The Defence Ministers of France, Germany and the UK, the Swedish Foreign Minister and senior defence officers of Russia and Azerbaijan will attend the 12th Asian Security Summit IISS (or Shangri-La Dialogue) to be held in Singapore from May 31 to June 2.

Convened by the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), the Shangri-La Dialogue is the key forum for the discussion and analysis of defence and security issues in the region and beyond.

The participation in the 12th Shangri-La Dialogue of four European ministers, including the 'Big Three' European defence ministers, namely French, German and British; the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy for the European Union, Catherine Ashton; and the Chairman of NATO's Military Committee, General Knud Bartels, reflects special European interest in security issues in Asia.

In this connection, Dr John Chipman, Director-General and Chief Executive of the IISS, said: “European military expenditure may be in decline but defence diplomacy in the Asia- Pacific cannot be ignored.”

According to the IISS, 31 countries are represented at this year’s Dialogue, namely Australia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, Canada, China, Columbia, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Laos, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, New Zealand, Pakistan, the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Thailand, Timor-Leste, UAE, the UK, the US, and Vietnam.

Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung will deliver a keynote address at the May 31 opening ceremony which will also be attended by senior defence officers of participant countries, including the Defence Ministers of all the ten ASEAN member countries, the three above-mentioned European countries, and Australia, Japan, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea, and the US.

The agenda includes five plenary sessions on the US Approach to Regional Security; Defending National Interests, Preventing Conflict; Military Modernisation and Strategic Transparency; New Trends in Asia-Pacific Security; and Advancing Defence Cooperation in the Asia Pacific.

US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel; Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the People’s Liberation Army of China Lieutenant General Qi Jianguo; High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy for the European Union Catherine Ashton will speak in the plenary sessions, among others.

The Dialogue will also host six special sessions on Avoiding Incidents at Sea; Afghan Drawdown and Regional Security; Missile Defence in the Asia-Pacific; New Military Technologies and Doctrines; Defence Diplomacy and Conflict Prevention; and Cyber Dimension to Asian Security.-VNA