I visited Singapore on Friday 1 June and Saturday 2 June for the 11th International Institute for Strategic Studies Asia Security Summit: The Shangri-La Dialogue.
The Shangri-La Dialogue has emerged as an important element of the region’s peace and security architecture and is an opportunity for Ministers of Defence from the region and beyond to discuss current security and defence issues and emerging strategic challenges both multilaterally and bilaterally.
I participated in the Dialogue’s plenary session discussion on Deterrence and Regional Security. This was an important discussion of how we can respond to the strategic implications of the historic shift in influence to the Asia-Pacific region.
Australia is optimistic and confident about the outcome of this shift, and believes that our region’s response must be based on positive and constructive bilateral relationships between key players – such as China, India and the United States – and support for dialogue within our regional architecture.
In addition to participating in the Dialogue, I met with Singapore’s Minister of Defence Dr Ng and we signed the Treaty-level Oakey Agreement, which will enable the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) to continue to station a helicopter training squadron and conduct flying activities at the Army Aviation Centre in Oakey, Queensland.
The signing of the new Agreement reinforces the close and long-standing bilateral defence relationship between Australia and Singapore. This Agreement will succeed the agreement on the RSAF’s helicopter training in Oakey signed in October 1996.
I held the inaugural Australia, Japan, United States Trilateral Defence Ministers’ Dialogue with US Secretary of Defence Panetta and Japanese Senior Vice Minister for Defence Watanabe.
The Trilateral Strategic Dialogue was inaugurated at Senior Officials level in 2002 and the first Trilateral Strategic Dialogue at Foreign Ministers level was held in 2006. Defence officials first meet the trilateral Security and Defence Cooperation Forum in 2007.
Trilateral defence cooperation between Australia, Japan and the United States has grown steadily in recent years. Australia, Japan and the United States’ work together in responding to the earthquake and tsunami in Japan in March 2011 was unprecedented.
Trilateral Defence Ministers committed to implementing an action plan that promotes a strong and flexible trilateral defence relationship over the remainder of this decade to enhance the security and prosperity of our region.
I held bilateral exchanges with my Ministerial colleagues who attended, including Canadian National Defense Minister MacKay, East Timorese Secretary of State for Defence Pinto, French Defence Minister Le Drian, Indian Minister of Defence Antony, Indonesian Minister for Defence Purnomo, Republic of Korean National Defence Minister Kim, New Zealand Defence Minister Coleman, Philippines National Defense Secretary Gazmin, Tongan Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign affairs and Defence Tu’ivakano, and Vietnamese Deputy Minister of National Defence Vinh.
I spoke with Indonesian President Yudhoyono and Foreign Minister Natalegawa and the current Chair of ASEAN, Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence General Tea. I also spoke with US Senators McCain and Lieberman.
I was joined at the Dialogue by the Secretary of the Department of Defence, Mr Duncan Lewis, and the Chief of the Defence Force, General David Hurley.
Mr Smith’s Office: Ellen Shields (02) 6277 7800 or 0400 347 473