Shangri-La Dialogue to resume this year: Ng Eng Hen

Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen speaking at the 18th Shangri-La Dialogue on June 2, 2019. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - The annual Shangri-La Dialogue will resume this year as more effective safety measures are in place and more people are vaccinated, Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen said in a Facebook post on Monday (Jan 18) evening.

The high-level yearly event is attended by defence ministers and military chiefs from major world powers. The three-day security conference, which gets its name from the Shangri-La Hotel in Singapore, was cancelled in 2020.

The dialogue, which has taken place every year since 2002, was scheduled for June 5 to 7 last year, but was called off because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

"The Shangri-La Dialogue will resume this year. As with previous years, the Sherpa Meeting - a prelude to the main Shangri-La Dialogue where ministerial and senior defence officials meet to discuss relevant security issues - kicked off today," Dr Ng said.

Dr Ng added that at the Sherpa Meeting, more than 200 defence officials and non-governmental experts are meeting both physically and through video conferencing.

Participants at the two-day event which ends Tuesday (Jan 19) include delegations from 26 countries and the European Union, some of whom are physically present at The Fullerton Hotel.

Participants attending the Sherpa Meeting in person are required to undergo a pre-entry antigen rapid test to ensure they are Covid-19-free.

Simultaneously, stringent precautionary measures such as safe distancing, mask-wearing, temperature-taking, grouping and regular disinfection of common areas are enforced. Plexi-glass dividers have been placed in the conference and meal areas.

The Shangri-La Dialogue, which is organised by the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies, will be one of several high-profile meetings and conferences taking place in Singapore this year.

Another landmark event, the World Economic Forum (WEF), will be held from May 25 to 28 this year, with top political, business and academic leaders gathering to discuss global issues.

Covid-19 testing measures will be in place for such events. Participants attending the WEF will have to comply with strict public health requirements, Minister of State for Trade and Industry Alvin Tan had said on Jan 5.

They will have to undergo pre-departure and on-arrival Covid-19 tests, and observe safe management measures.

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