Meeting Day at Shangri-La

SINGAPORE — It’ll be a busy day of meetings for U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and the rest of the Pentagon delegation here at the Shangri-La Dialogue.

In addition to Panetta, Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Samuel Locklear, head of U.S. Pacific Command, and a number of other senior Pentagon policy officials are scheduled to attend the meetings here today.

Below are a list of the meetings and read outs provided by DoD:

Bilateral meeting with Philippines’ Minister of Defense Voltaire Gazmind

Following a successful meeting in Washington last month alongside Secretary Clinton, Secretary Panetta met with Philippines Secretary of National Defense Voltaire Gazmin Saturday, June 2, at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore.

Panetta and Gazmin agreed that the U.S.-Philippines alliance is critical to regional peace and security, and each is committed to meeting the obligations of the Mutual Defense Treaty signed in 1951. The meeting allowed the two leaders to reflect on the alliance and continue their discussion regarding possible ways to enhance the longstanding relationship and support the U.S. presence in the region in ways that are mutually beneficial, specifically through increased bilateral and multilateral engagements, exercises, and exchange programs.

The cornerstone of the existing and any future enhancements of our security relationship will be to assist with capacity building of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, safeguard stability in the region, and increase interoperability so that we can effectively provide humanitarian assistance and disaster relief and counter the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction together.

Additionally, Panetta and Gazmin discussed areas of mutual concern and future growth, particularly the further development of our collective defense capabilities and communications infrastructure; enhancing maritime domain awareness capacity; continued cooperation on the protection of cyberspace; and expanding joint information sharing, surveillance, and reconnaissance activities.

Regarding the South China Sea, both sides reiterated their respective national interests in the right to freedom of navigation and their support for a collaborative and multilateral diplomatic process to resolve any territorial disputes peacefully in accordance with international law.

Trilateral meeting with Japan’s Parliamentary Senior Vice Minister of Defense Shu Watanabe and South Korea’s Minister of Defense Kim Kwan-Jin

U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, Republic of Korea (ROK) Minister of Defense Kim Kwan Jin, and Japan Parliamentary Senior Vice Minister of Defense Shu Watanabe shared views on the regional security situation and reaffirmed the value of trilateral defense cooperation at their meeting on the sidelines of the Shangri-La Dialogue on June 2, 2012.

The three ministers concurred that North Korea’s continued provocations including its sinking of the ROK corvette CHEONAN and shelling of Yeonpyeong Island in 2010, and its missile launch in April 2012, pose a serious threat to the peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula, Northeast Asia, and the world. North Korea needs to understand that it will achieve nothing by threats or by provocations, and that such behavior will only deepen its international isolation.

The three ministers reaffirmed the April 16, 2012 Presidential Statement of the UN Security Council, demanding that North Korea comply with its obligations under UN Security Council Resolutions 1718 and 1874, including that it abandon all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs. They welcomed that the Security Council made clear its determination to take action in the event of a further North Korean launch or nuclear test. The ministers reaffirmed that North Korea’s provocative behavior threatens all three countries and will be met with solidarity from all three countries. They agreed to continue to reinforce trilateral policy coordination in order to deter North Korean provocations.

The three ministers affirmed the importance of trilateral collaboration for regional peace and stability, and they decided to expand the scope of this collaboration that includes humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, maritime security, protecting the freedom of navigation, and non-proliferation. They also decided to pursue Defense Ministerial trilateral meetings at the Shangri-La Dialogue in the future.

Trilateral meeting with Australian Minister of Defense Stephen Smith and Watanabe, of Japan

Australia-Japan-United States trilateral defense cooperation has supported and enhanced the security and stability of the Asia-Pacific region, and the three countries’ defense leaders are committed to ensuring this continues.  Throughout the remainder of this decade, we will work to refine and consolidate the trilateral defense relationship to support the network of existing alliances, forums, and dialogues to meet a variety of common security challenges.

The Asia-Pacific faces a constantly evolving strategic landscape and increasingly diverse security challenges – including terrorism, piracy, large scale natural disasters, trafficking in arms, narcotics, and people, cyber threats, a congested and contested space domain, proliferation of missile technology and weapons of mass destruction, and ensuring maritime security and freedom of navigation.  Together, we seek positive and proactive trilateral defense relations based on a common set of democratic values, established habits of cooperation, similar strategic perspectives and a common goal of promoting security and stability in a rules-based international order.

Defense Ministers of Australia and Japan and the United States Secretary of Defense will develop and implement an action plan that promotes a strong, dynamic and flexible trilateral defense relationship over the remainder of this decade to enhance the security and prosperity of the region.
The trilateral Security and Defense Cooperation Forum, which provides a regular forum for our defense and foreign affairs communities to engage in strategic dialogue, will work with colleagues in other government offices to recommend ways to enhance interoperability, build cooperative capacity and related skills within our defense forces, and foster practical and efficient multilateral cooperation and capacity building with other nations and with regional forums.

Bilateral meeting with Singapore’s Minister of Defense Ng Eng Hen

Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen met today in Singapore, which also marks Secretary Panetta’s first attendance at the Shangri-La Dialogue (SLD).

During their meeting, Secretary Panetta and Minister Ng discussed a wide range of regional security and defense issues. Minister Ng welcomed the United States’ strong participation in regional forums like the SLD and ASEAN Defense Ministers Meeting Plus (ADMM-Plus), which facilitate open dialogue and help to build mutual confidence and understanding.

Secretary Panetta and Minister Ng both noted the important role the ADMM-Plus plays in strengthening practical cooperation among the militaries of the ADMM-Plus members through exercises and exchanges. These interactions promote greater understanding, build confidence and help to bring about stable military-to-military relations among the key stakeholders in the region. Secretary Panetta reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to continue enhancing its engagement of regional countries and work closely with partners like Singapore in strengthening regional peace and stability.

Secretary Panetta and Minister Ng also affirmed the close and longstanding bilateral defense relationship between the United States and Singapore, and the shared strategic perspectives between both sides. They welcomed the good progress made in deepening bilateral defense cooperation since the signing of the Strategic Framework Agreement (SFA) in 2005. In this regard, Minister Ng conveyed Singapore’s in-principle agreement to the U.S. request to forward deploy up to four Littoral Combat Ships (LCS) to Singapore on a rotational basis. Minister Ng and Secretary Panetta noted that both navies will work together to finalize the deployment details and arrangements. The LCS will not be based or homeported in Singapore, and the LCS crew will live on board the LCS for the duration of their deployment. Secretary Panetta reaffirmed that the LCS deployment would strengthen U.S. engagement in the region, through the port calls at regional ports, and engagement of regional navies through activities such as exercises and exchanges.

Secretary Panetta and Minister Ng also affirmed both countries’ commitment to continue exploring joint initiatives to further operationalize the SFA and facilitate U.S. engagement in the region. They noted that the United States and Singapore were working toward increasing the complexity of existing bilateral exercises, such as the incorporation of Navy elements into Exercise Commando Sling, currently a bilateral Air Force exercise. This modification would enhance interoperability across the military services of both countries. Both sides were also working toward enhancing joint training opportunities, including through the use of the Murai Urban Training Facility in Singapore for more regular joint training by the U.S. Marines and the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) from 2013 onward.

Finally, Minister Ng thanked Secretary Panetta for U.S. support of the SAF’s training detachments in the United States, while Secretary Panetta expressed appreciation for Singapore’s useful contributions to Afghanistan and the international counter-piracy efforts in the Gulf of Aden.

Pull aside with Malaysia’s Minister of Defense Ahmad Zahid Hamidi

U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and the Malaysian Minister of Defence Dato’ Seri Dr. Ahmad Zahid Hamidi met June 2 during the annual Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore.

Bilateral defense cooperation with this important partner in the region has grown in recent years.  During the meeting, both leaders stated that with a renewed focus on Asia as part of the U.S. defense strategy, they look forward to strengthening the U.S.-Malaysia military-to-military relationship including expanding multilateral exercises.

Secretary Panetta thanked Minister Zahid for Malaysian Armed Forces medical personnel who continue to play an important role contributing to stability in Afghanistan.


Marcus Weisgerber
Follow Me

Marcus Weisgerber

Senior Pentagon Correspondent at Defense News
I write about broad-ranging policy, acquisition and budget issues affecting the US military.
Marcus Weisgerber
Follow Me