Mekong joint security agreement reached

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BEIJING, Oct. 31 (UPI) — China, Myanmar, Thailand and Laos agreed to joint security operation on the Mekong River following the recent deaths of 13 Chinese sailors, China Daily said.

Officials from all four countries, who met in Beijing, agreed to enhance law enforcement on the river, where drug and weapons smuggling has increased, the report said.

The illegal activities have resulted in frequent armed robberies, endangering shipping, the Chinese Public Security Ministry said.

“It’s necessary for law enforcement agencies to strengthen cooperation and take effective measures,” the ministry said.

The report said 13 Chinese sailors on two cargo vessels were shot with their hands tied behind their back on the Mekong River in the Oct. 5 incident. Nine alleged suspects have surrendered to authorities in Thailand, the report said.

The joint agreement called for establishing a security mechanism for the river that will include sharing of intelligence and joint patrols.

The 3,032-mile long Mekong is the longest river in Southeast Asia, and is an important shipping route for countries in the region.

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