With the threat of attack from ISIS only increasing, six countries from Southeast Asia and Oceania met this weekend to discuss how they can better work together to deal with what they see as an imminent threat.
Security ministers and experts from Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Brunei, the Philippines and Indonesia met in Indonesia under the shadow of Islamic-State activity on their doorstep.
In the case of the Philippines, ISIS already has a stranglehold via its local affiliate in Marawi, a city in the country’s south. At least 600 people have been killed in fighting there, including many Christians.
“We cannot keep silent because terrorism has become a real threat to humanity,” host Security Minister Wiranto, who uses one name, told a news conference. “Not a single country is free from the threat of terrorism and therefore this threat must be faced together.”
The six agreed to beef up their intelligence cooperation.
The area of Southeast Asia and Oceania is particularly challenging to security forces because of its massive geographical area, the enormous stretches of water between states and the thousands of islands that comprise many of the countries in the region, particularly Indonesia and the Philippines.