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Thai, Malaysian leaders discuss border security, bilateral cooperation

by September 9, 2016 General

BANGKOK, Sept. 9 (Xinhua) — Leaders of Thailand and Malaysia on Friday met in Bangkok with countering extremism as one of their top agendas at the 6th Malaysia-Thailand Annual Consultation.

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, who arrived in Bangkok on Thursday night for a six-day visit, held a closed door meeting with his Thai counterpart Prayut Chan-o-cha.

In a joint statement after the meeting, the two leaders leaders vowed to keeping the 650-kilometer border safe.

The two sides discussed the idea of building a wall at the Thai-Malaysian border, Colonel Yutthanam Petchmuang, a spokesman for Thailand’s Internal Security Operations Command told reporters after the meeting.

“The idea of building a wall at the Thai-Malay border is still at its primitive stage,” said Yutthanam, “Nothing is confirmed yet in terms of logistics. Both leaders shared the idea when they were at the sidelines of the ASEAN Summit in Vientiane.”

Yutthanam added that border security cooperation, measures to combat terrorism, particularly the threat of Islamic State-linked elements and extremists, and a crackdown on human trafficking by sea will be at the top of the agenda during Najib’s visit.

“Both Thailand and Malaysia are committed in rooting out elements linked to the violence in the Deep South. Therefore, we will be converging into issues in areas such as joint border management, cooperation in the fight against transnational crime, human trafficking, cyber security, marine security cooperation, piracy, terrorism and extremism,” said Prayut.

Najib’s visit follows three deadly bomb attacks in southern Thailand over the past month, including a spate of bombs in tourist spots in August that Thai police have linked to Muslim separatists.

The two leaders also discussed enhancing bilateral economic ties.

At the transportation front, Malaysia has proposed a joint project with Thailand that would link the planned high-speed rail line between Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur with the planned high-speed line from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore.

In the joint statement, Najib said Malaysia and Thailand have agreed to boost bilateral trade value to 30 billion U.S. dollars by 2018, an objective he said would create new jobs opportunities in both countries.