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Peninsula issue to top Shangri-La Dialogue agenda

China Daily | Updated: 2017-06-03 06:49

SINGAPORE - Issues related to Asia-Pacific security and cooperation are expected to be subjects of intense discussion at the Shangri-La Dialogue over the weekend in Singapore.

Inaugurated in 2002, the prestigious event has become an important setting for discussion of security issues among defense officials, senior security personnel, military chiefs, diplomats and executives. It is organized by the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies.

This year's event started on Friday night and will run through Sunday. Six plenary meetings will be held over the weekend and four panel discussions are planned on Saturday afternoon.

The Korean Peninsula nuclear issue is thought to top the agenda, with pressure on the Democratic People's Republic of Korea increasing as Pyongyang has recently stepped up its nuclear weapons and missile program.

The deployment of the US Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system in the Republic of Korea, which Washington and Seoul claim is aimed at defending against the threat from the DPRK, has gravely undermined the regional strategic balance and the security interests of such countries as China and runs counter to peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula, officials say.

According to Kaoru Imori, a Japanese commentator on Asian affairs, restarting multilateral dialogue could defuse tensions and none of the stakeholders including the DPRK have ruled it out.

Laurent Sinclair, a Pacific affairs research analyst based in Japan, said the only way for progress to be made on the region's issues is through increased diplomacy. "I think this is what the key stakeholders really want. Multilateral talks are essential to cool tempers in the region."

Wang Jiangyu, deputy director of the Center for Asian Legal Studies at the National University of Singapore, said another uncertainty comes from the administration of US President Donald Trump, given that the new administration has not yet articulated a clear vision of its policies in the Asia-Pacific region.

"Peaceful and cooperative ties between the two countries (China and the United States) will definitely contribute to the stability of the entire region and some regional issues or small conflicts will be controllable since the China-US relationship is the ballast of Asia-Pacific security," Wang said.

Participants also are expected to exchange views on the fight against terrorism, which has spread from the Middle East and Afghanistan to some countries in Southeast Asia, posing a risk to the entire region.

Meanwhile, experts say the Belt and Road Initiative is offering a golden opportunity for the region to achieve common development, which will also contribute to regional peace and security.


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