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US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to attend Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to attend Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore

United States Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin speaks during an event with President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris to mark International Women's Day in the East Room of the White House in Washington on Monday, Mar 8, 2021. (File photo: AP/Patrick Semansky)

SINGAPORE: United States Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin will attend the Shangri-La Dialogue Asian security summit due to be held in Singapore next month, organisers said, after the annual meeting was cancelled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This year's event, which is being arranged by the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), is scheduled to take place from Jun 4 to Jun 5.

"It marks the secretary's first trip to Southeast Asia, and as well as delivering his on-the-record speech, he will also conduct bilateral and multilateral meetings on the sidelines of the summit," IISS said in an emailed statement.

The Shangri-La Dialogue has typically attracted top-level military officials, diplomats and weapons makers from around the globe since its launch in 2002.

READ: Pentagon chief sees Asia ties as deterrent against China

READ: Shangri-La Dialogue to resume this year with COVID-19 safety measures in place

In his first significant policy speech, Austin said this week that the US needs to prepare for a potential future conflict bearing little resemblance to "the old wars" that have long consumed the Pentagon.

Austin called for harnessing technological advances and better integrating military operations globally to "understand faster, decide faster and act faster".

Singapore is also aiming to host the World Economic Forum's annual summit in August after it was moved from its usual home in the Swiss ski resort of Davos over virus safety fears.

Source: Reuters/kg


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