The Korea Coast Guard has announced its plans to host the 20th Asia Maritime Security Agency Chiefs Meeting in South Korea this year, marking a significant development as it will be the first time the event is held in the country. This initiative is in response to the growing importance of maritime security, aligned with the Indo-Pacific strategy, and aims to strengthen maritime security cooperation among key nations in the Indo-Pacific region.
Established in 2004, the Asia Maritime Security Agency Chiefs Meeting serves as a collaborative organization with the participation of 22 countries in Asia, including Korea, China, Japan, and various Southeast Asian nations. Additionally, the organization includes one region (Hong Kong) and two international organizations, namely ReCAAP-ISC for Asia-Pacific counter-piracy cooperation and UNODC for the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.
The upcoming meeting, scheduled to take place in Incheon in June and September, will be organized into five expert groups. These groups will focus on discussing critical topics such as capacity-building for maritime security agencies in the Asian region, prevention of maritime crime, marine environmental protection, search and rescue operations, and information exchange. The primary objective is to deliberate on collaborative measures to enhance safety and security in maritime environments.
Of particular note is the meeting's emphasis on addressing the pressing issue of drug trafficking through the seas into domestic territories. Member countries plan to enhance practical information exchange, strengthen cooperation, and establish an international collaborative framework among Asian nations.
Kim Jong-wook, the head of the Korea Coast Guard, stated, "Considering that this is the first time Korea is hosting the meeting of Asian maritime security agencies, we are preparing various programs, including promoting Hallyu culture. We aim to share the capabilities of the Korean Coast Guard with Asian nations, actively contribute to strengthening maritime security cooperation with key nations in the Indo-Pacific region, and strive to fulfill our role and responsibilities as a global central nation in the international community."