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Health Secur 2015;13(6):399-405
Biosecurity risks are an increasing concern in Southeast Asia. An outbreak of infectious disease in the region, whether the result of a deliberate attack, an accidental release, or a natural occurrence, could threaten global commerce. It could also affect the security and stability of US allies and interests along the increasingly contentious South China Sea. In addition to the persistent threat of emerging diseases, porous borders and increased terrorist activity in Southeast Asia are continuing to add to this region's biosecurity concerns. In response to the growing biosecurity risks, it is important for the United States to work with partner nations in the region to build bridges of cooperation, share information, and identify practices to manage and diminish the risks posed by biological threats.
For these reasons, the UPMC Center for Health Security initiated and facilitated a Track II (nonministerial) dialogue between Singapore and the US on biosecurity in 2014, and subsequently expanded this dialogue to include Indonesia and Malaysia in 2015. Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia are all important partners of the United States in trade, health, and defense. Relations among this group of nations are of strategic consequence to the United States in Southeast Asia. Toward those ends, this multilateral biosecurity dialogue explores the biosecurity landscapes of the participant nations; studies policies and frameworks for addressing biological risks; strengthens partnerships among the 4 nations for addressing biological threats; and shares lessons learned and best practices for enhancing and sustaining biosecurity.