Defence ministers gather for Asia security dialogue

May 30th, 2008 - 12:24 pm ICT by admin  

Singapore, May 30 (DPA) Defence leaders gathered in Singapore Friday for the largest defence and security dialogue among Asia-Pacific nations aimed at generating “fresh policy thinking and innovative solutions to global challenges”. The 2008 Shangri-La Dialogue is Asia’s highest concentration of policy-makers involved in regional security with 27 delegations represented.

Since the inaugural event in 2002, the dialogue organised by the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) has expanded as a venue for diplomatic leaders from Europe and the US.

The meeting officially opens Friday afternoon with a keynote speech from Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong,

US Secretary of Defence Robert Gates was scheduled to address the participants Saturday and is likely to discuss the impact of the devastating earthquake in China and cyclone in Myanmar.

The event coincides with the 50th anniversary of the IISS. Founded in 1958, early work focussed on nuclear deterrence and arms control issues during the Cold War.

Among the issues to be addressed are challenges to stability in the Asia-Pacific, the future of East Asian security and securing energy in the region.

In previous years, the event has seen proposals submitted for greater maritime security cooperation in the Malacca Straits, new bilateral relationships, and the establishment of a regional disaster and humanitarian relief centre.

Attendees included representatives of Australia, Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, Canada, China, East Timor, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, NATO, New Zealand, Pakistan, the Philippines, Russia, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Britain, US and Vietnam.

The event concludes Sunday.

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