DND Takes Part in Sherpa Meeting of the Shangri-la Dialogue

Amidst the existence of areas considered as potential flashpoints, regional states need to exercise strategic restraint if peace and stability were to be maintained in the Asia-Pacific. This was stressed by Asec Raymund Quilop during the first Fullerton Forum held in Singapore last February 18-19. While there are factors that induce states to exercise restraint, noting the influence of international public opinion and the utility of regional institutions, other factors such as domestic public opinion could make it difficult for states to exercise such restraint. 

Launched by the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) of London, the Fullerton Forum is meant to provide defense officials an opportunity to discuss relevant security issues prior to the Shangri-la Dialogue, where defense ministers and chiefs of defense forces participate and engage in dialogues. As Dr. John Chipman, Chief Executive of the IISS emphasized, “Process without product, (referring to the Shangri-la Dialogue) is fruitless but product without process is reckless”. The Shangri-la Dialogue, held annually since 2002 in Singapore, is similarly organized by the IISS.

After taking stock of geo-political concerns of the region, the participants examined the motivations for arms procurement and capability development efforts in the region while debating whether there exists military competition among regional countries and how this phenomenon could be leading to an arms race. The participants likewise discussed 
prospects of having arms control in the Asia-Pacific and other other security challenges to include nuclear and missile proliferation, with a consensus having emerged that North Korea’s nuclear and missile program undermines regional stability.