SINGAPORE: The organiser of the Shangri-La Dialogue said on Monday (May 17) that it “remains on track” to convene the annual defence summit in person in Singapore.
The dialogue draws delegates from dozens of countries each year and is scheduled to be held on Jun 4 and Jun 5 this year.
The statement from the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) comes after the World Economic Forum's Special Annual Meeting in Singapore was cancelled, about three months before it was scheduled to take place in August.
In a statement, the IISS said: “The World Economic Forum’s decision does not affect our plans. We have a full line-up of ministers and other senior leaders from around the world planning to attend our event.
“We will continue to work with our partners in Singapore's government to strengthen the already stringent safety measures we have in place, and make any necessary adjustments to protect both our attendees and the local community."
Since its launch in 2002, the event has been held in Singapore annually except for last year, when it was cancelled due to global COVID-19 travel restrictions.
On IISS’s intention to move forward with the Shangri-La Dialogue, Singapore's Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) said on Monday that it was “encouraged” by the positive response to invitations to the dialogue.
This “underscores the strong commitment of government leaders in addressing security challenges even in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic”, said the ministry in reply to media queries.
“Nevertheless, as the COVID-19 situation is fluid and continues to evolve in the run-up to the meeting, the Singapore Government will continue to monitor the local and global COVID-19 situation and make the necessary adjustments. In doing so, the health and safety of everyone will be the foremost consideration.”
The IISS said last week that it remained committed to holding this year's event in person, adding that it would continue to monitor the local and global situation closely.
The number of community cases in Singapore has risen in the last few weeks. On Monday, Singapore reported 21 new COVID-19 community cases, including 11 unlinked infections.
Overall, the number of new cases in the community has increased from 32 cases in the week before to 149 cases in the past week, said the Ministry of Health on Monday. The number of unlinked cases in the community has risen from seven cases in the week before to 42 cases in the past week.