ASEAN, Australia sign MoU on counter-terrorism

ASEAN, Australia sign MoU on counter-terrorism

ASEAN, Australia sign MoU on counter-terrorism

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and Australia reject protectionism, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and his Singapore counterpart said on Friday, amid fears about a possible trade war sparked by USA plans to raise tariffs on steel and aluminium imports.

Australia has been helping Southeast Asian states deal with terrorist financing and counter violent extremism.

"We need to share intelligence in order to track terror to its source", Turnbull said.

Australia and the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) agreed today to join forces to fight terrorism and violence, at a special summit held here.

The document features various initiatives and framework agreements covering engineering, anti-terrorism law building, regional dialogues and seminars on electronic evidence, financial intelligence and ways to tackle online radicalisation. The more united we are, the more effective we will be in combating this awful and inhumane scourge.

"The more we work together on these issues, the more successful we will be. I believe that this is our main battle ground? to win the hearts and minds of our youths especially through social media, so that they are not easily succumbed by the warped and perverse ideology of Daesh, which is the antithesis of true Islamic teachings that protect the sanctity of all human lives, regardless of religion", he said.

He said that to address the issue of apps which allow extremists to operate clandestinely, Canberra planned to introduce legislation to strengthen agencies' ability to adapt to encryption.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has been criticized for welcoming some of the leaders to his hometown, including Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi and Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, who have been singled out by protesters.

"That's why we're here, to fulfill our most important duty, to keep our people safe".

Asked whether the ASEAN meeting was a direct counter to China's growing interest in the region, Bishop said Australia believed the bloc brought it "peace, stability and security".

SYDNEY - Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on Saturday announced Australia would provide an investment of AU$30 million (US$23.4 million) to support "smart cities" in Southeast Asia.

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, the chairman of Asean this year, said he feared USA moves to protect domestic industries put countries "under pressure to retaliate".

While Australia has expressed its willingness to help enhance regional security and prosperity at the Asean-Australia Special Summit, Thailand expects the strategic partnership to turn a new page, according to deputy government spokesman Werachon Sukondhapatipak.

This is the first time Australia has hosted Asean.

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