Australian Minister for Defence Christopher Pyne delivered the keynote address at the 7th International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) Fullerton Forum: Shangri-La Dialogue (SLD) Sherpa Meeting this morning. Addressing an audience of defence officials, senior military officers and academics, Mr Pyne highlighted the importance of open partnerships in the region and adhering to a rules-based international order. He said, "In the Indo-Pacific's vast maritime domains, where global commons abound, it is all the more important that free and open access to oceans is fostered and rules governing maritime behaviour are followed. Countries will be more secure in a region characterised by respect for international laws and other norms, where disputes are resolved peacefully without the threat or use of coercion or force. And countries will be more prosperous in the region where open markets facilitate the free flow of trade, capital, technology and ideas, where open markets facilitate prosperity and well-being of our people."
Organised by the IISS, the Sherpa Meeting strengthens the SLD by providing an inter-sessional platform for delegates to engage in frank discussions on current defence and security issues. Hosted in Singapore since 2013, this year's SLD Sherpa Meeting is held from 27 to 29 January 2019, with the Australian Minister for Defence Christopher Pyne as the keynote speaker. Approximately 90 delegates from countries regularly represented at the SLD are participating in this year's meeting. Widely recognised as Asia-Pacific's foremost defence and security summit, the SLD brings together defence ministers, senior officials and security experts to exchange views on key issues that shape the defence and security landscape of the region.
Mr Pyne, who is on his introductory visit to Singapore from 26 to 28 January 2019, will also call on Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen later today.