Secretary Gazmin Speaks at the Shangri-la Dialogue

Three trends in Asia-Pacific security are worth noting, Secretary of National Defense Voltaire T. Gazmin argued at the recently concluded Shangri-la Dialogue held in Singapore from 31 May to 2 June. These include the emergence of previously dormant traditional security concerns; new aspects of recognized non-traditional security issues, such as maritime security, disaster relief, and cyber security; and emerging security risks, including food, water and energy security, population aging, migration, and health security.

Given the range of security issues regional countries now confront, Secretary Gazmin highlighted that defense forces face the challenge of developing new skill sets while maintaining proficiency in their core competence. The Secretary shared the whole-of-nation approach of the Philippine government in addressing such issues and emphasized the need to enhance bilateral and multilateral cooperation among Asia-Pacific states. While acknowledging the value of the exchanging views on security issues, Secretary Gazmin stressed the need to go beyond dialogues and promote practical cooperation.

At the sidelines of the Shangri-La Dialogue, Secretary Gazmin had bilateral meetings with the defense ministers of US and Malaysia who recently assumed their respective defense portfolios. He likewise had meetings with the ministers of Singapore, New Zealand, and Canada. In these bilateral meetings, Secretary Gazmin explored with his counterparts how to further deepen the Philippines' defense relations with their respective countries.

Established in 2002 and has since been held annually, the Shangri-La Dialogue, provides a venue for defense and military officials in the Asia-Pacific as well as from other regions to exchange views on both traditional and non-traditional security issues. It is organized by the International Institute for Strategic Studies.