As the US and China vie to establish new partnerships and expand their influence with Asia-Pacific nations. The top defence officials from both nations are preparing to try to win support this weekend from their regional counterparts, diplomats and leaders at a security forum in Singapore.
Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, whose country is a stalwart American ally in the Pacific, is to give the keynote address Friday evening. Open the dialogue at the Shangri-La Hotel hosted by the International Institute for Strategic Studies think tank.
Albanese, whose country has angered Beijing with its agreement with Britain and the US, is known as AUKUS. To obtain nuclear-powered submarines to address the perceived rising threat from China. And said he would focus on Australia’s deepening engagement. As well as “shared opportunities and challenges” in the region.
“We want a region that is stable, peaceful, resilient and prosperous,” he said when his speech was announced.
This year’s dialogue comes amid a wide range of issues, including the war in Ukraine and its regional implications. Including China’s support for Russia, the ongoing conflict in Myanmar, and growing tensions between China and the US and its allies over Beijing’s claim to the self-governing island of Taiwan.
China’s Defence Minister Discusses New Security Initiatives
US Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin will open the day Saturday with an address on American “leadership in the Asia-Pacific,” according to the Pentagon. While China’s new defence minister, Li Shangfu, leads off the day Sunday with a speech on his country’s new security initiatives.
Austin began his trip to the region in Japan, whose prime minister, Fumio Kishida, has been one of the most outspoken leaders in Asia against the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Kishida has ramped up Japan’s defence spending, and cautioned others at the Shangri-La forum last year that “Ukraine today may be East Asia tomorrow.”
China has refused to criticize Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and has blamed the US and NATO for provoking Moscow. During a trip in April to Moscow, Li pledged to expand military cooperation, military-technical ties and the arms trade with Russia.
“We will certainly take them to a new level,” he said at the time.
On the sidelines of the conference in Singapore, Austin plans to meet with “key leaders to advance US defence partnerships across the region. In support of our shared vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific anchored in ASEAN centrality,” the Defense Department said, referring to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.