16th Shangri-La Dialogue underway in Singapore

Saturday, 2017-06-03 18:24:23
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NDO/VNA – The 16th annual Asia security summit, known as the Shangri-La Dialogue, kicked off in Singapore on June 2.

In his opening speech to national defence chiefs, international security experts from 40 countries, including Vietnam, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said that there is a concern in the region that the US withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Paris climate accord would lead to Washington retreating from global leadership.

He said the region wants to see China take a more responsible leadership role, adding that Beijing could play a key role in moderating the Democratic Republic of Korea (DPRK)'s nuclear and missile programmes.

On June 3, US Secretary of Defence James Mattis said in his addressing speech that the US will not accept Chinese actions that impinge on the interests of the international community, undermining the rule-based order that has benefited all countries.

“We oppose countries militarising artificial islands and enforcing excessive maritime claims not supported by international law. We can not and will not accept unilateral coercive changes to the status quo,” he said.

He affirmed that the US remains committed priority to Asia-Pacific where the country strives to develop ties with allies.

In regards efforts to counter the DPRK’s nuclear and missile development, he said the US will continue to increase diplomatic and economic pressure until Pyongyang finally and permanently abandons its nuclear and ballistic missille programmes.

According to him, the Trump administration has been encouraged by China’s renewed commitment to work with the international community towards denuclearisation.

Regarding security challenges from the self-claimed Islamic State (IS), the US side remains committed to leading the Defeat of the ISIS Coalition effort, and partnering with countries in the region, including Malaysia and Indonesia, to improve information sharing.

Defence officials from the US, Japan and Australia shared the view that political and diplomatic engagements and respect to international law are key to ensuring regional security and prosperity.

Regarding the role of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), they agreed that the bloc holds an important role in regional security as well as in enforcing the rules by law, while committing to work closely with other ASEAN member countries in building strong and comprehensive security architecture with ASEAN’s centrality.

Organised by the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), the dialogue will be divided into five sessions, focusing on the US and Asia-Pacific security, maintenance of rules-based regional order, new challenges for crisis management in the Asia-Pacific, building common ground in regional security as well as threats to the global and regional security.