The anti-terrorism meetings and measures to cut off the funding of extremist groups have gone some way to improving Southeast Asia's security. Those efforts, though, should not be a reason for complacency as the threat on another attack on civilians on the scale of the Bali bombings is as real now as it has ever been. The first of dozens of trials of arrested suspects in that horrific crime opens in the Indonesian holiday resort tomorrow. The cases will be a test of Indonesia's resolve to fight terrorism. They come amid a steady rise in extremist activity in the region. Dozens of people have been killed in the southern Philippines by attacks blamed on the Muslim separatist Moro Islamic Liberation Front. The collapse of peace negotiations between the group and the Philippine government and the resumption of a decades-long struggle reopens the possibility of bombings in Manila. A blast at Jakarta's main airport last month injured 11 people and was said by officials to have been planted by Jemaah Islamiah, the group blamed for the Bali bombings. Experts of Southeast Asian extremist organisations claim Malaysia and southern Thailand remain at risk. The region's governments have been praised for clamping down on the activity of terrorists. Singapore and Malaysia have foiled plots against American targets and arrested 80 people. Indonesia has arrested 30 people over the Bali attacks and put on trial Abu Bakar Bashir, the alleged leader of Jemaah Islamiah. The Philippines sought and received military help from the United States in fighting the Abu Sayyaf, a Muslim kidnapping gang operating in the country's south linked to the international terrorism organisation al-Qaeda. Hong Kong has frozen bank accounts said to have been used by al-Qaeda and enhanced cargo security to prevent weapons smuggling. Experts agree that the arrests and cutting off of funds has damaged al-Qaeda and Jemaah Islamiah, the biggest terrorist threat in Southeast Asia. But they warn that the US-led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have hardened anti-American feelings among some Muslims and increased the likelihood of terrorist activity. Curbing the threat of terrorism will always be difficult. There is no quick way of erasing perceived injustices among communities susceptible to extremism. Maintaining the measures already taken are a beginning, but not a solution. Regional security and policing efforts must be strengthened and bilateral and multilateral dialogue among governments made regular. Civilians are an easy target of terrorists, as shown by the attacks in the US on September 11, 2001, and in Bali last year. Remaining vigilant will prevent a recurrence of such tragedies.