Asia-Pacific defence ministers, military chiefs and scholars gather in Singapore for 16th Shangri-La Dialogue

A cautionary sign is seen outside Shangri-La Hotel before the start of the IISS Shangri-La Dialogue, on 1 June, 2017.
A cautionary sign is seen outside Shangri-La Hotel before the start of the IISS Shangri-La Dialogue, on 1 June, 2017.ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

SINGAPORE - Defence ministers, chiefs of defence forces, senior officials and academics from 39 countries have gathered in Singapore for the 16th Shangri-La Dialogue (SLD), under the pall of regional terrorist attacks, North Korea's belligerence, and tensions in the South China Sea.

Organised by the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), this year's Dialogue will be held from Friday to Sunday (June 2 to 4), with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull giving the keynote speech on Friday evening.

US Secretary of Defence James Mattis is scheduled to headline the first plenary session on Saturday, during which he is expected to outline the United States' role in Asia-Pacific security.

His counterparts from Japan, Australia and France will lead another much-anticipated session on upholding a "rules-based" regional order.

This year’s dialogue is attended by some 22 ministerial delegates, 12 chiefs of defence force, as well as senior defence officials and scholars from 39 countries.

On Sunday, Singapore Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen will speak at the fifth plenary session on "Global Threats and Regional Security", the Ministry of Defence said in a statement on Friday.

 

Dr Ng will chair two roundtable discussions for visiting ministers and their representatives on Saturday and Sunday, the ministry said.

He will also hold bilateral meetings with ministers and senior officials from several countries on the sidelines of SLD.