US defence chief to address Shangri La Dialogue on Indo-Pacific strategy

US defence chief to address Shangri La Dialogue on Indo-Pacific strategy

The annual Shangri La Dialogue kicks off today in Singapore, attracting high profile defence ministers and security officials from across

Shagri la dialogue 2019

Photo: Flickr/IISS_org

The annual Shangri La Dialogue kicks off today in Singapore, attracting high profile defence ministers and security officials from across the Indo-Pacific.

Launched for the first time in 2002, the Dialogue has become a venue for discussing regional security initiatives, ranging from maritime security to the denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula.

Both Acting US Secretary of Defence Patrick Shanahan and Chinese Minister of National Defence Wei Fenghe are expected to deliver “major” speeches tomorrow. According to the Pentagon, Mr Shanahan’s speech will detail how the US plans to implement a 2018 strategy document calling for Washington to shift its focus from counterterrorism to strategic competition with China and Russia.

Secretary Shanahan will likely signal greater US resolve in protecting Taiwan by increasing the frequency and size of patrols in the Taiwan Strait. The secretary could also make a statement reassuring the international community that the US remains supportive of its allies, even in light of disputes over issues such as trade, as in the case of Japan. Mr Shanahan may even mention the ongoing US-China trade war, further entrenching the idea that the US considers favourable trade arrangements with its largest trade partner critical to its national security interests.

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