Speaking Of Asia

Making sense of the sound and fury of strategic theatre at the Shangri-La Dialogue

The conjoining of two strategic theatres - Asia and Europe - stood out as a clear theme of this year's event. The responses to the tumultuous events on these two 'stages' are rather more inchoate.

The conjoining of two strategic theatres - Asia and Europe - stood out as a clear theme of this year's event, says the writer. ST PHOTO: GIN TAY
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Winding up one of the plenary sessions at the recently-concluded Shangri-La Dialogue, conference host John Chipman of the International Institute for Strategic Studies mused about how the global security environment was set to change with Germany and Japan having announced plans for massive increases in defence outlays.

It is indeed a sobering thought. Japan and Germany are the world's third and fourth largest economies. If those intentions are fulfilled, Germany's defence outlay, currently at about 1.4 per cent of gross domestic product, would top US$75 billion (S$104.4 billion). Japan's would roughly double, to about US$110 billion.

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