31 May 2018 | Webpage
The IISS Shangri-La Dialogue is Asia’s premier defence summit, a unique meeting of ministers and delegates from over 50 countries. The 2018 conference will feature a key speech by Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India.
The IISS Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore is the most important regular gathering of defence professionals in the Asia-Pacific region, a vital annual fixture in the diaries of ministers and their civilian and military chiefs of staff.
Since its launch in 2002 the Dialogue has built confidence and fostered practical security cooperation, by facilitating easy communication and fruitful contact among the region’s most important defence and security policymakers.
The IISS Shangri-La Dialogue, which runs from Friday to Sunday, is an annual security summit for Asia attended by defence ministers and other officials from more than 50 countries, including China, the US, Australia, Japan, India, France, Vietnam and the Philippines. This year’s agenda is expected to be dominated by South China Sea disputes and the North Korean nuclear crisis.
All speaking slots for plenary sessions and break-out groups at the event are allocated to ministers, other senior official delegates or distinguished legislators with strong defence credentials.
Several simultaneous break-out groups are held during one half-day of the summit, allowing in-depth discussion of a greater variety of critical regional security topics.
The Dialogue’s agenda is intentionally wide-ranging, reflecting the many defence and security challenges facing a large and diverse region. Each year it recognises emerging as well as established regional security concerns. Past speakers have included prime ministers and senior ministers from China, Korea, Japan, Malaysia, Australia and other regional powers, as well as the United States.
Over the years ministers have used the Dialogue to propose and advance initiatives on important security issues. These include maritime security in the Malacca Strait, the implications of regional states’ submarine capabilities, the proliferation of small arms and light weapons, regional security architecture, humanitarian and disaster relief, and the idea of a ‘no first use of force’ agreement in the South China Sea.
“En route to the city state, US Secretary of Defence Jim Mattis said America would continue to maintain a “steady drumbeat” of naval operations around the disputed waters, adding that “only one country” seemed bothered by the vessels’ routine activities.
“We are going out of our way to cooperate with Pacific nations, that’s the way we do business in the world,” he said. “But we are also going to confront what we believe is out of step with international law, out of step with international tribunals that have spoken on the issue.”
Mattis is set to deliver a speech on Saturday titled “US leadership and the challenges of Indo-Pacific security”, which makes reference to China’s increasing maritime competition with powers such as the US and India.
Official delegations have made increasingly intensive and effective use of the Dialogue as a venue for bilateral, trilateral and multilateral meetings with security partners. While the precise content of these private meetings has usually remained confidential, they have sometimes resulted in public joint statements on defence and security cooperation in the region.
Original Link: The IISS Shangri-La Dialogue: The Asia Security Summit
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