Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen hosted 22 visiting Ministers and their representatives to a Roundtable discussion today, in conjunction with the 16th Shangri-La Dialogue (SLD). The Ministerial Roundtable has been a regular feature of the SLD since it was initiated in 2002. The Ministers exchanged views on a wide range of issues including the US' engagement of the region, developments in the Korean Peninsula as well as the threat of terrorism.
The Ministers welcomed the US' continued engagement of the Asia-Pacific region under the new Trump Administration, which is a reaffirmation of the US' long-standing interest in and commitment to the region. The Ministers also reaffirmed the importance of a healthy and constructive US-China relationship, and noted that major powers could engage in common areas of cooperation to maintain regional peace and stability.
The Ministers also expressed concerns on the developments in the Korean Peninsula, citing the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK)'s provocative actions which have grave implications on the region's peace and stability. The Ministers collectively called for DPRK to take all necessary steps to de-escalate the situation, and abide by its international obligations. They also emphasised the need for all major players in the region to resume dialogue and manage tensions on the ground.
Noting the recent spate of terror attacks, the Ministers acknowledged that terrorism was a global threat that would likely worsen with the return of foreign fighters, and enhanced linkages between various terror groups. The Ministers shared on the importance of strengthening national defences through greater emphasis on education and counter-radicalisation messaging. They also underscored the need for greater regional and international cooperation, such as the Sulu Sea Patrols, in order to effectively prevent terrorists from gaining a foothold in this region.
Source: MINISTRY OF DEFENCE (MINDEF)