Defence Secretary, Michael Fallon, has travelled to Singapore to meet with regional counterparts at the IISS Shangri-La Dialogue. Leading the UK delegation, Mr Fallon met with key allies including German Defence Minister, Ursula Von der Leyen, Gerry Brownlee, New Zealand Defence Minister, and Malaysian Defence Minister Hishamuddin, discussing a wide range of defence and security challenges.
The Summit saw the Defence Secretary deliver an insightful speech on preventing conflict escalation, in which he explored the UK’s interests in the Asia region and underlined the UK Government’s position on key questions relating to the South China Sea.
“The UK has immensely strong bonds with Asia and a huge interest in the region.
“The IISS Shangri-La Dialogue has provided a timely opportunity for me to meet with my counterparts who share similar values of tolerance, justice and respect, and to exchange views on how best to protect those values in the face of aggression and extremism all over the world.
Today’s dialogue and the bilateral meetings I have had all highlight the importance of partnership and cooperation. From our trading partners to those with whom we are combating extremism, our strong and long standing relationships have created a tapestry of capabilities throughout the region which we must continue to nurture and strengthen.
This year’s Shangri-La Dialogue saw the attendance of 450 delegates representing over 30 nations and the highest number ever of attending Defence Ministers, eighteen.
During the Shangri-La Dialogue, Mr Fallon and his New Zealand counterpart, Defence Minister, the Honourable Gerry Brownlee, signed a defence cooperation statement, reaffirming the long-standing historic ties and shared values between the countries.
Mr Fallon said:
The UK has long-standing historic ties with New Zealand with closely aligned values and culture. We are also important Defence partners with an active exchange officer programme and shared operational experience. This statement is an important affirmation of this close relationship; it formalises our mutual commitment to continue improving existing areas of defence cooperation and has given our engagement structure by setting out strategic objectives for our future defence activities.