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Malcolm Turnbull to deliver keynote at Shangri-La Dialogue

Friday, May 19, 2017 - 05:50

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It will be the first official visit to Singapore for Mr Turnbull, the 62-year-old leader of Australia's Liberal Party, who took office in September 2015.

Singapore

AUSTRALIA'S Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will deliver the keynote speech at this year's Shangri-La Dialogue, which is to be held over three days from June 2.

It will be the first official visit to Singapore for the 62-year-old leader of Australia's Liberal Party, who took office in September 2015. Attending the event, billed as Asia's premier defence summit, will be a key item on his schedule.

The annual meeting, in its 16th edition this year, is organised by the London-based think tank International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), and is named after the hotel which has been its venue since it started in 2002.

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Singapore has hosted every dialogue since then.

The IISS has not disclosed what Mr Turnbull will talk about on June 2, but his speech will be closely watched as it comes at a time of heightened tensions in the South China Sea and North Korea's increased aggression.

The Australian leader joins the list of previous heads of state and government who have graced the event in recent years.

Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha was last year's main speaker, and before him were Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (2015), Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (2014), then-Vietnamese prime minister Nguyen Tan Dung (2013) and then-Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (2012).

The summit brings together ministers, military chiefs, senior defence officials and security specialists from more than 50 countries for high-level defence and security talks.

Among those on the confirmed list of delegates so far are US Defence Secretary James Mattis, who will attend his first Shangri-La Dialogue since he became the Pentagon chief in January, following the inauguration of President Donald Trump.

Mr Mattis is likely to speak on June 3 at the first plenary session, which is titled "The United States and Asia-Pacific Security".

The programme on the event's official website says the second day of the dialogue will feature four simultaneous special sessions; these include those titled "Nuclear dangers in the Asia-Pacific" and "Practical measures to avoid conflict at sea".

There will also be separate plenary sessions titled "Upholding a rules-based regional order" and "New challenges for crisis management in the Asia-Pacific".

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