Singapore Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen spoke at the fifth plenary of the 16th Shangri-La Dialogue (SLD) today on the topic "Global Threats and Regional Security", alongside New Zealand Minister of Defence Mark Mitchell and Russian Deputy Minister of Defence Lieutenant General Alexander Vasilyevich Fomin.
In his speech titled "Developing a Resilient Regional Security Architecture in a time of Geopolitical Uncertainty", Dr Ng noted the relevance of regional security to trade as he emphasised that security and stability are pre-conditions and mutually reinforcing steps toward greater prosperity and progress. Speaking on the importance of stable security conditions in order for trade to flourish, Dr Ng expressed concern over North Korea's series of provocative actions on the Korean Peninsula and urged for intervention from the major powers. "The international community has urged North Korea to refrain from further provocations and hope that it would integrate itself into the region to share in our peace and prosperity. We also hope the major players on the Korean Peninsula can resume dialogue to prevent deterioration of conditions", he said.
Calling terrorism the "biggest security concern in Southeast Asia", Dr Ng stressed the need for countries in the region to share information and improve intelligence cooperation. Citing partnership initiatives such as the Sulu Sea and Malacca Straits patrols, Dr Ng shared that Singapore's Information Fusion Centre has offered assistance to the Sulu Seas patrol in their effort to combat the maritime terrorism threat and kidnappings.
Dr Ng highlighted Singapore's Chairmanship of the ASEAN Defence Ministers' Meeting (ADMM) in 2018, and announced initiatives that Singapore would put forward. These initiatives, aimed at reducing tensions and the risk of miscalculations in the region, include expanding the Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea to all ADMM countries, and the establishment of a set of guidelines for air encounters between military aircraft for ASEAN. Dr Ng added that Singapore and Vietnam have jointly proposed to annualise the ADMM-Plus from 2017, in order to address the growing security challenges in a timely manner.
Earlier in the day, Dr Ng also hosted a Ministerial Roundtable after the closing of the Dialogue.