Conference promised to earnestly implement legal assistance and extradition treaties already signed between China and ASEAN countries as well as procuratorial cooperation agreements.
Procuratorates in China and ASEAN countries will work together on investigations, evidence collection, arrests and extraditions as well as returns of illegal gains, it said.
The joint statement is a significant step for both China and ASEAN particularly in fighting terrorism and cross-border crime, said Thai Attorney-General Rawat Chamchalerm.
The prosecutors-general promised closer cooperation in the battle against terrorism, illegal drugs and weapons trafficking, human smuggling, money laundering, Internet crimes and corruption.
They agreed to set up a mechanism for direct procuratorial cooperation in the border regions.
"The joint statement has... shown our determination to earnestly carry out our duties as prosecutors, join hands in curbing crime and safeguard the security, stability and development of the region," said Jia Chunwang, procurator-general of the Supreme People's Procuratorate.
China has been expanding its ties with the ASEAN countries. A declaration it signed with ASEAN members in October last year pledged to set up a new strategic partnership, which can be translated into closer political ties, increasing trade and more exchanges in various fields.
Next year's conference for prosecutors-general from China and ASEAN countries will be held in Thailand.
(China Daily July 10, 2004)