(EnergyAsia, Feb 28) — Asia Pacific business leaders, security experts and government representatives met in Incheon, Korea over the weekend to discuss ways to make aviation and maritime transportation safer from the threat of terrorism and piracy.


The Third Annual Secure Trade in the APEC Region (STAR) Conference is seen as one of the major forums for advancing counter terrorism efforts in the APEC region.


General Benjamin P. Defensor, chair of the APEC Counter Terrorism Task Force, said the conference is expected to explore feasible policy guidelines for APEC economies that will be presented to the Leaders of APEC’s 21 Member Economies when they meet in Busan in November.


“Overcoming the terrorist threat has become one of the most important challenges for governments this century,” said General Defensor.


“For APEC overcoming the terrorist threat is a major part of our efforts to promote free trade and the healthy development of the regional economy. The STAR Conference provides an opportunity to ask what business feels is needed to keep passengers and cargo safe while not imposing unnecessary burdens on business.”


The two-day conference included two concurrent forums on aviation security and maritime security.


The Aviation Security Forum covered a range of areas such as baggage screening and procedures regarding the use of air marshals, threats to civil aviation from shoulder launched Man Portable Air Defense System (MANPADS) and best practice for the collection and transmission of advance passenger information.


The Maritime Security forum will cover issues including the implementation of the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code, the development of a container security regime and the protection of sea lane of communications from terrorist threats and acts of piracy.


The speakers at the conference included General Benjamin P. Defensor Jr., Chair of the APEC Counter-Terrorism Task Force (CTTF) and Ambassador for Counter Terrorism from the Philippines Office of the President, Russ Mortenson, GE Security, Inc., Dennis Holley, US Federal Air Marshals Service, Shengkun Ma, deputy director of the Department of Arms Control in the China Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Sang-Soo Kim, Korea Civil Aviation Safety Authority.