April 19 (UPI) -- The United States and countries in Northeast Asia have agreed to jointly tackle drug smuggling and accidents at sea, according to South Korea's coast guard.
The South Korean maritime law enforcement agency said Friday cooperation was agreed upon at the 20th meeting of the North Pacific nations, held this week in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, Russia, Yonhap reported Friday.
The conference began on Monday and concluded Friday, and was hosted by the Russian Federation's coast guard. More than 70 delegates representing the United States, Japan, China, Canada, Russia and South Korea were in attendance.
The agencies are cooperating across borders in a region that remains divided over issues of territory and politics. They discussed a "multilateral training plan" that will take place in Japan in June.
Delegates also exchanged information on vessels fishing illegally, cases of drug smuggling and illegal immigration, according to Yonhap. They discussed ways to conduct joint search-and-rescue activities in the event of accidents in the North Pacific Ocean. The delegates also addressed ways to prevent marine environmental pollution.
Drug smuggling has become a source of major concern in South Korea, where a drugging and rape scandal, centered around a celebrity-owned nightclub, is bringing attention to the illicit drug trade.
South Korean newspaper Maeil Business reported earlier this month six people were taken into custody after trafficking in methamphetamines.
The suspects are of Thai nationality and used international airmail to bring the drugs into South Korea.
The methamphetamines were "disguised" as vitamin supplements, according to the report.