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The 14th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Transnational Crime (AMMTC) held virtually for the first time due to COVID-19

Malie Nguyen Malie Nguyen

Dieuhuong270198@gmail.com

November 25, 2020 | 18:43

On November 25, 2020, in Hanoi, the press conference on the 14th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Transnational Crime (AMMTC 14) took place. The meeting, themed "Cohesive and Proactively Adaptive ASEAN in preventing and fighting against transnational crimes”, will be held online for the first time due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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The 14th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Transnational Crime will take place on November 25 and 26, Deputy Minister of Public Security Le Tan Toi said.

This is the most important international cooperation event hosted by the Vietnamese Ministry of Public Security in Vietnam’s 2020 ASEAN Chairmanship. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ministry of Public Security discussed with ASEAN member nations and decided to organize the unprecedently online meeting.

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On November 25, 2020, in Hanoi, the press conference on the 14th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Transnational Crime (AMMTC 14) took place.

The meeting aims to fulfill the responsibilities of Vietnam as a member of ASEAN, contributing to the overall success of the country’s 2020 ASEAN Chairmanship. At the same time, it affirms the role and responsibility, strong political commitment as well as proactiveness of Vietnam in international cooperation on transnational crime prevention and control. Thereby, enhancing the nation’s prestige and position as in 2020 it assumes the important duties as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council as well as Chairman of AIPA 41 and ASEAN.

Held right after the 37th ASEAN Summit, AMMTC 14 serves as an occasion for the Ministers in charge of transnational crime prevention of the ASEAN member countries to affirm their strong political commitment in implementing documents adopted at the 37th ASEAN Summit, contributing to carrying out the "dual goals" of promoting the development and controlling the pandemic.

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Deputy Minister of Public Security Le Tan Toi speaks at the press conference.

At AMMTC 14, the Ministry of Public Security is slated to propose three initiatives aiming to assert Vietnam's active role and responsibility in the cooperation mechanism in the prevention and fight against transnational crime in the region.

The first initiative is proposing the AMMTC 14’s theme of "Cohesive and Proactively Adaptive ASEAN in preventing and fighting against transnational crimes”.

The second initiative is suggesting to establish a direct communication channel at the Ministerial level in the AMMTC mechanism, aiming at boosting the information exchange and coordination to promptly handle issues on ensuring security in the region.

The third initiative is bringing the content of transnational crime prevention and control amidst the COVID-19 pandemic into the Joint Declaration of AMMTC 14 in order to stress the negative impacts of the pandemic on the increase in transnational crimes as well as to affirm countries’ efforts in implementing the duo goals of containing the epidemic and cooperating on preventing and fighting against transnational crimes, contributing to a peaceful, secure and stable region.

Besides, the Vietnamese Ministry of Public Security has also proactively developed five projects asking for aid from ASEAN Partners which focuses on cooperation on prevention and battle against transnational crimes such as human trafficking especially women and children; telecommunication fraud, and wildlife smuggling.

AMMTC 14 will consist of the preparatory session of the Senior Officials Meeting on Transnational Crime (SOMTC), the opening ceremony, and the plenary session of the AMMTC 14.

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The overview of the press conference on AMMTC 14 on the morning of November 25.

On the afternoon of November 25, Lieutenant General Nguyen Thanh Son, Director of the Foreign Relations Department under the Ministry of Public Security, who is also the head of Vietnam's delegation to the SOMTC will preside over the preparatory session of the SOMTC. The preparatory session will witness the attendance of the Heads of ASEAN member states to SOMTC and the ASEAN Secretariat. It will review and agree on the contents, programs, and documents to submit to the Ministers of ASEAN countries at the plenary session of AMMTC 14.

At 8 a.m on November 26, the opening ceremony the AMMTC 14 will be held. Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc is expected to attend and deliver a keynote speech. Representatives from nine Embassies of ASEAN member countries in Vietnam as well as representatives of relevant Vietnamese ministries, branches, and units of the Ministry of Public Security will also attend the opening ceremony.

Immediately after the opening ceremony, General To Lam, Minister of Public Security will chair the plenary session of the AMMTC 14. The delegates will jointly evaluate how the situations in the region and the world could affect the transnational crime developments, discuss solutions to promote the implementation of the goals set out in the ASEAN Action Plan on the prevention and fight against transnational crime for the period 2016-2025 as well as approve documents on initiatives of member countries in the AMMTC mechanism. At the end of the plenary session, Ministers of ASEAN countries will also adopt the Joint Declaration of the AMMTC 14.

The inaugural AMMTC was held in 1997 in the Philippines. The Vietnamese Ministry of Public Security officially joined the AMMTC mechanism in 2004 and hold the 5th AMMTC in 2005. The year 2020 is the second time that the Vietnamese Ministry of Public Security has hosted such a meeting.

AMMTC, which is considered as one of the most central and comprehensive cooperation mechanisms in the prevention and fight against transnational crime in the region, serves as ASEAN’s political-security pillar of the ASEAN Community. The commitment to combating transnational crimes under the frameworks of AMMTC and SOMTC was focused on eight areas namely counter-terrorism, illicit drug trafficking, trafficking in persons, arms smuggling, sea piracy, money laundering, international economic crime, and cybercrime.

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Malie Nguyen