South Korea's spy agency said Tuesday it is preparing to form a cooperative body with Asian countries next year to help crack down on growing drug-related crimes in the region.
The National Intelligence Service (NIS) said discussions are still ongoing with five countries, including Thailand, with the aim of launching the body next February. The names of the countries have not been released yet.
"Drug-related crimes in South Korea have been on the rise and international drug rings in the Asia Pacific region are creeping into the country, which not only infringes on people's livelihoods but threatens national security," the agency said.
The NIS plans to share information on drug crimes with the member countries and jointly trace drug distribution chains via the multilateral partnership, it added.
According to the agency, the number of convicted drug offenders arrested in South Korea stood at 20,230 as of September this year, already exceeding the all-time high of 18,395 tallied last year. (Yonhap)