By Nadia Vong, TIME
Published: 20 Mar 2019 - 11:50 AM
Global Counter Terrorism Forum
In the first half section of the second ARF session on terrorism and transnational crime, countries discussed the first four agendas proposed. These included the improvement of border security, intelligence sharing, management of money laundering and cybercrime.
In the previous session, the committee outlined the urgency in combating terrorism. All agreed that countries needed to cooperate closely to prevent or stop terrorism activities from occurring in the region which South Korea had stated that “prevention is better than cure”. All delegates also agreed that terrorism would harm the countries economically and socially but identified that inadequate joint-efforts were done.
At the start of the second session, countries moved on to discuss the improvement of border security. Different countries proposed ideas to strengthen the cooperation domestically and between countries. China, who claimed that she had done well in this area was willing to provide help for other countries. The measures included experts providing training for law-enforcement agencies, anti-corruption initiative and stricter border checks. However, the last measure was opposed by Australia who believed in “conservation of individual’s freedom and rights” and no highly intruding security check should be done. All in all, delegates agreed that the improvement of technology and training of checkpoints were necessary.
Next, the countries proceeded on to the discussion about intelligence sharing which all believed are one of the best ways to tackle the issues of money laundering and cybercrime. Countries expressed their stances that intelligence sharing was a good way to track the money flow of suspicious bank account to prevent money from going towards the funding of terrorist activities and to track down extremist propaganda through social media.
Yet, countries were not able to come to a consensus on how intelligence sharing should be carried out. Some countries such as South Korea and Singapore believed that an organisation or platform such as Certified Information Systems Auditor should be set up to provide a database for involved countries to access to more effectively track down suspected terrorist activities.
On the other hand, China believed that anti-corruption initiative was the most important measure countries should focus on. They stated that this initiative was a success in China which helped in immediate suspension of money laundering at a local level. However, this measure was questioned by Vietnam in terms of the fairness and effectiveness because some auditors were also corrupted and how to make sure that terrorism was dealt in a fair manner if countries themselves were already against certain groups of people.
Furthermore, China expressed its willingness to export parts of its invented firewall to other countries. They elaborated that China’s firewall was one of the safest in the world because it restricted uses of certain social media which were a breeding ground of terrorist propaganda. This idea was strongly opposed by the delegate from the United States of America because they believed that this measure would increase the unhappiness of the citizens as their choices of social media were restricted. The USA stated that there would be a better way to solve this issue such as through public education to raise awareness of young people as mentioned by Vietnam.
As the first part of the second ARF session on terrorism ended, countries recognised that there was no “one-size-fits-all” solution. The council will continue to discuss further prevention of terrorism which includes rehabilitation, identifying root causes and raising public awareness of terrorism. They are also expected to come out with a resolution by the end of the next council session.