Leading military representatives from around the Asian region are gathering for the 2019 Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore this weekend.
CGTN’s Gerald Tan has more on what to expect at the three-day defense meeting.
It is the region’s premier defense forum. The Shangri-La Dialogue, first launched in 2002, gathers some of the top military representatives from Asia-Pacific countries annually in Singapore.
It is organized by the International Institute of Strategic Studies, a British think tank, and is held in the Shangri-La Hotel. The dialogue serves as a chance for discussions on pressing regional military issues
Among them are China, and the South China Sea, a subject that came up last year and drew strong comments at the time from China and the United States.
“It’s within China’s sovereignty to deploy troops and weapons on our islands and reefs in the South China Sea,” said Lieutenant General He Lei from the People’s Liberation Army. “It’s allowed by international law. Anyone who makes carping comments on this is trying to interfere in China’s internal affairs.”
But the U.S. views it differently.
“Despite China’s claims to the contrary, the placement of these weapon systems is tied directly to military use for the purposes of intimidation and coercion,” former US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said.
There are new players representing the U.S. and China this year.
Acting U.S. Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan replaces Mattis. While China is sending its Defense Minister General Wei Fenghe, the first top-level Chinese delegation to the Shangri-La Dialogue in eight years.
Shanahan is set to unveil the latest U.S. strategy for the region. A day later, General Wei delivers a highly-anticipated speech on China’s actions in the Indo-Pacific.
The two men are also expected to meet – against the backdrop of an ongoing trade war.
Singapore host Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong will also stress the need for constructive ties between the two superpowers to ensure regional stability.
The forum will also focus on Korean Peninsula diplomacy, China’s growing role in international security, and the evolving challenges confronting Asia.
Ngoei Wen-Qing on what to expect at the 2019 Shangri-La Dialogue
China is sending its first top level delegation to the Shangri-La Dialogue in eight years. The dialogue, organized by the International Institute for Strategic Studies, a British think tank, gathers top military representatives from around the world to Singapore to discuss pressing military issues. CGTN’s Elaine Reyes spoke with Ngoei Wen-Qing for more. Ngoei is an Assistant Professor in the School Of Humanities at Nanyang Technological University.