In Brief: US Congress members call on PM Lee

US Congress members calling on Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong yesterday. They spoke about regional and international developments, and reaffirmed the importance of the US' continued engagement of the region.
US Congress members calling on Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong yesterday. They spoke about regional and international developments, and reaffirmed the importance of the US' continued engagement of the region.PHOTO: MINISTRY OF COMMUNICATIONS AND INFORMATION

US Congress members call on PM Lee

Members of the US Congress, in town for the Shangri-La Dialogue, called on Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong yesterday afternoon at the Istana.

The two sides affirmed the excellent and longstanding relations between their countries, said the Foreign Affairs Ministry.

PM Lee and the members of Congress - among them senators Dan Sullivan, Cory Gardner and David Perdue - also spoke about regional and international developments, and reaffirmed the importance of the US' continued engagement of the region.

Earlier in the day, the US delegation was hosted to lunch by Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan.


S'pore boosts defence ties with Germany, Britain

Singapore moved to boost its defence ties with Germany and Britain as it signed agreements with the two countries yesterday on the sidelines of the Shangri-La Dialogue.

The pact between Singapore and Germany will pave the way for cooperation against new forms of threats such as cyber attacks and hybrid warfare, while the agreement with Britain will provide a foundation for future defence cooperation in more specific areas.

"We have new threats, if not new in nature, certainly new in intensity," Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen said after the pact with Germany was inked. "An obvious area is cyberthreats - we may be separated by oceans, but all countries face cyberthreats on a daily basis."


Military systems need to keep up with tech changes

The world's military systems have a long way to go to be able to effectively deal with cyber developments, security experts said at a panel discussion on the Future of Military Technology and Cyber Security at the Shangri-La Dialogue yesterday.

The fast-paced growth of artificial intelligence, non-state actors operating in cyberspace and militaries working under policies and guidelines set decades ago are some of the risks global defence establishments face, security experts and officials said.

Partnerships and discussions would be the way forward, they added.


View Rakhine crisis more objectively, says Myanmar

Myanmar national security adviser Thaung Tun has called on the international community to view the crisis in the Rakhine state "more objectively", warning that naming and shaming would only inflame inter-communal violence.

"Myanmar does not deny that what is unfolding in northern Rakhine is a humanitarian crisis, but it is a crisis that affects more than one community," he said at a Shangri-La Dialogue panel yesterday.

Mr Thaung Tun lamented that "unhelpful" pressures are detracting from the pursuit of peace. A propaganda campaign on the plight of refugees is being used by terrorists to achieve their own unsavoury aims, he added.

His audience, however, remained sceptical, with British journalist Richard Lloyd Parry pointing out that tales of arson, rape and murder of overwhelmingly Rohingya civilians had been corroborated by international media and United Nations organisations.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on June 03, 2018, with the headline 'In Brief'. Print Edition | Subscribe