Shangri-la Dialogue

Fullerton Forum 2017: Keynote Address

As Prepared

Let me begin by thanking the IISS for according me the honour of delivering the keynote address for the 2017 Fullerton Forum. I like to think that this makes me the 'opening act' for the main show, this year’s Shangri-La Dialogue, which I am sure everyone is looking forward to.

The phrase 'We are at a crossroads' has become something of a cliché these days. It is often applied time and time again to a myriad of situations. However, the fact is that the world, as well as the Asia-Pacific, is now on the cusp of great changes. The tumultuous events of 2016, including the outcomes of the Brexit vote and the US Presidential Elections have upended everyone's expectations. The global scenario is changing rapidly and nobody quite knows where we will all end up.

These cataclysmic events, as well as on-going developments such as the continued instability in the Middle East, and the unchecked rise in information communication technology and social media presents us with an unprecedented set of security challenges. The Asia-Pacific, as the axis of the world and centre of global economic growth, is not immune from these issues. What I propose to do here today is to briefly enumerate what I believe are 5 main challenges as well as how security practitioners and policymakers can confront them moving forward. They are: the rise of populism and the retreat of globalization; the continued threat of Daesh; humanitarian crises; cyber security and fake news; and environmental degradation.

Allow me to elaborate on these.

Ladies and gentlemen, I earlier alluded to the Brexit vote and the outcome of the last US elections. These, and other events are manifestations of reinvigorated and indeed, more toxic populist sentiments, most blatant in the West but also across the globe.

There is a great concern that these populist movements may see confrontation with rival powers as a way to 'make their countries great again.' The pseudo-nationalism that such beliefs engender in turn revives age-old grouses which are unhelpful impediments in international relations. There is also a tendency, on the part of such forces to view important multilateral bodies - including the United Nations (UN) — with contempt. It would be very dangerous indeed if such ideas take root among many countries, as it would weaken the global security architecture. This is very worrying when you consider how instrumental the UN and other bodies have been in keeping peace in the world post-WWII. There is an urgent need for us to ensure that they continue to be viable even in this new global dispensation.

However, the fact is that the Asia Pacific has benefitted tremendously from globalisation. While it was imposed on us by the West, it has also arguably ensured stability and growth in our countries.

Ladies and Gentlemen, at the same time, the challenge posed by radical groups such as the so-called 'Islamic State' or Daesh, has not abated, and indeed has become even more severe. It is true that significant territorial gains have been made in both Iraq and Syria in recent months including Mosul, Aleppo and Raqa. However, only a fool would believe that we have seen the last of Daesh. Also, we are now confronted by the spectre of returned fighters, importing their brand of mayhem and terror to their home shores.

Our region has not been spared from this trend. Men, women, and even youths from our region have left their homes to join Daesh. There is even a Southeast Asian brigade calling itself the 'Khatibah Nusantara' consisting of roughly 700 fighters from Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines. Our great fear is that Daesh will seek to transform Southeast Asia, our cradle of peace, into its new base of operations as it continues to suffer reversals in the Middle East. There are certainly many fault lines that it could exploit in our region, including the on-going instability in the southern regions of Thailand and the Philippines as well as, increasingly Myanmar's Rakhine state.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the increasing proliferation of humanitarian crises in our region is a potential vulnerability. This is a problem that has also been exacerbated by the on-going and unchecked problem of people smuggling. The 2015 boat people's crisis highlights that this is a very real challenge to countries of ASEAN.

Malaysia is now hosting 56,000 displaced Rohingyas who have fled often with nothing but the clothes on their backs. As Prime Minister Najib Razak recently stated at the Extraordinary Session of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers on the Situation of the Rohingya Muslim Minority in Myanmar just last week :

'We fear that if the situation of the Rohingya Muslim minority in Rakhine State is not properly addressed, militant elements could infiltrate and possibly radicalise this oppressed community. OIC Member States are well aware that terrorist organisations such as Daesh could seek to take advantage of this situation.'

This is a serious concern, not only to Myanmar's neighbours, but also to the region and our partners worldwide in our efforts to maintain global peace and stability. This horrific possibility has the potential to cause death and destruction well beyond the borders of ASEAN.

Ladies and gentlemen, another emerging issue is cyber-security and technology threats. The internet and social media has been the defining invention of our age. It has made communication and the dissemination of ideas easier than ever before. Moreover, new developments such as the 'Internet of Things' (IoT) has broadened our horizons to an extent that the founders of the internet could not even dream of all those years ago. There is simply no way for us to turn back the advent of technology.

However, it has also exposed us to new threats and challenges. We now live in a world where a disaffected young man, with a battered laptop and a strong WIFI connection, can cripple critical national infrastructure right from his living room. Also, the IoT has raised very pertinent questions about what we share online and whether this information is truly safe. Furthermore, allegations of foreign interference in the recent US elections highlights how technology can have a political and diplomatic impact.

We cannot also dismiss the fact that the 'global village' has given extremists group a platform to air their views and win supporters. We are also increasingly confronted with the threat of 'fake news' that erodes social harmony as well as public confidence in the institutions of states. Whereas such 'fake news' once took the form of furtively photocopied 'poison pen letters', they now take the shape of seemingly plausible online news stories or chain e-mails.

Just last December, two countries with nuclear arsenals were suddenly thrust into the limelight due to the circulation of unverified news. What started as a hoax story on a fake news outlet led to threats of nuclear war between Pakistan and Israel. It was reported that the former Israeli defence minister, Moshe Yaalon, was quoted as threatening to destroy Pakistan if it sent troops into Syria. While there was no evidence Yaalon ever said those words, Pakistan’s defence minister, Khawaja Asif, responded to the article as if it were real, warning Israel that it was not the only nuclear power in the world. Less than a day later, the Israeli Defence Ministry responded on Twitter, notifying Asif that the statement was completely false. However, this was too late – the hoax remains on Twitter, with over 3,000 retweets.

Their dispute is the latest case of fake news, peddled by sites with political aims or simply to earn money from advertising, influencing the real world. This disturbing incident is a clear example of how fabricated stories have a serious impact in the real world. Stopping such stories is, to put it mildly a difficult proposition in a post-truth world of instant, constant news.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I would also warn the present company that it would be extremely unwise for us to ignore the impact that natural disasters could have on our security landscape. It was recently reported by NASA, that 2016 was the hottest year on record with new highs of 54 degrees Celsius in some parts of the world. This if anything is proof that climate change is real and that those who deny its existence are courting disaster.

Climate change can lead to natural disasters. These disasters can lead to famine and the erosion of food security or large scale human displacement. This in turn can create refugee crises which in itself can lead to political instability. Nature therefore, is a huge security challenge when you consider the 'chain reactions' that it can potentially cause.

Ladies and gentlemen, the challenges that I touched upon, as well as the events of 2016 in general have shown us that the old barriers between traditional and non-traditional security threats have completely melted away. This was already the trend, but occurrences over the last couple of years has accelerated it. Meeting these challenges therefore will require us to be bold and ingenious. Solutions will not come easily or overnight. However, let me now share with you some thoughts on now what we can do to forge a path forward in these uncertain times. Again, I offer five of the most compelling: a reaffirmed commitment to multilateralism; renewed efforts at counter-terrorism; stronger cyber security initiatives; sub-regional approaches; and leadership.

Ladies and Gentlemen, first, there must be a renewed commitment on the part of all peace-loving countries to the various multilateral security processes regardless of what happens in certain states. In light of current and potential leadership transitions around the world, it is reasonable to anticipate certain changes to the security outlook and policy of some countries. President Donald Trump has a number of times highlighted the possibility of reducing certain US commitments overseas. While we hope that he will reconsider, given how crucial the Asia-Pacific is to America's security and economy, it is perhaps timely that ASEAN takes this challenge in filling up the vacuum as a result of certain policy changes that involves the superpowers of the world.

I believe for instance that the ADMM and the ADMM Plus frameworks allow for the enhancing of practical military cooperation to take place. This involves global major and middle powers in addressing the regional defence and security challenges whilst upholding regional values and interest. Indeed, I see both these initiatives as crucial parts of ASEAN's regional security architecture which provide with the flexibility to address fast-evolving challenges in a punishingly complex landscape.

The ADMM Plus platform since its inception have been very critical in addressing various areas of security concern ranging from Maritime Security, Counter Terrorism, Peace Keeping Operation, Humanitarian and Disaster Relief (HADR), Military Medicine, Humanitarian Mine Action and in the pipeline Cyber Security. We have also embarked on the Malacca Straits Patrol, involving Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand, which facilitates sea patrols, air surveillance or the Eye in the Sky and intelligence-gathering. Cooperation must also look into Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) operation. The ASEAN Military Ready Group (AMRG) established under the ADMM mechanism is one platform that can be explored in forging a practical form of cooperation in HADR. These measures will no doubt help to facilitate integration in our region regardless of the wider global scenario.

Ladies and Gentlemen, besides this, the threat of Daesh can only be met via closer cooperation between and within nations. This will require what I would like to call the S.E.A.L approach that is to say: Strategy, Engagement, Anticipation and Leadership. We need strategies to defeat radicalization. We must engage all internal and external stakeholders. We must do a better job at anticipating potential threats and we urgently need clear-sighted leadership to bring all of these things together.

Malaysia, I should add has its own successful deradicalization program under the Royal Malaysian Police which has garnered the interest of other countries around the world. In addition, Malaysia has been working very closely with Saudi Arabia to form a centre on countering the narratives and ideologies that underpins terrorism and radicalism in Islam. This ties very closely with His Majesty Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud's inaugural visit to Malaysia next month, where both Malaysia and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia have agreed that there is a need to rectify the many misconceptions about Islam, and to promote the religion in a holistic manner beyond the mere political dimensions which had led the Muslims to be divided especially on what constitutes to be the Islamic State.

At the regional level, we have also successfully conducted the ASEAN Wasatiyyah Forum in Kuala Lumpur late last year, promoting the concept of Moderation in addressing extremism. Indeed, it is heartening to note that all 10 ASEAN Defence Ministers at the 9th ADMM in Langkawi in Malaysia made a unanimous declaration to condemn terrorist acts carried out by extremists organizations and terrorist groups.

More recently, the resolute commitment made by President Trump in his inaugural speech to battle Islamic extremism - whilst it bolsters our common cause to combat terrorism - will definitely create reactionary forces which may increase the risks of lone-wolf attacks or even planned attacks. We must be vigilant of such eventualities and double up our efforts to cripple these vengeful acts of carnage. Defeating extremism will of course not be easy and might well be the cause of our lifetimes. However, I feel we have made a good a start as possible. We will never let the forces of perverted religion and hatred prevail over our hearts and minds.

Ladies and Gentlemen, there is also a need for us to think outside the box when confronting cyber threats and fake news. Some solutions to this are quite familiar. The Malaysian Armed Forces' very own Cyber Defence Operations Centre (ATM CDOC) which was recently launched will be fully operational by September 2017. This body will monitor cyber threats to our national defence system. The government has also enhanced cyber security control of Critical National Information Infrastructure (CNII) for 10 key sectors, including water, energy and banking.

For my part, I recently launched a cyber security awareness campaign in my own Ministry of Defence. I think it is also key that we work more closely with the private sector, academia and internet activists to strengthen our capacities in this regard.

Tanks and troops protecting our borders will not mean anything if the technological infrastructure on which these systems are built upon are vulnerable and prone to attacks.

Ladies and gentlemen, one very exciting possibility is the adoption of issue-driven sub-regional security initiatives. Our approach is always to prioritize ASEAN centrality. However, the reality of our very diverse political systems and foreign policy priorities mean that it is sometimes more productive to work via focused caucuses among member states. At the end of the day, these initiatives are fundamentally building blocks towards our greater goal of a secure and united ASEAN community.

An example of this approach which I have personally overseen include my efforts together with my Indonesian and Philippines counterparts to address the growing threat of 'Daesh-isation' in the common maritime areas between our countries. This Trilateral Sulu Sea initiative will see Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines closely cooperating to provide coordinated naval and air patrols in the waters and areas near the eastern coast of Malaysia. Militant groups in the area have internationalised their operations across boundaries, rejecting existing state identities and allegiances, and duplicating Daesh's modus operandi. A united multi-state front comprising a tri-nation military force will shatter any dreams of a utopian Islamic caliphate establishing itself in the region.

Ladies and Gentlemen, finally and I think most importantly, we need leadership. This is a topic that has lately been at the forefront of our minds and is likely to continue in light of the power transitions that we are now witnessing. Every nation, has its own criteria in defining what is good and what is necessary leadership. However, one constant is the need for leaders to be clear-headed and calm.

A leader is someone who can keep his head when everyone around them is losing theirs and blaming it on him or her. Leadership is also about listening, but also being firm in your convictions. It also calls for compromise, for up-lifting your followers rather than pandering to the lowest common denominator. It is an increasingly rare commodity in this day and age but one which we desperately need more than ever before.

Leadership also requires us to respect and play by the rules. As President Dwight Eisenhower – who was both a general and a statesman – once said: 'The peace we seek and need means much more than mere absence of war. It means the acceptance of law, and the fostering of justice, in all the world.'

Ladies and gentlemen, I have tried in the limited time available to discuss what I see are the major conundrums confronting us in this brave new world and how we might go about meeting them. I am here not to prophesize, but merely to outline what I see issues which may occupy us in this very near future. For a 'middle power' like Malaysia, this emerging global order presents us with dilemmas but also opportunities.

There is a pressing need for us to finally make progress on long-standing contentious matters like the South China Sea. Whether this progress is for good or ill rests solely on the shoulders of the nations of this region and its external partners. Malaysia for its part, firmly and unequivocally believes that this dispute can only be resolved through diplomacy and via multi-lateral institution such as ASEAN. We must also look beyond tired and childish notions of 'winners' and 'losers' for the simple fact that peace is a universal good and not a zero-sum game.

There has been as of late, a regrettable tendency to pigeon hole foreign relations in Asia Pacific as a series of false dichotomies. We are apparently being forced to choose the East or West, between China or the United States, between liberalism and populism. However, this goes against Asia's unique tradition of pluralism where different cultures, faiths and belief systems were able to co-exist and thrive for centuries. Securing the peace in our time, will require us to regain and enshrine this tradition in everything we do. Malaysia – whose DNA bears the best trace of moderation and pluralism – will always champion these sentiments in our dealings with the world.

Ladies and gentlemen, these months and years ahead will no doubt be lively, if not difficult. The one thing we can depend is that problems will arise. Meeting these problems will require strong and versatile responses. But more importantly, it will also require us to be resolute, unified and honest with each other. Let us never forget that we have the future of our children and their children in our hands. We have the power to leave them either destruction and suffering or peace and harmony. The choice really is ours to make. With that, I thank you all for listening to me and I wish you a very pleasant session ahead.

Thank you.

Fullerton Forum 2017: Special Address

Read more about the IISS Fullerton Forum 2017 >

Opening Remarks and Keynote Address

Opening Remarks: Dr John Chipman

As Delivered

Dr John Chipman, Director-General and Chief Executive, IISS
Welcome to the 15th Asia Security Summit, the IISS Shangri-La Dialogue. We are delighted to have again assembled such a large gathering of defence ministers and professionals to advance defence diplomacy and to debate Asia-Pacific security issues.

We are proud of 15 years of accomplishment. From experimental beginnings in 2002, the IISS has built Asia’s premier defence and security summit. Before 2002, in the Asia-Pacific, presidents and prime ministers met, foreign ministers met, finance ministers met, but defence ministers rarely gathered in groups of more than two. Much as a result of the success of this Dialogue, regional institutions, including the ASEAN defence ministers meeting and ADMM Plus, have been born. Inspiring astute defence diplomacy will be our enduring goal.

This is an important transition year. Since 2002, the number of defence ministers attending has doubled and total attendance has tripled. The initial structure for the IISS Shangri-La Dialogue is bearing a heavy weight. Moving towards 2017, we shall adjust the format of the Dialogue to fully accommodate the range of defence ministers we host and to ensure that we have a diversity of perspectives from all parts of Asia and from other participating regions. We shall make Saturday a day of plenaries, opening up five more major speaking slots, run our special sessions on a Sunday and conclude with three major ministerial statements in plenary. We shall introduce technological and other improvements, increase engagement from business, strengthen the involvement of the Asia-Pacific successor generation, and make other adjustments to give the IISS Shangri-La Dialogue a fresh look and feel, maintain it as the best event of its kind, and organise it to be an effective engine for defence diplomatic deeds as much as words.

For this anniversary year, we have made a special effort to provide the best intellectual underpinning to support our discussions.

In the weeks leading up to this 15th IISS Shangri-La Dialogue, the IISS has produced a remarkable range of material: facts, analysis and policy recommendations, relevant to the great issues at stake in the Asia-Pacific. Our Military Balance publication – by next year to be produced as a relational electronic database - provides the most detailed public information available of defence capacities and military trends in Asia. Our Asia-Pacific Regional Security Assessment, published specifically for this Dialogue, offers detailed analysis of key themes such as India’s role in the Asia-Pacific, the militarisation of the South China Sea, Vietnam’s major power diplomacy, regional maritime security initiatives, North Korea’s threat to regional security, naval capability development in the region, Asia’s growing defence-industrial capabilities, the migration – security nexus in the region, the potential threat from Islamic state, as well as relations across the Taiwan strait. Two IISS Adelphi books have been published in connection with this year’s Dialogue. One, by Nigel Inkster on China’s Cyber Power, provides the most comprehensive analysis, drawn from Chinese language sources and numerous meetings with Chinese cyber professionals, of China’ cyber capabilities and doctrine. Another, by Mark Fitzpatrick, Asia’s Latent Nuclear Powers, reviews the nuclear capabilities of Japan, Taiwan and Korea, and offers a reconfirmation of the role extended deterrence plays in keeping these capabilities latent. Finally, Sarah Raine has authored a powerful proposal entitled A Road Map to Strategic Relevance: EU Security Policy Options in Southeast Asia. In it she urges on arms sales: ‘get strategic’, on exercises: ‘get active’, on liaison officers: ‘get engaged’, on training: ‘get networking’, on values: ‘get visible’, and on thematic engagements: ‘prioritise clearly’. For those curious about how Europe could strengthen its security relationships with this region, it is essential reading.

Again, the IISS has created the factual and analytical context to support an informed Dialogue. We look forward to a balanced and detailed debate this year and also to constructive proposals for improving the defence and security environment.

One feature of the IISS Shangri-La Dialogue that has extraordinary appeal and importance is our tradition of inviting a regional head of government to offer the keynote address at our Opening Dinner. This year we have a leader of a large ASEAN country to inaugurate our 15th anniversary summit.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha came to politics late in his career, having risen through the Royal Thai Army’s officer corps to successive senior appointments as Commander of the 2nd Infantry Division, Commander of the 1st Army, Army Chief of Staff and – in 2010 – Army Commander-in-Chief. Following months of acute political conflict in Thailand, on 22 May 2014 General Prayut – then still army commander-in-chief – led a military intervention against the government of the Pheu Thai party. General Prayuth assumed control of the country as leader of the National Council for Peace and Order, which two months after the coup declared an interim constitution providing sweeping powers for the armed forces. In August 2014, the military-dominated national legislature appointed General Prayut as Prime Minister. He retired from his post as army C-in-C in October 2014. He and his government have subsequently pursued policies aimed at radically reforming Thailand’s political scene. A referendum on a new constitution is scheduled for 7 August this year. If the electorate approves the proposed New Constitution, the most important feature of which is a fully appointed and more powerful Senate, it will provide the framework for a return to democracy next year.

Perhaps inevitably, given the circumstances in which he and the NCPO came to power, Prayut Chan-o-cha’s tenure of office has attracted controversy. Among other things, he is well-known for his direct style of speaking, which is show-cased each week in his Friday night nationwide TV address, ‘Returning happiness to the people’. This Friday night, we are fortunate that he is addressing the Shangri-La Dialogue, particularly because he has not previously spoken extensively either to international audiences or on regional and international themes. We look forward tonight to hearing his exposition of Thailand’s outlook on regional security at a time of great complexity and rising tension in the Asia-Pacific strategic environment.

Mr Prime Minister, the floor is yours.

Keynote Address: Prayut Chan-o-cha

As Delivered

General (Retd) Prayut Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister, Thailand
His Excellency Mr Lee Hsien Loong, the Prime Minister of Singapore, Dr John Chipman, Director of the International Institute for Strategic Studies, honourable guests, ladies and gentlemen, today I am honoured to have been invited by the Prime Minister of Singapore and the Director to give an address at the Shangri-La Dialogue this year. Based on the success we’ve achieved during the past 14–15 years, we can confirm that this meeting has played a significant role in the promotion of cooperation in terms of regional security among all our countries. 

In addition, I am pleased to visit the Republic of Singapore once more after attending the celebrations of the 50th anniversary of independence last year. Singapore is a praiseworthy country as not only has it succeeded in national development, but it has also played a significant role in the promotion of regional security. Fourteen years ago, Mr Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore’s founding father and first prime minister, became the first Asia-Pacific leader to give an address on this stage. The key points that Mr Lee Kuan Yew observed about regional security have not changed significantly in terms of the main players, but regional security has become more complicated, more interdependent and more challenging. Mr Lee Kuan Yew predicted that many more countries would play a role in our region, that international terrorism would spread, as well as many other issues. 

I think our world has gone through many eras, from the Cold War, where the world was divided into two poles, to the present, where we have a multi-polar system and global security is interdependent. We have to rely on each other more. We have to face significant issues that affect global stability, whether in terms of long-standing threats, such as conflicts at sea or on land – the South China Sea and the Korean Peninsula – or new types of threats, which the whole world must face together in the same way, or in a similar way. This also extends to political conflicts, the economy, society, democracy – which may not yet be perfect – lack of good governance, energy and food insecurity, natural disasters, epidemics, international terrorism, the international drug trade, global warming, trans-boundary haze pollution, cyber crime, illegal fishing, human trafficking, irregular migration, ageing societies and so on. As a result, it is more difficult to maintain a security balance in today’s world. 

Thailand is an example of one country that has lost its balance in the last several years, even though we have had success in maintaining such balance in the past, such as in times of war and previous crises. At present, I think Thailand, with the cooperation of many parties both domestic and international, has returned to a more normal situation, even though there are still many more challenges awaiting us in the future. And that is why I am here today. The age of borderless globalisation, where communications and information technology allow us to reach each other in just a few seconds, continually gives rise to both crises and opportunity, and problems take on an international dimension. Based on this, everyone must consider that if the people of this world are happy, they will be happy together; and if they suffer, they will suffer together due to the issues I have mentioned. Consequently, the world is gradually shifting from the idea of one country, one goal to one world, one goal. All countries should consider how to cooperate to resolve these issues for equal benefit, to reduce suspicion and to build trust. 

Our regional architecture still lacks balance. Honourable guests, our regional architecture lacks balance. Resolving security issues together within the region must be based on a good regional architecture. The end of the Cold War saw this architecture become one of many powers, and there may not yet be any clear regulations or rules, which has resulted in uncertainty and has become an increasing challenge for all the countries of the region, especially small and developing countries. At present, the security and potential of the Asia-Pacific region has encouraged countries to implement policies to expand their role in terms of politics, the economy and society. The United States has implemented a rebalancing policy and has introduced the TPP free-trade policy, in which Thailand itself is interested and is considering joining. Studies and public hearings should be arranged by all regions, and I ask all member countries to consider the effects of this policy. This may enable many countries to come to a decision more quickly. 

In addition, China has introduced the One Belt, One Road policy, and drives free trade via the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP) and the Asia–Europe Parliamentary Partnership (ASEP), while Russia has a policy of focusing on Asia and the Eurasia Free Trade Area. India has a policy of focusing on the East. The United States, China and Japan are still significant players in the region, and India, Russia, South Korea and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) are becoming more significant players. While China believes that economic growth and its security developments are peaceful and constructive, many countries are concerned that these developments will affect the balance of power and security in the Asia-Pacific region. ASEAN must therefore be united and play a critical role in creating a new strategic balance in the region in order to promote an area of peace and assist all parties in following mutually accepted regulations and values in a constructive way. 

For almost half a century, ASEAN has shown, to our satisfaction, that we have been able to create an area of peace among members that may have once been in conflict, and achieve the vision of ASEAN’s founders to be a dynamic community for the future. This is a challenge for which I think the experts at this meeting today will be able to find a solution or find the appropriate balance for the region, by searching for ways to cooperate, lay foundations, set common standards and practices, search for cooperation and engage in joint activities, regardless of the differences between each country, in order to close the gaps, quickly create balance in the regional architecture, prevent potential future issues and, most importantly, bring sustainable security, prosperity and stability to all the countries of the region. We will not leave any country or anyone behind, and we will do this for our mutual benefit and for the future of the next generation.  

Honourable guests, we must consider how to prepare ourselves. Are we ready? Security must be the starting point for every country. Stability in every aspect is the key. No country can face all these different types of threat alone. Consequently, concepts that focus on each country’s own national security may not be so effective in resolving the issue as a whole. 

We must expand our focus to regional security and global security. How can we cover economic, food, water, energy and cyber security, and many other issues? Everything I’ve been talking about relates to the issue of security, and not just military strength. We must brainstorm in an effort to solve this jigsaw in a constructive way, to create our ideal of a beautiful world as quickly as possible. Honourable guests, regarding the concept of creating regional balance: even though we must face issues that significantly affect global security, we can find a way. How will we cooperate? I think the basic principles are as follows: 1) understanding each other; 2) cooperating with each other; 3) supporting each other; and 4) giving opportunities to and supporting countries confronting these issues, so that they are able to resolve their internal problems. Because if a country does not receive outside support to resolve its internal problems itself, those problems may become even more complicated, and escalate to affect the security of all countries worldwide, such as has happened and is currently happening in every corner of the world. We must find a new balance as soon as possible to resolve this problem. Otherwise, those of us with the duty of maintaining security will fail in our work. 

We must therefore work together towards four common goals in regional and global security: to secure peace, sustainable growth, mutual progress and environmental conservation. As a result, we must establish a common standpoint to reach our common goal by searching for agreement and reserving our differences as much as possible. All countries must change all their paradigms from confrontation to cooperation under the notion that we must be strong together, and most importantly, must not leave anyone behind – from conflict to connections, from mutual benefit to mutual values, and from the concept of win–lose to the concept of win–win. These paradigms are based on the 3M principle: mutual trust, mutual respect and mutual benefit, which will become the new balance of supporting each other and not leaving anyone behind. 

I believe that the way to adjust this balance must be based on a supportive environment, which must include the following seven components: 

1. Promotion of trust between countries in the region takes time and familiarity, so countries must cooperate on a continual basis following Asia’s culture of giving; that is, the more you give, the more you receive; so the more you trust, the more security you enjoy. 

2. Appropriate partnership and assistance, such as group or tripartite partnerships. Countries in the region should promote these partnerships, such as through international cooperation between medium-developed countries, international development between highly developed countries and less-developed countries, or through superpowers cooperating with and supporting highly developed countries, developing countries and underdeveloped countries simultaneously, in line with each country’s potential, in order to reduce the gap as much as possible in every aspect. 

3. Not choosing sides or causing divisions. There are many powers in today’s world. Small and medium-sized countries need to build allegiances with other surrounding countries and must work closely together to build an appropriate balance. Most countries do not want to be forced to choose sides. We want sincerity and understanding from all our allies. 

4. Promotion of cooperation between superpowers who will become significant players in the region. Superpowers should find ways to cooperate more in order to promote balance. This will not only benefit the superpowers, but also all the countries in the region as a whole. So we will be able to say that we really helped each other to make this world more equal. 

5. Countries in the region should change how they maintain their sovereignty to promote each other more in order to strengthen mutual security in the long term. It is true that countries still focus on national-security policies, but the foundation of ASEAN 49 years ago is an example of integration to all cooperative organisations in every region of the world. This clearly reflects a better choice by participating in maintaining mutual security, consideration of mutual benefit, and respect for international law and international rules. I believe this will be the real direction of security in the future, whereby boundary lines are lines of cooperation, rather than lines of division that cause increased conflict.

6. Promotion of development in tandem with security. Security is the foundation on which economic progress, society and culture is built. On the other hand, mankind’s security issues can cause devastation. Thailand focuses on resolving issues at the root cause through internal development. The government has laid a balanced, secure, and politically, economically and socially sustainable foundation. The introduction of civil policies to every sector of society can play a part in national development, as well as the application of the philosophical principle of a sustainable economy of His Majesty the King, who has more than 40 years’ experience in development and was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award for Human Development by the United Nations ten years ago, which is consistent with the United Nations’ sustainable-development agenda. As Thailand chairs the Group of 77 in 2016, my and the Thai government’s proposal at this meeting is that in Thailand today we are not just working for Thailand or Thai people. This proposal is based on the concept of reducing inequality between countries and is consistent with the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Most importantly, it is consistent with resolving issues by mutual development, searching for the potential of every country and helping to support each other, without leaving any country behind, and creating a role in which we can cooperate with ASEAN and other communities with honour upon the world stage. For me, having been a soldier for several decades, I believe that soldiers should not limit their role to the protection of their country’s sovereignty alone. We should also play a role in supporting national development in order to help to lay a foundation of sustainable security, which is a role that has been established in every edition of the Thai Constitution. Thailand itself has participated in United Nations peacekeeping missions in various countries, such as in Timor Leste, Burundi, Sudan and many other places, where Thai peacekeeping forces not only fought to maintain security, but also spread the philosophical principle of a sustainable economy and to help improve the quality of life for the people of those countries. 

7. Regional and global peace and stability is of mutual benefit to all countries. Thailand supports and is ready to cooperate in maintaining regional peace and stability by peaceful means, on the basis of international law, and in the various missions we must engage in together. There are at least seven critical challenges and security issues about which we must cooperate in our debates and seminars, and find ways of alleviating in these two days: 

Number one: The issue of tensions in the South China Sea and East China Sea. Thailand believes that ASEAN should be united on this issue, as the peace and stability of the seas in the region is of mutual benefit to all countries. All parties must consider the importance of maintaining peace and stability in the South China Sea, East China Sea and South China Sea, the stability of airspace, shipping and supporting the resolution of regional maritime-territory issues peacefully on the basis of international law and maritime law. Thailand believes that complying with every article of the Declaration of Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) fully and effectively will create an environment that is able to facilitate negotiations to directly resolve related international issues and expedite the completion of DOC. Countries that lay territorial claims must display the political will to alleviate conflict at every opportunity and on every stage, in order to cooperate in considering the possibility of alleviating the problem. The crux of the matter is that a regional maritime-territory issue should not become a game of win–lose, as this will damage long-standing good relations and ultimately no one will benefit. Countries in the region should change their perspectives on maritime-territory issues to consider the mutual benefit of all parties. Thailand proposes that countries in the region, both those laying and not laying a claim to maritime territory, carry out constructive activities together for their own mutual benefit, focusing on tangible results on the basis of international law. We should first consider how to conduct constructive joint activities with all stakeholders in tandem with negotiations, as we do not want border issues to escalate into major obstacles. Let them be boundaries of cooperation, both today and in the future. 

Number two: The situation in the Korean Peninsula. North Korea’s nuclear-weapons programme continues to create tensions and to be a regional concern. There should be a renewal of the Six-Party Talks mechanism in order to build trust and reduce tensions on the basis of diplomatic principles, patience and tolerance. Countries should consider strengthening the foundation of humanitarian aid to the population and maintain a channel of engagement with the government at an appropriate level in order to allow North Korea sufficient space in the global community to facilitate negotiations and support a change in attitudes in line with the global community, rather than simply leaving North Korea in isolation. 

Number three: Terrorism and extremism, such as the terrorist attacks that have taken place in many locations, have confirmed that international terrorism is a mutual threat to the region and the international community. We must cooperate to prevent the expansion of terrorism by using both development and military measures, understanding the law, and promoting the exchange of experiences and best practices relating to the middle way: knowledge, understanding of religion and ethnicity, and resolving issues at the root cause. For example, a lack of economic and social opportunity, poverty, drought, violations of human rights and unfair treatment, as well as deeply rooted conflicts, if left unresolved, undeterred and not prevented, may lead to internal uprisings in many countries. 

Number four: The proliferation of arms should be limited to that which is required in order to protect a nation’s sovereignty and maintain national interests. Arms should not be held for the purpose of invading or threatening other countries. 

Number five: Irregular migration should be the mutual responsibility of the source countries, intermediate countries and destination countries. The burden to resolve the issue must not be forced on any one country. The appropriate way to resolve the problem is to start at the source by improving education and quality of life, reducing inequality and eliminating injustice on the basis of humanity and human rights. In the past, Thailand has participated in supporting this issue, and a meeting on irregular migration in the Indian Ocean has also been held in Thailand for all parties to discuss the issue together. If we fail to completely resolve this problem, the intermediate countries will become tacit waiting rooms for gangs of human-traffickers. 

Number six: Cyber security. We must establish designated monitoring organisations in every country, employ the same measures to apply the law consistently, build cooperation in terms of intelligence, technology, personnel development and training, and consider how to balance human rights and security when enforcing the law. 

Final point: Environmental changes and alleviating natural disasters. Natural disasters affect regional and global prosperity and sustainability. Droughts and floods affect the agricultural sector and food security, and natural and environmental resources are global property. We must therefore help each other to preserve them, no matter in which country they reside. In order to alleviate natural disasters and public hazards, countries in the region should cooperate, exchange technology and support knowledge, such as in terms of medicine, which will in turn provide humanitarian assistance and help to alleviate disasters, including in terms of armed forces and army-engineer development. 

Honourable guests, Thailand is currently in a period of transition. There is a correlation between the security of each country and regional security. The future of Thailand is linked to regional security, progress and stability. Thailand is ready to be a partner and play a role in laying the foundation for the promotion of sustainable regional security. Similarly, what must we do to ensure that Thai national-security issues do not affect the stability of ASEAN and the region? 

I would like to share Thailand’s experiences and ideas with you regarding this. Thailand is in a period of transition to a robust and sustainable democracy. We are also facing challenging, complex and multidimensional security issues. Thai national security is plagued by issues of poverty and an unequal society. We are stuck in a middle-income trap, exacerbated by reduced agricultural productivity due to drought and a slump in prices caused by the global economic crisis. Thailand is also facing unrest in some areas, which is an issue within Thailand, but not a religious conflict, and no foreign nationals have become involved. We are in the process of resolving these issues using the law and the usual judicial process, and by building understanding in each of these areas. In addition, Thailand is also facing the issue of refugees and is in need of international workers to support as many as a million refugees. This has caused social problems, human-trafficking and illegal fishing, as well as crime and human-rights violations. 

The current Thai government is resolving these issues as quickly as possible. However, the issue that affects us most is political conflict and a more divided population than has never been seen before. The roots of the problem are political parties that claim to be democratic and demand unlimited rights to freedom, but ultimately act in a way that leads to poor governance and misuse of the government budget, whether for personal gain or in terms of populist policies which cause further problems, or for corruption, which leads to conflict or political conflict, and often it is not possible to find a solution to these problems by democratic means. We are constrained by the law, large numbers of people are mobilised, there is fighting, the media is prone to choosing sides, the facts are distorted until conflict escalates into violence, violations of the law, and ultimately the use of weapons in fighting between groups. This has resulted in a disorderly society. Many groups demand only their own rights to freedom, while violating the rights of others, which is considered an offence. We must consider other people too, so that the enforcement of the law does not lead to the army being called on to put an end to the situation, leading to a coup. 

It should not have to be like this. We have to consider how to reform the country and how to unlock these issues. If we ignore them, Thailand will lose its balance, which may lead to conflict and civil war. These circumstances gave me no choice but one internal method, which is to use military force to restabilise the country – which had developed a power vacuum at that time – and to use the democratic process in order to stop the violence and economic damage being done to our society, and to bring peace and stability, so that we are able to repair and strengthen our democracy to make it robust and sustainable. This is what everyone wants, as soon as possible. At this time, there may still be defamation, distortion of the truth, and a lack of facts on social media, both domestically and abroad, perpetrated by certain groups. 

The challenge to Thailand at present is how to resolve these issues and what to do to make the global community understand that we do not wish to violate the rights of the people and limit their basic rights to freedom. However, in these circumstances it is necessary for the army and officials to control the situation for a short period only in order to prevent more violence and further escalation, and to enforce the law and to return order to society. Our reforms have so far been effective. However, all actions taken at this time must be on the basis of the law. Everyone must respect all existing laws. When an offence is committed, the law will be enforced. This does not, therefore, constitute a violation of human rights, though there is a fine between law enforcement and such violations. Additionally, officials must be punished if they deliberately commit an offence. 

The current resolution of Thailand’s issues is for the purpose of maintaining peace and order, and to resolve political issues, which will in turn lead to democracy, bringing harmony to the population, resolving economic issues, expediting the building of confidence in Thai and foreign investors – both domestically and overseas, putting [the topic of] corruption on the national agenda, modernising the law and bringing it up to international standards, reforming the civil service, bringing order to society, reducing inequality, strengthening the country from the inside – from the household level to the national level, inviting all sectors of society to resolve these issues together, reducing inequality at its source, and bringing forth an era of sustainable development. 

In addition, Thailand is also focused on improving the country’s competitiveness in order to step beyond the middle-income trap and be ready to sustainably enter the fourth industrial revolution with the Thailand 4.0 policy. This will be achieved by reforming Thailand’s existing five industries and also promoting five new industries in which Thailand has the potential to succeed. Honourable guests, in creating a new balance, Thailand believes that there are various issues that must be taken care of together, and it is not possible to succeed in everything within a limited period of time. Thailand has a 20-year national strategy, as do many other countries. At this time, we have the first, second and third road maps. We will complete what we can as soon as possible. Whatever we are unable to complete, we will allocate to the 20-year national strategy. We would like, I would like, all our allies to stand with us during this period of Thai history. If we are able to bring peace and security to the country successfully, other reforms will be easier. We will be able to create a new balance, a new understanding. 

Today, I can confirm that Thailand will return to democracy according to the established road maps in every respect. There have been no changes. We continue to be committed to the democratic process and the legal obligations of the global community, as always. I believe you may be able to use some of what I have said to your benefit. In summary, the balance and strength of Thailand will also help to maintain balance within ASEAN to ensure that it remains robust and sustainable, and plays a role in creating a new balance in the Asia-Pacific region. Improving security in a sustainable way takes time, trust and political will from all countries concerned on the basis of mutual benefit, respect for sovereignty and international law, and refraining from using your own ideology as a precondition and an obstacle to cooperation. I believe that we must first look from the outside in to see these issues and apply appropriate methods of conflict management, as we seek to resolve these issues from the inside out. The balance of security or of sustainability should be all-encompassing, covering military security and developmental security, which will bring safety and sustainable progress to local populations. I believe that the Asia-Pacific region is large enough to create a new strategic balance and progress together. 

Thailand is ready to be a partner and to play a constructive role in order to improve security, prosperity and sustainability in the region, without leaving any party behind. Finally, I believe that the UNESCO Constitution is correct about what we must all do in order to bring about sustainable security: since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defence of peace must begin. Thank you. Goodbye.

Keynote Address Q&A

As Delivered

Dr John Chipman, Director-General and Chief Executive, IISS
Mr Prime Minister, thank you very much for your remarks and for rooting them so carefully in the statements made at previous Shangri-La Dialogues, and for touching, as is right for a keynote address, on virtually every topic that we are likely to address at this year’s Shangri-La Dialogue. We have time for three or four questions, so I will recognise three or four people from the floor. The first person who catches my eye, I think that’s General Yao of the People’s Liberation Army in China. If you stand up, then the microphone will come to you all the quicker. General Yao?

Major General Yao Yunzhu, Senior Fellow, Academy of Military Science, People's Liberation Army, China
Thank you, Dr Chipman, and thank you, Prime Minister Prayut. Thank you for your excellent speech, and thank you for sharing your vision of regional and global security affairs with us and particularly, I want to thank you for your sharing with us the Thailand approach to seek equilibrium in keeping security and sustainable growth. My question actually has to do with ASEAN, because you mentioned in your speech ASEAN’s role in regional security. For almost half a century, ASEAN has developed a way of dealing with disputes among member states in a peaceful way. My question is: do you see in the future an expanding regional or even global role for ASEAN to play in security affairs, especially those you have mentioned, the security challenges that you have mentioned in your speech?

Dr John Chipman, Director-General and Chief Executive, IISS
Thank you very much. Prime Minister, do you see an enlarging role for ASEAN, including on a number of the issues that you raised in your speech? 

General (Retd) Prayut Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister, Thailand
I think that the role of ASEAN in terms of security can be significantly strengthened in many respects, but if we consider the issue of security alone, I think we will run into some issues. We must therefore find other ways. It’s like when we make a journey, if we want to find the shortest and closest route, we have to use many roads, and we travel together. Sometimes we use different routes, and sometimes we use the same route. I think these things are possible, and I recently heard the Chinese prime minister mention something that I think may lead to a positive outcome. When parties have different opinions, we must take them into consideration in order to find a better way in current situations of conflict. I think there is a solution to many of these issues. We just have to work out how to find them, or perhaps we must analyse the hidden message in what the leaders of each country say. It’s sometimes not possible for leaders to tell the whole story. So I think these kinds of things can make us stronger if we think based on the ideas that, firstly, we cannot solve these issues on our own, and secondly, we must be strong together on the basis of cooperation.

Dr Chung Min Lee, Professor of International Relations, Graduate School of International Studies, Yonsei University; Member of the Council, IISS, Republic of Korea
Thank you, Mr Prime Minister. My question is, you mentioned equilibrium and a passing reference to collective security. My personal view: the biggest threat to equilibrium in this region is China’s growing military footprints in the South China Sea. You also mentioned that ASEAN will play a key role in maintaining harmony and stability. My question to you, sir, is, as a key member of ASEAN, how do you perceive your neighbours’ concern, in particular Vietnam and the Philippines, on China’s growing, more assertive status in the South China Sea, and what would you suggest that ASEAN would do to ensure that there will be strategic stability in this region? Thank you.

General (Retd) Prayut Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister, Thailand
In my opinion, if we have the mindset that every issue is a conflict, then they will all become conflicts. As I mentioned before, we should consider what to do to reduce conflict. If we consider only our boundaries, it won’t work. We won’t be able to resolve everything as there will always be sticking points. How can we officially cooperate on all the issues in which we are stakeholders? In the past, Thailand has been a coordinator. This time, Singapore is coordinating this issue. I believe some progress has been made in that there has not yet been a significant escalation of violence. The most important thing we have to do today, therefore, is to work out how to use this stage to find answers, in terms of what all member countries can do to cooperate in a constructive way. I believe everyone understands what constructive cooperation is like, and whether we can put a stop to the existing issues. However, it also depends on the negotiating partners, right? It’s difficult to find mutual agreement on this issue. As I’ve mentioned before, we should forfeit some things, but we shouldn’t give in to the extent that it causes problems. I don’t think anyone is giving up any ground, but it’s necessary to give up ground on some issues in the interests of the happiness, safety and peace of our region. 
I’d like to say, although my words may be too strong, that whatever is in conflict, whether land or sea, whatever happens, it will remain in the same place. This is just my own personal opinion. It may not be correct. Our generation is here today, and this area is located here. Even though we won't be here in the future, this area will still be in the same location. So today, okay, we can discuss to whom it belongs, but we should also consider what we can do to cooperate on this issue without conflict, and if in the future we have the time and opportunity, we will be able to discuss it again. I think it’s difficult to do what I’ve said. It’s easy to say, but difficult to do, as I’ve been saying for many years. We must depend on all the members to help us find an answer about what to do in the future. Many more issues such as this will arise. At the moment, there are only extreme views. There’s no middle way. So we must find a middle way that leads to mutual benefit for both sides without involving anyone else too much. It’s an issue for ASEAN to resolve. It’s an issue for all of us to discuss with the understanding and support of the surrounding countries. Thank you.

Dr Sophie Boisseau du Rocher, Senior Research Fellow, Asia Centre, French Institute for International Relations (IFRI), France
Thank you, Prime Minister, for your speech. You said that we are now living in a globalised world without borders, and you also said that sovereignty should be understood in less traditional terms. My question is: how do you reconcile these terms, and how in your opinion and experience nationalism can cooperate with a borderless world?

General (Retd) Prayut Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister, Thailand
I think the answer to this is simple, quite simple, but it’s difficult to do. The word ‘nationalism’ is important. When I alluded to this, I didn’t mean that sovereignty wasn’t necessary and boundaries weren’t necessary. All countries need boundaries and their own nationalism, but if we just consider our own country alone, as I mentioned a moment ago, if we only think of ourselves, we won’t be able to resolve any issues in this world. In the future, the issues will escalate day by day and become more entangled – not only the issue of boundaries, but also many other issues, around seven or eight points, as I mentioned a moment ago. We must consider these issues from the perspective of how to make the world a peaceful place. We must focus on the ultimate goal. 

Today, there is a lot of conflict. This is the issue. This is the problem. We must find an answer from the perspective that we want a peaceful world. We must all look for points on which we can agree, hold our positions and resolve the problems step by step. We may not be able to resolve them together today, within these few days. It’s not like ordering someone to do something: they do it and then they finish. So these issues affect the minds of men, the people of each nation facing these issues at this time. What can we do to bring these two things together, to resolve these issues at the same time as understanding each other and to support them to resolve the issues in a way that they would like? We must all find answers to these issues during these two days. I hope you’ll all be able to find some answers for me during these two days. The answers to the questions you’ve asked are all here. What happens next is up to us. Thank you.

Dr John Chipman, Director-General and Chief Executive, IISS
Mr Prime Minister, thank you very much. I presented you to this audience as a straight-talking statesman. You have provided us with straight talking, but also with a great deal of food for thought, particularly for how this Dialogue can help support our joint endeavours in more effective defence diplomacy. Thank you very much for your address. Thank you very much for honouring us with your presence. Thank you very much for this year’s 15th anniversary. Thank you.

Meeting Asia’s Complex Security Challenges

Meeting Asia’s Complex Security Challenges: Ashton Carter

As Delivered

Dr John Chipman, Director-General and Chief Executive, IISS
Ladies and gentlemen, we will in the next minute wish to open the 15th Asia Security Summit, IISS Shangri-La Dialogue, with our First Plenary Session. I will begin with a few words of thanks, and a few brief organisational statements. The words of thanks to the Prime Minister of Thailand and the delegation from the Kingdom of Thailand for all the support they have given the IISS and for the splendid speech that the Prime Minister delivered to our opening dinner last night. We are very grateful for his endorsement of the IISS Shangri-La Dialogue process, and for its useful contribution to defence diplomacy.

With those prefatory remarks, let me introduce the First Plenary Session, which is on the theme Meeting Asia’s Complex Security Challenges. And I am delighted that we have a friend of the IISS and a friend of the Shangri-La Dialogue to address us again this year. Dr Ash Carter has been in Singapore for over a day and has had an extremely busy schedule. We were very grateful at the IISS that he took time out of an extraordinarily busy schedule to meet some of our young leaders that we brought together at this Shangri-La Dialogue. It was a very powerful sign of the commitment the Secretary has to the successor generation of strategists, and I know that they were very touched by his attending a photo opportunity with them and by his addressing them not just as Asian leaders but as global leaders, which I think was a very important remark given the place of the Asia-Pacific in the global system and the realities of globalisation.

Ash Carter is a defence intellectual practitioner. I think I introduced him last year as having degrees both in medieval history and theoretical physics, a combination of educational experience that I think vital for a modern-day secretary of defense. He has served, informally or formally, 11 secretaries of defense, and is himself the 25th Secretary of Defense of the United States. This is his second consecutive appearance at the IISS Shangri-La Dialogue, and it is with great pleasure that I invite him to take the podium and to address us this morning. Thank you.

Dr Ashton Carter, Secretary of Defense, United States
Well, thank you, John. Good morning, everyone. I want to thank John, first of all, for inviting me to speak again this year, and IISS also for, again, bringing us all together in this forum. For 15 years now – and by the way, I attended the very first Shangri-La Dialogue – IISS has been fostering the discussions and the debates that have shaped the dynamic of Asia-Pacific security, stability and prosperity in this still-young century. Thanks for doing so.

Thanks as well for the dinner last evening, which featured a thoughtful keynote by Thailand Prime Minister Prayut. And I would also like to thank our national hosts, Singapore, for welcoming us again this year. To the Prime Minister and others, thank you. President Obama looks forward to hosting the Prime Minister in Washington in August. This nation, where we are right now, in its incredible rise, is the quintessential example of the remarkable progress in this region over the past 70 years.

Miracle after miracle has occurred here: Japan, then Taiwan, South Korea, Singapore and Southeast Asia rose and prospered, and now China and India and others are rising and prospering. And continued progress is being made daily by young innovators in Hanoi and technology companies in Mumbai, by the transition in Burma, and by avid consumers in China, the universities in Seoul and the bustling Strait of Malacca that I flew over yesterday.

There are many who share the credit for this success: this region’s proud, industrious citizens, first and foremost; the statesmen in this region’s past, including the late Lee Kuan Yew, whom we continue to honour, and the many statesmen among you today; the policymakers, business leaders, military officials, scholars and non-governmental leaders who work to make this region stable and prosperous. And in addition to all these individuals, it is also to the credit of shared principles – principles that have long been accepted and collectively upheld.

All that progress has led to historic change in the Asia-Pacific. Most of the change has been positive: country after country is seeking to play a greater role in regional affairs, and that is for the good. But not all change in the region has been as constructive. Indeed, tensions in the South China Sea, North Korea’s continued nuclear missile provocations and the dangers of violent extremism felt worldwide pose challenges for the region’s stability and prosperity. So as the region continues to change, forward-thinking statesmen and leaders must once again come together to ensure a positive and principled future, one where everybody and every nation continues to have the opportunity and freedom to rise, to prosper and to win.

Thankfully, this room is full of such statesmen and leaders, and so is this region. And I want to talk to you all about how we can come together, how we can continue to build a principled security network that will allow additional waves of miracles and human progress, and ensure regional stability and prosperity for years to come.

You may recall that at the end of my remarks last year, I projected conversations we might have at a future Shangri-La. If we continue to cooperate on security, I posited, we would one day be discussing a US–China–India multilateral maritime exercise, a Japan–Republic of Korea joint disaster response in the South China Sea and an ASEAN-wide security network. Over the last year, we have made progress toward that vision. China and India will both participate once again in the US-hosted RIMPAC naval exercise this summer. Japan and the Republic of Korea are engaging with each other in new ways. And through and in addition to the ASEAN-centric security network that is developing in Southeast Asia, nations across the entire Asia-Pacific are increasingly working together – and networking security together.

By doing so, our nations are making a choice for a principled and inclusive future, one as bright and miraculous as the recent past, a future where every country, no matter how big or small, is free to make its own political, economic and military choices, free from coercion and intimidation, where disputes are resolved peacefully and the freedoms of navigation and overflight, guaranteed by international law, are respected. And where, as a result, every person and every nation has the opportunity to rise and prosper and win.

We all have an interest in realising that future, and a responsibility to bring it about. Now, unlike elsewhere in the world, peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific has never been managed by a region-wide formal structure comparable to NATO in Europe. That has made sense for this region, with its unique history, geography and politics, and where bilateral relationships have long served as the bedrock of regional security.

And yet, as the region continues to change and becomes more interconnected politically and economically, the region’s militaries are also coming together in new ways. They are building connections for a common purpose: upholding the security and stability critical to a principled and prosperous future. And these connections are now helping our countries plan together, exercise and train together, and operate together more effectively and efficiently than ever before.

Now, this growing Asia-Pacific security network includes, but is more than, some extension of existing alliances. It weaves everyone’s relationships together – bilateral, trilateral and multilateral – to help all of us do more over greater distances with greater economy of effort. It enables us to take coordinated action to respond to contingencies like humanitarian crises and disasters; to meet common challenges, such as terrorism; and to ensure the security of and equal access to the global and regional commons, including vital waterways. You can see this networked approach in our collective responses to Typhoon Haiyan in 2013 and the Nepal earthquake last year.

Most importantly, this is a principled security network. It is inclusive, since any nation and any military – no matter its capability, budget or experience – can contribute. Everyone gets a voice, no one is excluded and, hopefully, no one excludes themselves. And as this security network reflects the principles our countries have collectively promoted and upheld for decades, it will help us realise the principled future that many in the region have chosen and are working together toward.

By expanding the reach of all and by responsibly sharing the security burden, this principled network represents the next wave in Asia-Pacific security. And the United States is fully committed to this principled security network and to the Asia-Pacific’s principled future. That is because this region, which is home to nearly half the world’s population and nearly half the global economy, remains the most consequential for America’s own security and prosperity.

So even as the United States counters Russian aggression and coercion in Europe, as well as checks Iranian aggression and malign influence in the Middle East and also accelerates ISIL’s certain defeat, America’s approach to the Asia-Pacific remains one of commitment and strength and inclusion.

Last Friday, I spoke with the newest class of American Navy and Marine Corps officers as they graduated from the US Naval Academy. These are some of the finest young men and women America has to offer. And I explained to them that the United States has long and enduring diplomatic, economic and security interests in the Asia-Pacific, and their role in it.

As a result, the United States has for decades contributed to the region’s diplomatic, economic and security affairs, including during times when some wrongly predicted an impending American withdrawal from the Asia-Pacific. In fact, decade after decade – in the 1970s, the 1980s, the 1990s and the 2000s – we have heard that the United States would cede its role as the primary security provider in the Asia-Pacific. And indeed, decade after decade, day in, day out, American soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines have worked here, most often with your nations, to help ensure this region’s security and uphold a common set of principles for all our countries to follow, so that every nation and everyone in this region could rise and prosper.

That has been America’s objective and America’s practice for decades. Regardless of what else was going on at home or in other parts of the world, during Democratic and Republican administrations, in times of surplus and deficit, war and peace, the United States has remained economically, politically and militarily engaged, as well as, of course, geographically located in the Asia-Pacific. And as I told those new officers, they will be doing the same in the years ahead and over the course of their long careers. That is because US engagement in the Asia-Pacific is in America’s interest.

And the congressional representation here today, including Chairman McCain and Senators Barrasso, Cotton, Ernst, Gardner, Graham and Sullivan, demonstrates that America’s commitment to the region, and the rebalance to the Asia-Pacific in particular, is not transient. It is enduring. And that is because the logic of and the need for and the value of American engagement in the Asia-Pacific is irrefutable. And it is proven over decades.

President Obama launched the rebalance to ensure the United States continued to approach this changing region with commitment, strength and inclusion. Indeed, the rebalance is an affirmative investment in – and a US government-wide commitment to – the Asia-Pacific’s principled future. Through the rebalance, the United States has re-energised our diplomacy in the region. Just look at recent months. The President hosted the first-ever US–ASEAN summit at Sunnylands. President Obama made historic visits to Vietnam and Japan just last week, his tenth trip to the region. I am now on my fifth trip to the region, and it will not be my last. And my colleague and friend John Brennan, our CIA director, is also attending the Shangri-La Dialogue this weekend. Several of my Cabinet colleagues, meanwhile, will attend next week’s US–China Strategic and Economic Dialogue. Prime Minister Modi will be in Washington next week, and Prime Minister Lee, as I said, will visit the next month. In other words, this is a busy month in a busy year, but one that is representative of America’s increased attention and engagement in the region.

The United States is also strengthening economic ties with the region. For example, over the last seven years, US–ASEAN trade has expanded by 55%. Since last year’s Shangri-La Dialogue, we have completed negotiations on the important Trans-Pacific Partnership deal, or TPP, which will bind the United States more closely together with 11 other economies, unlock economic opportunities for all of us and guarantee a trade system of high standard.

And the Defense Department, for our part, is operationalising its part of the rebalance, too, cementing it for the future. That means the United States will remain, for decades, the primary provider of regional security and a leading contributor to the region’s principled security network. To do so, the Defense Department is continuing to send its best people, including some of those new naval officers and marines I spoke with last week, and also its most advanced capabilities to the Asia-Pacific. That includes F-22 and F-35 stealth fighter jets, P-8 Poseidon maritime-patrol aircraft, continuous deployments of B-2 and B-52 bombers and our newest surface-warfare ships.

The Defense Department is also investing in new capabilities critical to the rebalance. We are growing the number of surface ships and making each of them more capable, and we are investing in Virginia-class submarines, new undersea drones, the new B-21 Long-Range Strike Bomber, as well as in areas like cyber, electronic warfare and space.

The Defense Department maintains its world-leading capabilities because the United States has made incomparable investments in it over decades. And, as a result, it will take decades or more for anyone to build the kind of military capability the United States possesses. This strength is not simply about dollar figures. We harness those dollars to America’s innovative and technological culture to develop revolutionary technologies. And that military edge is strengthened and honed in unrivalled and hard-earned operational experience over the last 15 years. No other military possesses this kind of skill and agility backed by this much experience.

The Defense Department is also developing innovative strategies and operational concepts. And the US military is practising these new ideas in training exercises, both on our own and with partners, none larger than this summer’s RIMPAC, which will bring together 27 countries for an opportunity to network.

As RIMPAC demonstrates, America’s defence relationships with allies and partners are the foundation of US engagement in the Asia-Pacific, and those relationships are expanding, modernising. While it would take me too long to go through every valuable partnership, you can see the breadth and depth of our bilateral efforts with some of the actions the United States and its allies and partners have taken just since last year’s Shangri-La Dialogue.

For example, the US–Japan alliance remains the cornerstone of Asia-Pacific security. And with the new Defense Guidelines that Minister Nakatani and I signed last year, the US–Japan alliance has never been stronger or more capable of contributing to security around the region and beyond.

Similarly, the US–Australia alliance is more and more a global one. As our two nations work together to uphold the freedom of navigation and overflight across this region, we are also accelerating the defeat of ISIL together in Iraq and Syria.

America’s alliance with the Philippines is as close as it has been in decades. Through the new landmark Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement, or EDCA, the United States is supporting the modernisation of the Philippine Armed Forces. EDCA provides the opportunity for American and Filipino military personnel to regularly train, exercise and operate together, including through new joint maritime patrols.

Another developing partnership, the US–India military relationship, is as close as it has ever been. Through our strategic handshake, with the United States reaching west in its rebalance and India reaching east in Prime Minister Modi’s Act East policy, our two nations are exercising together by air, land and sea. And there is also a technological handshake: we are moving toward deeper and more diverse defence co-development and co-production, including on aircraft-carrier design and construction. Minister Parrikar and I will identify new ways to cooperate in advance of Prime Minister Modi’s visit to Washington next week.

Meanwhile, President Obama’s historic visit to Hanoi last week was the latest demonstration of the dramatically strengthened US–Vietnam partnership. Thanks in part to the leadership of Senator McCain, who is present here today, the United States has lifted the ban on lethal-weapons sales to Vietnam. Now Vietnam will have greater access to the military equipment it needs.

Finally, the US–Singapore relationship continues to grow. Just yesterday, I flew over the Strait of Malacca with my counterpart Minister Ng in one of the American P-8 surveillance aircraft that is now part of a rotational deployment here. That rotation is one of the many examples, including Singapore’s hosting four American littoral-combat ships, of how our two countries are working together to build cooperation, provide security and respond to crises in Southeast Asia.

And it is reflective of a growing trend. Indeed, even as the United States will remain the most powerful military and main underwriter of security in the region for decades to come – and there should be no doubt about that – those growing bilateral relationships demonstrate that nations around the region are also committed to doing more to promote continued regional security and prosperity. And that is why the Asia-Pacific’s principled security network is growing.

And as the region changes and the rebalance is solidified, the United States is and will continue using its unique capabilities, experience and influence to enhance the region’s security network, always contributing with commitment, strength and inclusion. For example, we are moving out on the Maritime Security Initiative I announced at this Dialogue last year. This initiative represents a $425-million, five-year American commitment to multilateral security cooperation that aims to establish a maritime security network in Southeast Asia.

In the Initiative’s first year, the United States is helping the Philippines enhance its National Coast Watch Center and improve reconnaissance and maritime sensors; helping Vietnam train to develop future unmanned maritime capabilities; providing Indonesia and Malaysia with communications equipment and training; and working with Thailand on processing information at fusion centres.

More than simply providing money or hardware, the United States is helping these five countries connect with each other and develop a networked approach to regional challenges. Those capabilities, those connections and that US partnership will allow these countries to see more, share more and do more to ensure maritime security throughout Southeast Asia.

This initiative demonstrates the promise of a principled security network, nations building connections for a common cause, planning and training together and eventually operating in a coordinated way. Throughout the Asia-Pacific, more and more nations are similarly coming together in three key ways.

First, some pioneering trilateral mechanisms are bringing together like-minded allies and partners to maximise individual contributions and connect nations that had previously worked together only bilaterally. For example, the US–Japan–Republic of Korea trilateral partnership helps us coordinate responses to North Korean provocations. And I am pleased to announce that the United States, Japan and the Republic of Korea will conduct a trilateral ballistic-missile warning exercise later this month.

And two other trilateral relationships – US–Japan–Australia and US–Japan–India – are also growing, thanks, in part, to exercises. We have agreed to hold, and begun planning on, additional US–Japan–Australia trilateral exercises. And through joint activities like this year’s Malabar exercise, the US–Japan–India trilateral relationship is starting to provide real, practical security cooperation that spans the entire region, from the Indian Ocean to the Western Pacific.

We are also seeing trilateral cooperation around other initiatives. For example, the United States and Thailand included Laos in a successful bilateral programme, and now our three nations are training together on explosive-ordnance disposal.

Second – and moving beyond trilateral relationships involving the United States – many countries within the Asia-Pacific are coming together on their own, strengthening and developing bilateral relationships and also creating trilateral arrangements. Japan and Vietnam, for example, are collaborating on new joint maritime exercises. Japan is also working to build the capacity of the Philippine maritime forces. And India is increasing its training with Vietnam’s military and coast guard on their common platforms.

The Japan–Australia–India trilateral meeting last June was a welcome development and addition to the region’s security network. And Indonesia has proposed trilateral joint maritime patrols with Malaysia and the Philippines, including counter-piracy patrols in the Sulu Sea. The United States welcomes and encourages these burgeoning partnerships among like-minded partners who share our vision of a principled regional order.

Third, and even more broadly, all of our nations are creating a networked multilateral regional security architecture, from one end of the region to the other, through the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus (ADMM–Plus). At Sunnylands in February, ASEAN demonstrated again why it is a model for the principled future we all want for the Asia-Pacific. In the summit declaration, the region committed to maintaining peace, security and stability, and to upholding shared principles in the region, including the freedom of navigation and overflight.

ADMM–Plus fills the growing need for an action-oriented, ASEAN-centric regional institution that builds trust, facilitates practical multilateral security cooperation and brings the region together to meet those commitments. I want to thank Laos for its leadership of ADMM–Plus this year. And I am pleased to announce that in September, the United States and Laos will co-host an informal defence ministers’ dialogue in Hawaii with all of the ASEAN countries, to follow up on Sunnylands commitments, discuss common interests and find new ways to network regional security.

As we weave these bilateral, trilateral and multilateral relationships together, it is important to remember that this principled network is not aimed at any particular country: it is open and excludes no one. This means that as nations want to contribute to regional stability and security, they can work together with other nations in the network to do so. The United States welcomes the emergence of a peaceful, stable and prosperous China that plays a responsible role in the region’s principled security network. We know China’s inclusion makes for a stronger network and a more stable, secure and prosperous region.

In all of our interactions with our Chinese counterparts, the United States consistently encourages China to take actions that uphold – and do not undercut – the shared principles that have served so many in Asia-Pacific so well for so long. The region will be stronger, safer and more prosperous when all countries are working toward a common vision in which shared principles are upheld, all countries enjoy equal treatment irrespective of their size or strength, and disputes are resolved peacefully and lawfully.

Unfortunately, there is growing anxiety in this region, and in this room, about China’s activities on the seas, in cyberspace and in the region’s airspace. Indeed, in the South China Sea, China has taken some expansive and unprecedented actions that have generated concerns about China’s strategic intentions. And countries across the region have been taking action and voicing concerns, publicly and privately, at the highest levels, in regional meetings and global fora. As a result, China’s actions in the South China Sea are isolating it, at a time when the entire region is coming together and networking. Unfortunately, if these actions continue, China could end up erecting a Great Wall of self-isolation.

Now, the United States is not a claimant in the current disputes in the South China Sea, and we do not take a position on which claimant has the superior sovereignty claim over the disputed land features. But the United States will stand with regional partners to uphold core principles, like freedom of navigation and overflight and the peaceful resolution of disputes through legal means and in accordance with international law. As I affirmed here last year, and America’s Freedom of Navigation Operations in the South China Sea have demonstrated, the United States will continue to fly, sail and operate wherever international law allows, so that everyone in the region can do the same.

And the United States will work with all Asia-Pacific nations to ensure these core principles apply just as equally in the vital South China Sea as they do everywhere else. Because only when everyone plays by the same rules can we avoid the mistakes of the past, like when countries challenged one another in contests of strength and will, with disastrous consequences for the region.

The United States views the upcoming ruling by the UN Arbitral Tribunal on the South China Sea as an opportunity for China and the rest of the region to recommit to a principled future, to renewed diplomacy and to lowering tensions rather than raising them. All of us should come together to ensure that this opportunity is realised.

The United States remains committed to working with China to ensure a principled future. Our two countries have a long-standing military-to-military relationship. We recently completed two confidence-building measures, one on maritime rules of behaviour and another on crisis communications. The regular US–China Military Maritime Consultative Agreement talks were just held in Hawaii, and China will also be back at RIMPAC this year. In fact, the United States and China will sail together from Guam to Hawaii for RIMPAC, conducting several exercise events along the way, including an event to practise search and rescue.

And the United States wants to strengthen those ties. I plan, at President Xi’s invitation, to discuss this deeper cooperation as well as the concerns I have outlined here when I travel to Beijing later this year. America wants to expand military-to-military agreements with China to focus not only on risk reduction but also on practical cooperation. Our two militaries can also work together bilaterally or as part of a principled security network to meet a number of challenges, like terrorism and piracy in the Asia-Pacific and around the world.

After all, both our nations share so many interests and we face many of the same global challenges. The United States expects and welcomes a China that plays a responsible role in world affairs commensurate with its wealth and potential influence. Together, in a network represented by all the delegates in this room, we all can do so much. And the United States wants to work with China to find solutions for the global problems we are both facing and seize the many opportunities before us.

By networking security together, the United States, China and all others in the region can continue to ensure stability and prosperity in a dynamic region. We can become more interconnected, we can develop greater inter-operability and we can innovate together on shared capabilities. And we can continue to ensure that this region’s historic change becomes historic progress, giving everyone and every nation in the Asia-Pacific the opportunity to rise and prosper and win.

Through a principled security network, we can all meet the challenges we are facing together, whether it is Russia’s worrying actions, North Korea’s nuclear and missile provocations, the threat posed by extremist groups or the growing strategic impact of climate change. These challenges and others are real for all of us who live in the Asia-Pacific, but so are the opportunities for nations, for militaries and for the people of the Asia-Pacific. Across the region, there are economic miracles still to occur, military relationships still to strengthen, and populations still to educate, empower and enrich.

To realise these opportunities, the Asia-Pacific will need continued stability and security. It is said of this region that security is like oxygen. When you have enough of it, you pay no attention to it. But when you do not have enough, you can think of nothing else. For many years the United States, along with its allies and partners in the region, have helped provide the oxygen in it. But by networking regional security together we can all contribute more, and in different ways. In the years ahead, as we continue to realise this brighter and principled future, providing the region’s oxygen will more and more become a networked effort.

Through the region’s principled security network, all of us will provide that oxygen – Americans and Filipinos, Chinese and Indians, Singaporeans and Japanese, Australians and Malaysians, Koreans and Kiwis, and many, many more. Together, we will provide the security that enables millions upon millions of people all around the Asia-Pacific to continue to rise and prosper, to be safe, to raise their children, to dream their dreams and live lives that are full.

At a time of great change in this region, and in many of our home countries, all of us must defend the security, stability and principles that have meant so much to the Asia-Pacific. To do so, we may change how we network, how we plan and how we operate. But we can never change why we are networking, and what we are networking for: for our security and shared interests, for the principles that have benefited so many for so long and for that principled future where everyone can continue to rise and prosper.

That is the future many of us in this room spend our days working toward. I thank you for that dedication. But we are not finished yet. We have work still to do, and I look forward to collaborating and networking with each of you in the days, weeks, months and years ahead to realise this region’s principled future. Thank you.

Dr John Chipman, Director-General and Chief Executive, IISS
Thank you very much for that description of the bilateral and multilateral relationships that the United States enjoys in this region. A reminder, perhaps, that the rebalance to Asia is also very importantly a rebalance within Asia.

Meeting Asia’s Complex Security Challenges: Q&A

As Delivered

Dr Sanjaya Baru, Consulting Senior Fellow for India; Director, IISS–India
Secretary Carter, you said in your presentation that ahead of Prime Minister Modi’s visit to Washington DC later next week, you plan to enter into new partnership agreements with your counterpart, Minister Parrikar. Would you care to elaborate on these new partnerships that you wish to enter into?

Dr Ashton Carter, Secretary of Defense, United States
Sure, I will describe them generally, but I also want to leave the room for Minister Parrikar and I to finalise them, and also, obviously, for Prime Minister Modi and President Obama to discuss them and finalise them. But the idea is this: the United States and India are committed, as part of our growing security partnership, to co-development and co-production of military capabilities. That is something we have not had since, really, the birth of the modern Indian state. We had two systems that grew up apart, and we are trying to bring them together. And that will be a very productive thing to do. We have a large number of projects that we are working on, and which will be developing and being launched in coming months. I will mention a few. There is the aircraft-carrier work, and I had the privilege of going out to Goa with Prime Minister Parrikar a few months ago and being on one of their aircraft carriers out there, which was superb. They are committed to upgrading their fleet.

Another thing the United States is working very hard on is changing India’s status in the US export-control system, which is also somewhat outdated and goes back to a previous era. Our laboratories are working together in a host of joint research and development projects, on technologies of military importance and so forth. So there are many, many things that we are doing together, and I think the point is for Prime Minister Modi’s Make in India policy and our technology policies to come together, in the same way that the rebalance and Act East come together, in what I call the handshake. So there is a lot going on and there will be a lot more developing in coming weeks and months.

Bonnie Glaser, Senior Advisor and Director, China Power Project, Center for Strategic and International Studies
Thank you, Secretary Carter. A few months ago, back in March, CNO Admiral Richardson said that there were signs that China might begin dredging on Scarborough Shoal. Of course, it is uncertain whether or not China will proceed with reclaiming land, but it is a concern that I have and I am sure that you share. What can the United States do in cooperation with the region to prevent this? Are we prepared to respond? And how would you assess the challenges posed if China builds another outpost on Scarborough Shoal, which is only 120 miles from the Philippine-made island of Luzon? Thank you.

Dr Ashton Carter, Secretary of Defense, United States
Thank you. And by the way, Admiral Richardson is here. John, where are you? There he is himself. Well, an action of that sort would be provocative and destabilising and, for China, self-isolating. As far as the United States is concerned, we will continue to fly, sail and operate where international law permits. As far as the region is concerned, Bonnie – and I think this is important – there are many regional countries that are reacting to the potential for the South China Sea, for actions there, to become provocative and destabilising. Many of them are therefore coming to work more strongly with us and, of course, we welcome that as part of the network. And so I would just say that I hope that this development does not occur, because it will result in actions being taken both by the United States and actions taken by others in the region, which will have the effect of not only increasing tensions but isolating China, which, as I said in my speech, is not what the United States stands for or wants.

Yoichi Kato, Senior Researcher, Rebuild Japan Initiative Foundation
Secretary Carter, you talked about the United States staying primary security provider in the region, and also about setting up a principled security network. These ideas are reassuring for allies like Japan and also in the regional states, I believe. But the question is how to implement them. And I think the biggest challenge would be, just as you pointed out, the self-isolation of China. And this self-isolation is no accident – it is based on their conscious decision and calculation. My question is: how can the United States or the regional states change this kind of strategic calculation of China? You talked about deployment of advanced capabilities and new capabilities, but will just the demonstration of superior hard power suffice? Thank you very much.

Dr Ashton Carter, Secretary of Defense, United States
Well, I cannot speak for my Chinese colleagues in that regard, but there is a big opportunity upcoming in the tribunal ruling for everyone in the region, all claimants – so in that respect I would not single out China, there are other claimants as well – to adhere by the ruling of the tribunal. That is a great opportunity for the countries in the region to show respect for principle and international law, and to avoid self-isolation on the part of any party. So that is very important.

Josh Rogin, Columnist, Washington Post; Political Analyst, CNN
Thank you very much. Secretary Carter, in 2006 you wrote an article with defense secretary William Perry advocating for the possible strike of North Korean missile technology to prevent them from acquiring long-range capability to hit the United States’ nuclear weapons. Ten years later, North Korea’s nuclear programme, missile programme and amassing of nuclear material continues apace. How would you grade, on a scale of A to F, the world’s and the Obama administration’s policy of deterring North Korean nuclear progress? And will you do anything – will the Obama administration do anything in its final hours on this policy? And do you agree with former secretary of state Hillary Clinton that the time has come for more intensive pressure, including pressure on China, including secondary sanctions, for supporting the North Korean regime? Thank you.

Dr Ashton Carter, Secretary of Defense, United States
Thanks. Well, I am not sure I can grade the allies in the region. It is easy to grade the North Koreans with a low grade, because the actions they have taken and continue to take are provocative, they violate UN Security Council resolutions and so they have been condemned by the entire world. We have worked closely with our allies there, South Korea and Japan, who are also threatened in this way, and by our partners China and Russia to try to persuade North Korea to halt its progress in this area and abide by the agreement it made long ago for a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula. But it is hard to grade them very high on any of those ambitions.

Meanwhile, we – just to get to your question – continue to stand strong every single day on the Korean Peninsula. There are American troops there, and we continue to improve their capabilities. The forces of South Korea continue to improve in their capabilities. And our alliance and the way it operates, the command and control, the operational plans, and so forth, of the alliance continue to evolve and improve so that deterrence remains extremely strong.

In respect to ballistic missiles, which is one of the things you mentioned, we and Japan and South Korea take measures to protect our own people, our forces deployed there, and the region from ballistic-missile attack. We are making improvements in that system all the time, and so both with respect to deterrence and defence from missile attack, we are taking strong actions within both of those alliances.

Professor Jia Qingguo, Dean, School of International Studies, Peking University
Well, thank you very much, Secretary Carter, for your clear and systematic representation of US position. I just think that the dispute between China and the US over the South China Sea has been overblown. It is only part of the relationship between our two countries, which is huge, vast and complicated. So I think this issue probably should be put into proper perspective.

Secondly, I think the artificial islands – China’s practice is not an exception. I think a lot of countries have engaged in this kind of practice, including Vietnam, the Philippines, even Japan and South Korea. So why focus on China? Also, one difference between China and the US over the freedom of navigation in the high seas, I think both China and the US are committed to this principle. However, there is one difference: that is, China believes that this does not give the right to other countries to sail military ships and aircraft close to the other country’s coast, even though it is in the high seas. But the US believes that it is important to maintain this right. That is the difference between China and the US over the so-called freedom of navigation in the high seas.

My question is why the US attaches so much importance to the right to send ships and aircrafts to conduct activities near other countries’ coasts. Why is it so important? Could you explain? Thank you very much.

Dr Ashton Carter, Secretary of Defense, United States
Yes. What we stand for is the principle of rule of law and abiding by international law in the commons, which means freedom of navigation in the sea and the air. That is what we are standing for. It is not a focus on China; it is a focus on principle. And you are right: China is not the only country that has taken actions, and the United States, as I said before, does not take a side in the disputes themselves over sovereignty. But it does take a side on principle, meaning peaceful resolution of these disputes through diplomacy, and freedom of the commons. So it is a principle that we side with, and it is not a dispute between the United States and China; it is a question of principle.

The reason that people are focusing on China this year is because China is doing by far and away more of this kind of reclamation and militarisation than any other party. That is the reason why the parties in the region who are concerned about principle are focusing on China; it is China’s actions that are causing that attention. But the attention is occasioned by a concern over the principles of peaceful resolution of dispute, non-coercion and freedom of navigation, which are important principles to everyone in the region. By the way, they are important principles around the world, so they are important ones to stand for.

And I would say, finally, that in the connection of perspective, I would say that from a global perspective, from a regional perspective and from a principle perspective, these actions by anyone, but especially by China over the last couple of years, are destabilising and, as I indicated earlier, self-isolating, which is regrettable since our vision, the American vision of security for this region, as I indicated, is one of an inclusive security network.

Professor François Heisbourg, Chairman of the Council, IISS; Special Adviser, Fondation pour la Recherche Stratégique
Yes, Secretary Carter, first of all, thank you for an extremely thought-provoking speech. By the latest count, you used the word ‘principled’ 37 times since the beginning of this session, and that, of course, did not happen by chance. My question is the following: the former secretary of state James Baker was asked recently by Lionel Barber of the Financial Times whether America and its institutions are strong enough to survive any shock, even one as seismic as Donald Trump in the White House. James Baker answers, ‘Yes. I will not get my panties in a wedge because of what I am hearing from the political candidates. I do not care who wins, whoever gets to the White House. Presidents can do a lot, but they can only do so much to the system of checks and balances. We are a country of laws, limited by bureaucracy and the power structure in Washington.’ Would you care to comment?

Dr Ashton Carter, Secretary of Defense, United States
Well, I am not going to comment, for the following reason, François. Yes, there is an election going on in the United States. I am the Secretary of Defense of the United States. We have a long-standing practice and tradition – and, if I may use it for the 38th time, principle – that our department, our military, our security leaders, stand apart from the electoral process. So I am extremely careful not to comment on the election or observations by any one of the candidates. So I am sorry, I cannot do that.

Evan Laksmana, Senior Researcher, Department of Politics and International Relations, Centre for Strategic and International Studies
Thank you, Secretary Carter, for your speech. As mentioned earlier, you talked a lot about the notion of the principle rule and the regional order. Now, if we are to avoid having a G2 US–China regional order, how then do we put ASEAN at the table when we discuss what sort of principles we should abide by and how to enforce them? Thank you.

Ekaterina Koldunova, Deputy Dean, School of Political Affairs, Moscow State Institute of International Relations
Secretary, I would like to ask: what role do you perceive for Russia in the network security system you mentioned? Is it also a self-isolating country like China, or is it a threat, or is it a partner for cooperation, as you mentioned in the case of North Korea? Thank you.

Dr Ashton Carter, Secretary of Defense, United States
Thank you. First of all, with respect for the first question, there was a reference to a G2 there. That is not the American approach. We want to have good relations, and expect to have and have good military-to-military relations, with China. But we have military relations with others in the region. We want China to have relations with others. So this is a system that we envision that does not exclude anyone, certainly not all the countries except the United States and China. We want it to be inclusive and region-wide. So that is not our approach at all.

With respect to Russia, you are right, Russia also is a Pacific power, and can play a role in the Asia-Pacific. We obviously have concerns with Russia’s conduct, both in Europe and to some extent – although we hope for better in this regard – in the Middle East. But with respect to their contribution in this region, I think in principle they could do a lot more, and the United States would welcome that, as we would welcome any partners in the network. And to show that that is possible, I would just point to something you raised, which is Russia’s role in dealing with the North Korean nuclear and ballistic-missile provocations. Russia has stood strong with China, the United States, the Republic of Korea and Japan for a number of years in that regard and tried to use its influence in a constructive way, and where it uses its influence in that way we are very pleased to work with Russia. So I think the potential is there; it has not been realised yet. But the answer to your question, can Russia be part of the principled security network of Asia, yes, and I certainly hope it would be.

Dr John Chipman, Director-General and Chief Executive, IISS
Secretary Carter, thank you very much. There are seven or eight people still seeking the floor, and I am sorry I cannot invite you to address the Secretary but I have you in mind for subsequent sessions. Let me thank the Secretary for an excellent opening statement for this Shangri-La Dialogue that I think has set an excellent tone for our discussions. Please will you join me in thanking Secretary Carter for his engagement here at the Shangri-La Dialogue.

Managing Military Competition in Asia

Managing Military Competition in Asia: Manohar Parrikar

As Delivered

John Chipman, Director-General and Chief Executive, IISS
Ladies and gentlemen, let me open the Second Plenary Session on Managing Military Cooperation in Asia. We have three very important ministers to address us on the theme Managing Military Competition in Asia. I will introduce them in the order in which they appear in the programme and they will also be speaking in that order.

Our first speaker in a moment will be Manohar Parrikar, the Minister of Defence of India. We are really delighted that the Minister of Defence of India is here with us today. Yesterday, he inaugurated the Singapore–India Defence Ministers’ Dialogue with his Singapore counterpart here. That is, as it were, a new bilateral institution that has been established in the Asia-Pacific that thickens up the network of defence consultations and a manifestation of India’s Look East and Act East policy. We are really delighted that Manohar Parrikar is with us here today in order to give expression to India’s defence and security policy in the wider Asia-Pacific or, as his own prime minister likes to refer to it, Indo-Pacific region.

Our second speaker will be Gen Nakatani, the Minister of Defense of Japan. A delight to have him here for the 15th Shangri-La Dialogue, since in his first tour of duty as Minister of Defense of Japan he attended the first Shangri-La Dialogue in 2002, so is a genuine veteran of this process.

Finally, it is again a pleasure to receive here Dato’ Seri Hishammuddin, the Minister of Defence of Malaysia, a strong friend of the Shangri-La Dialogue process and of the IISS. These three perspectives are very important ones for us to share in this Second Plenary Session.

Now that the room has settled and the ministers fully identified, could I invite Minister Parrikar to address the 15th Shangri-La Dialogue.

Manohar Parrikar, Minister of Defence, India
Thank you, His Excellency Gen Nakatani, Defense Minister of Japan; His Excellency Hishammuddin Tun Hussein, Defence Minister of Malaysia; other ministers and Head of Delegation, John Chipman, distinguished delegates. I thank the organiser, the International Institute for Strategic Studies, and the government of Singapore for inviting me to address this year’s Shangri-La Dialogue.

Before I commence my comments on the subject for this session, a disclaimer is perhaps necessary. For India, located as we are at the centre of Asian landmarks, aside the Indian Ocean, any reference to Asia implies its fullest geography ranging from Suez to shores of Pacific. This is a vast area with many complexities. As we are aware, large parts of West Asia have been grappling with new and dark variant of violent conflict. Closer [to] home, to India’s west, the brave Afghan people continue their efforts to revive the nation and rebuild their state in the face of terrorist nurture in the neighbourhood.

Today, I will, geographically speaking, limit myself to what is now aptly and increasingly referred to by the strategic community as the Indo-Pacific. I come from a coastal state of India. It is but natural for me to have a bias towards the maritime domain. Seriously speaking, this is also the domain of India’s Act East policy in all its dimensions – cultural, economic and security.

Ladies and gentlemen, the theme of this session suggests that we are confronted with a new challenge. A broad look at trends in the region suggests that countries in the Asia-Pacific are spending more on defence. If you look at recent figures, Australia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Philippines and Vietnam, all appears to be spending more on military capabilities. A closer look suggests the picture is more complex. In some cases, there is a catching up happening after years of neglect, of capital expenditure in defence. In other cases, there are new challenges and new roles for the armed forces.

Regardless of what view you take, I believe that we cannot reach a definitive conclusion that we are witnessing emerging military competition in the region, based entirely on military expenditure. What really matters is the manner in which the military capabilities are developed and how they are deployed. These two aspects, you must simply call them transparency and behaviour, are perhaps more important than expenditure alone.

This is not to dismiss the challenge. Given the destructive nature of current military technologies, it is obvious that we should take any signs of an Asia-Pacific-wide military competition seriously. However, I believe that we should stay focused on the equally important challenge of creating and nurturing frameworks to manage security issues. This framework should promote transparency as well as the right behaviour. They should help us build mutual trust and confidence to avoid conflict.

Ladies and gentlemen, scholars tend to divide security challenges neatly into traditional and non-traditional sources of insecurity. I am a practitioner. For me, a traditional threat is one of low probability but high-impact risk. Non-traditional threats are continuous, daily occurrences, and their impact can vary from negligible to dramatic. In some cases, terrorism being the most serious example, the distinction is literally academic. In my view, there are three main security challenges facing the region.

First, the traditional threat of disputes or territorial issues escalating to military conflict. The way forward here is for parties to these disputes to renounce the threat or use of force against other states. While no single region has a monopoly on nationalistic rhetoric, we need to pay special attention to its linkages with territorial disputes and alternate reading of history in this part of the globe. Regional frameworks for security management must enshrine a commitment to the peaceful resolution of disputes without the threat or use of force.

Second, even if we wish to describe it as so-called non-traditional threat, terrorism remains the foremost challenge to our region. Networks of radicalism and terrorism, as well as their support structure in the region and beyond, continue to pose a threat to all peace-loving societies. We need to oppose terrorism resolutely everywhere, delegitimise it as an instrument of state policy, and cooperate unreservedly to locate, hurt and destroy terrorist networks. The security frameworks in our region still do not give enough attention to terrorism. This must change.

The third challenge arises in the maritime domain, which is a key enabler to our prosperity. It is in this domain that we see most clearly a continuous spectrum of threat. By virtue of geographical location, the Indo-Pacific is the crossroads of [the] world’s maritime traffic. Over half of the world’s commercial shipping passes through these waterways. The Strait of Malacca alone carries approximately 25% of all traded goods and all oil that travels by sea. At its narrowest point just south of Singapore, not far from where we are meeting today, the Strait of Malacca is only a few nautical miles wide, making it one of the world’s most sensitive and strategic waterways. These waterways are vulnerable. Terrorism visited India from sea in Mumbai in November 2008; piracy on the eastern shores of Africa impacted the insurance premium for all our shipping.

At the other end of the spectrum, the situation in South China Sea continues to be viewed with concern. We have traditional links with the countries in the South China Sea. More than half of our trade passes through its waters. While we do not take position on territorial disputes, which should be resolved peacefully without the threat or use of force, we firmly uphold freedom of navigation and/or flight in accordance with international law, in particular the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

All countries in the region need to recognise that our shared prosperity and the enviable rate of growth that this region enjoyed over the past decades will be put at risk by aggressive behaviour or actions by any one of us. All of us will suffer, irrespective of whether we are big or small state. We need to work towards action to lower the temperature and prioritise the development and growth consideration above all else.

Distinguished delegates, Prime Minister Modi’s vision for Indian Ocean, as captured in acronym SAGAR, or security and growth of all in the region, encapsulates India’s approach to broader Indo-Pacific region. We are not only committed to safeguard India’s land and maritime territories and interest but will also make our capabilities available to other regional countries. Humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, or HADR, is a major focus of our efforts. The evacuation of citizens of a number of countries from Yemen, post-earthquake efforts in Nepal and the assistance provided to Sri Lanka as the first responder following recent floods are a few examples.

Collective action and cooperation is the way forward to deal with maritime threats like terrorism, piracy and natural disasters. This will also improve trust and confidence and reduce the scope for military competition. India is contributing actively to the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia. Here in Singapore, India has also projects on safety and security of navigation as a part of Strait of Malacca mechanism. The Indian Ocean Naval Symposium has brought together the navies of the region in a collective endeavour to strengthen maritime security.

The international fleet review earlier this year, with participation from over 50 countries, was another major effort to build cooperative linkage among regional and global actors in the maritime domain. Recently, we have launched maritime-security dialogues with Australia, China, France, Japan and the United States. This allows us to share security perspectives and explore possibilities of cooperation. Going beyond the traditional notion of security, we are also building economic cooperation with maritime neighbours to reap the benefit of blue economy.

Ladies and gentlemen, the Indo-Pacific, a heterogeneous region with a diversity of political systems, security perspectives and developmental choice – there is no doubt that it will remain the driver of global prosperity for decades to come. India’s contribution as the fastest-growing major economy in the world will be a significant factor in ensuring this. I am equally confident that the countries of the region will rise to the challenge and find the will and means to tackle the security threats it faces. We have a foundation of regional and sub-regional arrangements to build upon. Bilateral dialogue and confidence-building can usefully supplement these regional and sub-regional mechanisms.

ASEAN has built several mechanisms which can play a central part in the regional security framework. Even as we recognise that security in Asia is primarily the responsibility of Asian countries, the interest of non-Asian countries is growing and increasingly connected; Asia cannot be ignored. The East Asia Summit provides broad metrics to engage with the relevant actors. The security framework in the Indo-Pacific should also promote the well-being of people by taking a broader view of security. They should help us promote and maintain seamless connectivity, stretching across Indian and Pacific oceans, guaranteeing freedom of navigation or flight and unimpaired commerce in accordance with the international law and knitting our people together in peace and prosperity.

Ladies and gentlemen, the Shangri-La Dialogue has established itself as Asia’s premier forum on defence and regional-security issues. Participation this year is again very impressive, reflecting the growing salience of this forum. It is also a tribute to the tireless efforts of the organisers. My participation reflects India’s recognition of this platform as a useful forum for our engagement with security issues facing the region. I compliment you on what has been achieved and wish you success in your work in years ahead. Thank you.

Managing Military Competition in Asia: Gen Nakatani

As Delivered

Gen Nakatani, Minister of Defense, Japan
Dr Chipman, distinguished members of the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), I would like to start by expressing my gratitude for inviting me back to the Shangri-La Dialogue once again. I had the opportunity to attend the very first Shangri-La Dialogue, and am delighted to be back here at this year's significant Dialogue, having attended last year.

As you know, the Shangri-La Dialogue was first convened here in Singapore in 2002 for the purpose of deepening trust among defence authorities and strengthening cooperation in regional security, making this year the 15th Dialogue. Through this Dialogue, many defence ministers from a number of countries have deepened the friendly relations between them to contribute to the peace and stability of the region. I wish to express my gratitude and respect for the great efforts of the Singaporean government in its continued support of this Dialogue, especially President Tony Tan, who served as defence minister when the Shangri-La Dialogue was first inaugurated. You have my sincerest thanks.

Our mission, as leaders of our respective national defence ministries, is not only to safeguard the security of our own nations and their people, but also to maintain regional peace and stability and to prevent conflict – and if any conflict should indeed arise, to resolve it in a swift and peaceful manner. Therefore, as leaders responsible for maintaining security, we must also strive to establish a rules-based international order by nurturing the mutual trust and ties between us. Through dialogues such as this one, it is important that we continue to strengthen our mutual trust and ties with our fellow cabinet ministers, and continue to follow the path of friendship and cooperation based on international rules.

As you are all aware, ASEAN launched the ASEAN Community at the end of last year. This year, we also celebrate the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the ASEAN Defence Ministers' Meeting (ADMM). As it is also deeply significant from a security point of view, I sincerely welcome this strengthening of unity between ASEAN member countries. I would further like to express my admiration for the great efforts made by Laos, this year's ASEAN host country. As equal partners, ASEAN and Japan have continuously walked hand in hand on the path to development, fully respecting the ASEAN centrality.

In recent years, Japan has found itself in an increasingly challenging security environment and has made efforts to review and amend its defence policies, in order to further ensure the safety of our country and to contribute proactively to the peace and stability of the international community. The development of Japan's Peace and Security Legislation is a part of such efforts and includes Japan's right to exercise collective self-defence in a limited manner, as recognised by the UN Charter.

It goes without saying that the United States military presence in the region has played an indispensable role in creating stable regional order. As the US continues to support the rebalancing of the region, Japan, too, remains committed to continuing to strengthen the alliance with the US as part of our contribution to peace, security and prosperity in the region, based on the new Guidelines for Japan–US Defense Cooperation that were agreed to last year under Defense Secretary Carter.

Together with the US and other regional partner countries, we are also making proactive efforts in conducting joint training exercises and drills. We will continue to carry these efforts forward, with shared initiatives such as the Pacific Dragon Japanese, US and Korean trilateral missile-defence exercise, the Malabar trilateral naval training exercise between Japan, the US and India, the Southern Jackaroo exercise between Japan, the US and Australia, and the Cobra Gold military exercise held in Thailand. We will also further enhance our cooperation with Europe and the ASEAN member countries as part of a multilayered approach.

Before I embark on the main topic of today's speech, I would like to first discuss some of the national-security issues that we are currently facing. Even since the last Shangri-La Dialogue, there have been serious terrorist incidents across the world, and terrorism is coming to pose an increasing threat. Furthermore, North Korea's continued nuclear and missile-development activities, which are in violation of UN Security Council resolutions, pose a serious and immediate threat, not only to the security of Japan, but also to that of the region and the international community.

Recently, US President Barack Obama visited the site of the atomic bomb attack in Hiroshima, becoming the first serving US president to do so. Japan highly valued this visit, and we urge the international community to give serious thought to the message delivered by President Obama during his visit to Hiroshima on the realisation of a world without nuclear weapons.

Furthermore, we are beginning to see unilateral and coercive claims and actions in the region that undermine its maritime order. I daresay such a situation would heighten fears among the region’s countries and possibly tear apart the ties that have been built over years.

For the past few years in the South China Sea, we have been witnessing large-scale and rapid land reclamation, the building of outposts and their use for military purposes. I am deeply concerned that such unilateral attempts to alter the status quo and consolidate such changes as faits accomplis considerably flouts the rules of the international community which are based on maritime order.

Japan is also concerned about unilateral behaviours in the East China Sea, as they could escalate the situation and raise tensions. Such behaviours and the attempt to establish them as faits accomplis are nothing but a daring challenge to the proper order, which is based on the principles of international law. Therefore, such attempts do not only affect the parties directly involved with territorial rights; no country can be an outsider to this issue. In addition to such situations, recently, some extremely dangerous behaviours have taken place as aircraft from certain countries have flown abnormally close to aircraft flying in full compliance with the internationally recognised laws on freedom of overflight.

As the security environment in this region grows increasingly challenging, it becomes more important for all countries to strictly observe established international laws. More powerful countries, in particular, must behave in a self-restrained manner so as to avoid any unexpected situations occurring.

Ladies and gentlemen, the inhabitants of this region have a choice. How do we want our future to be determined: by ‘might makes right’ or based on a ‘rules-based order’?

The answer is clear. Only an order where the rule of law is fully realised can lead us to long-term prosperity.

Two years ago, here at the Shangri-La Dialogue, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe also stressed the importance of the rule of law at sea. He urged everyone to uphold three basic principles: firstly, that states shall make and clarify their claims based on international law; secondly, that states shall use neither force nor coercion in trying to assert their claims; and finally, that states shall seek to settle disputes by peaceful means. The importance of these three principles on the rule of law at sea were once again affirmed by leaders at the recent G7 Ise-Shima Summit.

Last year, I elaborated on the three principles that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe put forward, and proposed the Shangri-La Dialogue Initiative (SDI) as a guideline for our defence authorities.

The SDI consists of the three following elements. The first element is the ‘wider promotion of common rules and laws in the air and at sea in the region’. The second is ‘maritime and aerospace security’. Finally, the third element is the ‘improvement of disaster response capabilities in the region’. Since then, Japan has taken the lead in putting the SDI into practice, in cooperation with the regional community.

Regarding the first element, which is the wider promotion of common rules and laws in the air and at sea in the region, the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) is, for example, also beneficial for the wider promotion of common rules and laws. Japan strongly expects both the DOC, as well as the earlier agreement, the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC), to be fully and effectively implemented.

I would also like to reiterate my support for the freedom-of-navigation operations implemented by the US Armed Forces in the South China Sea, in full compliance with international law, as well as for the peaceful resolution of problems based on international law, including arbitration. In order to resolve disputes in a peaceful manner, every judgement or decision made by the relevant courts must be fully observed by all the countries involved, in accordance with the relevant international law.

In addition, Japan is primarily helping to promote the Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea (CUES) among the respective countries’ defence ministries by proactively incorporating the CUES in training and other interactions with ASEAN countries. We have also helped a total of five countries so far to build their capabilities in accordance with international aviation law, thereby encouraging international law to prevail in the region.

Also, it must be said that when the rule of law is challenged at sea, it affects all our countries. In order to maintain open, free and peaceful maritime order, it is important for us to consolidate our wisdom in order to establish such based on the principles of international law. I would ask that this matter be discussed more widely at various multinational forums.

With regard to the second element of the SDI, maritime and aerospace security, it is important to increase the awareness and ability of every nation to address maritime and aerospace security. Consequently, Japan has provided Indonesia, for example, with capacity-building assistance in the area of oceanography. We have also offered support in the field of underwater medicine to Vietnam and Myanmar.

Furthermore, a destroyer of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) took part in the maritime-security field training exercise conducted within the framework of the ADMM–Plus meeting last month. I think these joint training exercises are very important for building cooperative relationships between the region's countries. For example, the Komodo 2016 exercise that took place in April of this year not only contributed to the enhancement of humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) capabilities, but also to the strengthening of cooperation among participating countries on the operational front. I am convinced that the promotion of joint training in order to strengthen regional ties is a key to stability.

To maintain order in the oceans and skies that help us to live, I believe it is important to improve the capabilities of each country in the region by employing a ‘hybrid cooperation’ strategy for international security and peace, by combining capacity-building activities, joint training, and collaboration on defence equipment and technology, which is emerging as a new area of cooperation.

In particular, when it comes to maritime security, we must make efforts towards the effective implementation of capacity-building and joint training initiatives, and increase each country's capacity for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR), in order to enhance the maritime domain awareness (MDA) capability of the region.

As a part of such efforts, Japan is cooperating in the transfer of JMSDF TC-90 training aircraft to the Philippines. In doing so, we plan not only to carry out the transfer itself, but also to offer support with education for pilots and maintenance staff. In this way, we will continue to foster our own long-term efforts, which include not only the provision of the ‘hardware’ itself but also the ‘software’, such as the education and training of personnel.

The third element, improving disaster response capabilities in the region, is especially important for us, since we all face the threat of various natural disasters. In April this year, large-scale earthquakes hit Kumamoto and Oita in southern Japan. The words of condolence and support extended to us from many people around the world were highly encouraging to the disaster victims and the Japanese people. I would like once again to express my heartfelt gratitude to you all.

Since Japan has experienced and overcome a number of disasters, we have increased our efforts in this area, in cooperation with other countries. Take Laos, for example. At the ADMM–Plus Experts’ Working Group (EWG) on HADR, which we co-chair with Laos, we discussed measures for a smoother deployment process of aircraft to disaster-affected areas so as to enable swift rescue activities. Furthermore, we will formulate the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) of the Multinational Coordination Center (MNCC) to optimise the effectiveness of foreign armed forces when supporting disaster-relief activities.

In order to increase the disaster-response capabilities of the region as a whole, again, hybrid cooperation is necessary. One example of this is the formulation of the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) of the Multinational Coordination Center (MNCC) that I just mentioned. In order to make the SOP applicable in practice, it is essential not only to put a cooperative framework in place, but also that it is verified through joint exercises. For this purpose, ADMM–Plus HADR is now planning and organising a military-medicine field training exercise in September this year, with a focus on Japan, Laos and other countries.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is how the SDI initiative will form an important guideline for bringing peace and stability to the region. As its proponent, I am very pleased to see that various efforts towards this initiative are now moving forward.

I believe we should keep going with our efforts in accordance with the three guidelines of the SDI. In this regard, the crucial point is to promote coordinated efforts among countries in order to create synergy effects.

Each country is now starting to become involved, making the most of their unique qualities to increase the capability of the region as a whole. Although such efforts are meaningful by themselves, I believe they can be even more effective when interlinked with each other.

To maintain order based on the principles of international law through the implementation of the SDI initiative, each country's efforts must come together in a coordinated way.

Now, I would like to make a proposal to you. Let us hold an international forum to think about our shared rules and discuss the development of a specific plan for implementing the SDI, with a focus on maintaining order based on the principles of international law. It is important that the door is always open for discussion to take place, and I believe that this is how we can achieve a firm foundation for the SDI initiative.

The peace and stability of the Asia-Pacific region is an issue for the whole international community, not just the region. There is no country which is not affected by this matter. For peace and stability in the region, countries must refrain from unilaterally pursuing their own interests in a way that fails to abide by rules, while we must strictly enforce the rule of law and deepen the mutual trust and ties between us. To achieve this goal, I would like today to propose the implementation of the SDI initiative, which will serve as a guideline for regional cooperation.

Japan is determined to cooperate and collaborate with countries in and beyond the region, to take lead under the banner of proactive contribution to peace based on the principle of international cooperation.

Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to ask for your assistance in making this SDI initiative a reality. Let us join hands and work together to achieve even more prosperity in this region.

Thank you very much for listening.

Managing Military Competition in Asia: Dato’ Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein

As Delivered

John Chipman, Director-General and Chief Executive, IISS
Minister, thank you very much for your reaffirmation of the Shangri-La Dialogue initiative that you launched in 2015 and for your exposition of how Japan has sought to put it into practice. May I invite Minister Hishammuddin of Malaysia to address us? Thank you very much.

Dato’ Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein, Minister of Defence, Malaysia
Bismillah al-Rahman al-Rahim. Dr John Chipman, Your Excellency Manohar Parrikar, Gen Nakatani-san, ladies and gentlemen, it gives me great pleasure to be speaking at the Shangri-La Dialogue again, today on the topic: Managing Military Competition in Asia.

Now, ladies and gentlemen, the developments over the past decade deepened the expectations that Asia-Pacific is a region ripe for rivalry. The rise of China, as well as military modernisation and enhancements in capabilities, seem to have created an even more volatile climate.

The present state of regional security in Asia-Pacific is, of course, well known. We are in the age of uncertainty, where challenges and threats to security often emerge or evolve faster than solutions to them. These security threats are of an entirely different nature and entirely different scale than previously thought, a sort of globalisation of security challenges. Therefore, our response must also be different in meeting these threats. We need a strategy, a more tailored approach which seeks to move past outmoded forms of conventional warfare.

Dear colleagues, ladies and gentlemen, indeed this should be our guiding principle in the fight against the so-called Islamic State or Daesh. We must realise that Daesh is not the usual terrorist group we are used to dealing with. Daesh is not al-Qaeda. Terrorist organisations like al-Qaeda have only hundreds of active cells and cannot directly confront military forces. They prey on civilians and, most importantly, they do not claim control of territories.

On the other hand, Daesh. Daesh asserts control over vast amounts of oil-rich land, which has allowed the group to build a self-sustaining financial model, unthinkable for most terrorist groups. At present, they boast more than 31,000 fighters with extensive military capabilities, engaging in sophisticated operations while controlling lines of communication and commanding infrastructure. This is why conventional counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency strategies have not and will never work against Daesh.

Daesh is a clear and present danger to the Asia-Pacific, both in the form of potential return fighters and self-radicalised lone wolves. They also have the potential to exacerbate instability in the region’s hot spots, such as the southern half of the Philippines and Thailand, as well as exploiting other fault lines in our region. It is pure, unrefined evil that, if left unchecked, could poison all our futures.

But the Daesh threat cannot be resolved by simply bombing certain countries into submission, nor can it be resolved by knee-jerk reactions. We need to agree on a comprehensive plan to defeat Daesh. The plan needs to involve greater cooperation of all parties, including but not limited to the military. Destroying it, ladies and gentlemen, could very well be the greatest challenge of our generation.

Added to this is the fact that Asia-Pacific is a region in geopolitical transition. For decades, regional stability has been maintained. The so-called international order persisted. Since the turn of the millennium, however, shifting political and economic terrain has meant that a lot of the certainties we had in the past are no longer current.

To cite just one quandary, the uncertainty of China’s future trajectory is arguably the main driving concern about possible military competition, now and in the future. Military competition is an increasingly sensitive matter. We cannot allow it to become a distraction from external threats such as Daesh, nor an unnecessary additional source of tension in this region.

So, ladies and gentlemen, what is military competition? Military competition is often a contested term which invites differing definitions and interpretations. On a certain level, the very act of having armed forces is, in and of itself, a form of military competition. Everyone wants what is best for their countries. Nationalism is the great and abiding passion in Asian politics. Based on this, it is wholly natural, therefore, that countries see having militaries and keeping these militaries better equipped and larger than their neighbours’ as crucial. Others see military competition as synonymous with the arms race.

If we were to define military competition simply by how much weapons we buy alone, then it would be safe to say that we certainly are in one. Therefore, at the end of the day, military competition in Asia is a reality and it will be for a long time to come. The question is: how do we manage it to ensure the best outcomes for all concerned? The challenge is to make our military forces for peace, security and even development rather than forces of mistrust, suspicion and rivalry.

So how do we manage military competition? I would like to propose to you, ladies and gentlemen, for our agenda, three points. Firstly, the building of trust at all levels. Secondly, the adherence to international law and norms. Thirdly, leadership.

On the first point, I certainly believe that military competition requires solutions driven by mutual respect and trust. If we trusted each other, military competition would be a positive thing rather than a constant worry. We could focus on complementing rather than surpassing each other. We will then be able to overcome the so-called security dilemma of action and then reaction to maintain our status quo.

Trust-building and cooperation, admittedly, are difficult propositions even at the best of times. The prospect towards an immediate global solution to peace is remote, I admit. This does not mean that we should abdicate the challenging but necessary task. Indeed, a piecemeal approach might be more sustainable. There is no reason why we cannot first start at the regional or sub-regional architecture and at the operational levels.

For Malaysia and our friends in Southeast Asia, the main platform for the former is and will always be ASEAN. Regional values that have been developed through various security mechanisms must be adhered to. Malaysia adopts the capability-based defence policy that emphasises on strong neighbourliness. I remain optimistic on the prospect of trust-building, greater cooperation and lessened tensions via the establishment of a regional forum through the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting, ADMM. Furthermore, with the establishment of ADMM–Plus in 2010, the cooperation forged was raised to a higher level alongside middle and superpowers of the world.

It is very apparent here that regional military development progresses well with regional geopolitical environment. This has helped in building trust among neighbouring countries.

The ADMM–Plus platform since its inception has been very critical in addressing various areas of security concerns, ranging from maritime security, counter-terrorism, peacekeeping operations, humanitarian and disaster relief, military medicine, humanitarian mine action and, in the pipeline, cyber security and cyber defence. These are areas of legitimate security concerns and we have legitimate mechanisms addressing the matters at hand. These will serve us well as we move forward for the next 50 years or so, after ASEAN turns 50 next year.

At the same time, joint exercises, especially involving HADR, has the added advantage of bringing our serving men and women together. The importance of this cannot be overstated. Military men, after all, know all too well the cost of conflict. Creating further linkages and understanding between armed forces is an excellent means to ensure peace. Indeed, military cooperation in uncontentious areas like disaster relief and on food security could very well be the panacea for military competition.

Next, my second point, all states in the contemporary world, including great powers, are compelled to justify their behaviour according to legal rules and accepted norms, as alluded by Gen Nakatani-san. This seems very basic, but the set fact is that lately, international law is often more honoured in the breach. States may conform but not necessarily obey. Even powerful states can let the capacity of regional framework hamper compliance. If the international rules-based order were to guarantee peace and stability, nations weak or powerful must have the discipline to adhere to it. It is often the case that major powers hide behind the rules of the international system to advance their own national interest whilst smaller states are made to accept whatever the outcome, favourable or otherwise.

This reminds me to what Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said last year to us. It should not be a world where might is right, where the strong do what they will and the weak suffer what they must. It should be a world where legitimacy and constructive engagement are the international norm and every country, big and small, can compete peacefully for a chance to prosper.

And my third and final point, ladies and gentlemen, another thing that we desperately need is leadership. This ties everything together, leadership does. Rationality, cool heads and a vision for peace can guarantee the stability of the region. The absence of this will lead to its destruction. Leadership is not only about giving orders but it is also about managing competing interest. It is about knowing when to give and when to take, that sometimes we have to give first and sometimes you have to take only a little.

Leaders must be able to think outside the box and innovate in meeting the challenges of the day. For example, on the sidelines of the tenth ADMM in Lao PDR last week, as alluded to by Secretary Ash Carter earlier today, the defence ministers from Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines agreed to further enhance cooperation to curb rising criminality, piracy, kidnapping and smuggling in the Sulu Sea, the border area common to our three countries.

This is not new, because this plan is to replicate the already successful Malacca Straits Patrol, and that initiative involved Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia. In that initiative, it was imperative for us to ensure the safety of ASEAN’s most vital strait channel and one of the world’s foremost trade routes, as said by His Excellency Manohar Parrikar earlier, the Strait of Malacca.

But leadership, ladies and gentlemen, is not only needed at the very top. Often the only thing standing in the way of a clash, or worse, is the judgement of a battalion commander in the jungles or a submarine captain out at sea. It is about being able to put yourselves in the shoes of these serving men and women and to know that the decisions they make can affect many, many lives.

In conclusion, ladies and gentlemen, ensuring that the task of defending our countries does not lead to war and suffering will not be easy. It may not be something that we will be able to resolve during our lifetimes, but with patience, with perseverance and cooperation, we can lay the groundwork for a better future for our children and their children. For, after all, we are all responsible for keeping the peace for the world that we create. Thank you.

John Chipman, Director-General and Chief Executive, IISS
Minister, thank you very much for those remarks, for the reminder also of the extent of cooperation as between a number of countries in the Sulu Sea, the Malacca Strait. But I also note, in particular, your remarks at the beginning about ISIL, and it serves as a reminder of the need for trans-regional cooperation, including between the Middle East and Southeast Asia, properly to consult and manage these transnational threats. I might take this moment to renew my invitation to you and to other ministers from Southeast Asia to attend our Manama Dialogue in Bahrain on the 9–11 December, where we are bringing together the national-security establishments of the Middle East with North American and European colleagues, and a strong Asian element to that Dialogue is, I think, made necessary by these trans-regional threats that require transnational cooperation.

Managing Military Competition in Asia: Q&A

As Delivered

Rahul Roy-Chaudhury, Senior Fellow for South Asia, IISS
Thank you, John. I have a question for India’s Defence Minister, Manohar Parrikar. Sir, in your presentation, you mentioned India’s bilateral maritime-security dialogues. What are the prospects, in your view, of the recent India–China maritime-security dialogue in terms of both the Indian Ocean and the South China Sea? Thank you.

Senior Colonel Zhou Bo, Director, Security Cooperation Centre, Office for International Military Cooperation, Ministry of National Defense, China
Thank you. My question is for Minister of Defense from Japan. You mentioned that Japan is revising the law systems for the purpose of playing a more important role in the regional security and stressed the importance of rule of law and the rules and the laws. However, I know that after Japanese government had new security deals last year, they have been almost in a continuous protest within Japan. It is widely reported that hundreds of thousands of Japanese citizens took to the street and protest against the government’s revisionist stand. They believe, as well as most specialists on law in Japan, that the bill seriously violates the constitution after the World War II and considerably and dangerously increased the risk of war or conflict. What do you think of their opinions? Will the public opinion affect the decision-making of the government with regard to the future constitutional revision? Thank you.

P S Suryanarayana, Editor, Current Affairs, Institute of South Asian Studies, National University of Singapore
Thank you, Chairman. This is a question addressed to the Indian Defence Minister. There has been some buzz in the US Congress about giving a status of non-NATO partner status to India. Will this be on the agenda during Prime Minister Modi’s visit to Washington next week? If so, what would be the outline of this proposition?

A question addressed to the Japanese Defense Minister. One gets the impression that Japan is somewhat of a reluctant partner in the trilateral India–Japan–US. Is that so? If not, can you kindly elaborate what [it] is that Japan can bring to the table in this trilateral? Thank you.

Fleur de Villiers, Chairman of the Trustees, IISS
Thank you, John. My question is directed to the Defence Minister of Malaysia, who has referred to Daesh as presenting possibly the biggest existential threat to the region. To what extent is the inter-regional cooperation, in terms of preventing Daesh recruitment and interdicting Daesh recruits on their way to Syria and Iraq? Thank you.

Tadashi Maeda, Senior Managing Director, Japan Bank for International Cooperation; Member of the Council, IISS
Thank you, John. First of all, I would like to express my special gratitude to the three defence ministers for the excellent speeches. My question is going to Indian Defence Minister, Mr Parrikar. I think the Japan–India relation has been substantially strengthening between Prime Minister Abe and Prime Minister Modi, and also US Secretary of Defense Dr Carter referred to trilateral security cooperation between India, Japan and the United States also might be upgraded.

My question is that, for the purpose of building up the regional security apparatus, the inclusion of your neighbours such as Nepal, Sri Lanka or Bangladesh to this platform might be very important. I would like to have your views in this regard. Thank you.

Ram Madhav, National General Secretary, Bharatiya Janata Party
Thank you, Mr Chairman. My question is to Minister Parrikar from India. Sir, you have used the phrase Indo-Pacific in your speech at least twice as against the commonly used phrase of Asia-Pacific. Does it signify anything? Thank you.

Barry Desker, Distinguished Fellow, S Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University
Thank you, John. My question is addressed to the three ministers. US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter just discussed the US rebalancing to the Asia-Pacific. However, given US budgetary constraints, the threat posed by ISIS in the Middle East and the return of Russia to global affairs, is it likely that US rebalancing will actually take place?

Dr John Chipman, Director-General and Chief Executive, IISS
Thank you. Well, there are a number of questions here. I will give each of the ministers a couple of minutes to respond in the order in which they initially spoke. Minister Parrikar, if you could respond to the questions posed to you, starting with the one on relations between India and China in the defence sphere. Minister Parrikar, the floor is yours.

Manohar Parrikar, Minister of Defence, India
Maritime-security dialogue with China and many other countries have just been initiated. I understand it could give us a better perspective of each other’s view on the real security hindrance. We can explore the possibility of better cooperation. It is at the initial stage and let me see how it develops, but we are interested. We are interested in engaging with China on maritime security also.

The second aspect is about giving India a special status. I think that question should have been asked to Ash Carter rather than me. However, India definitely considers this as an important development and possibly will give a better depth to the India–US relationship. The many issues get stuck up otherwise in the normal procedures. This could give India easy handle for fast-tracking the US–India relationship.

The third is including our neighbours, like Nepal, in this trilateral dialogue. I think the concept can be explored, but the possibility of these countries taking initiatives based on their role in this region may be very limited. However, we have no objection if someone else is roped in.

The last one was the Indo-Pacific, why I mentioned Indo-Pacific. I think in my speech itself I explained. As far as India is concerned, when we talk about Asia, we start from Suez Canal to the shores of Pacific, so it is east and west, both the sides of India which are towards Asia and Pacific. We refer it to Indo-Pacific, it is Pacific and up to India. That is a concept to the east side of India, because otherwise we will have to take into consideration the Middle East Gulf countries and many other complexities. To avoid that wider aspect, I indicated Indo-Pacific.

Gen Nakatani, Minister of Defense, Japan
The Japanese constitution is based on three main principles: pacifism, sovereignty of the people and basic human rights. Fundamentally, the role of the government is to protect the lives of its people and their peaceful way of life, as well as to put in place laws that serve this purpose. However, in recent years, our circumstances have changed dramatically in terms of national security. Even from an international perspective, as science and technology have advanced, the strength of today's weapons has come to pose a threat that no country can protect itself from single-handedly. We have entered an era where it is necessary for many different countries all over the world to come together and cooperate for our mutual protection.

Despite this, our constitution's non-aggressive policy of self-defence, and the mindset it represents, remain unchanged. Given the circumstances in which Japan now finds itself, with countries working in cooperation with us for Japan's defence, in such circumstances limited collective self-defence may be used. As this law exists purely for our own defence, we will not go out of our way to defend other countries.

Since the proposal of these new self-defence laws, the government has spent more than 200 hours discussing them in the National Assembly. The discussion was approached from all different angles, and since Japan is a democratic nation, such issues are discussed openly and fairly. Our government is endeavouring to ensure that our citizens grow in their understanding, and we hope that those of you from other countries will also gain an accurate understanding of the issues at hand.

With regard to its relationship with India and the United States, Japan is taking a proactive approach. In order to maintain maritime security in such large areas as the Indian and Pacific oceans, cooperation is needed between major powers, such as India, and very strong and capable countries like America, along with Japan. These three countries can protect our oceans by coming together for joint training exercises, mutual cooperation and discussions. Japan is very positive towards this relationship. To start with, Exercise Malabar 2016 will take place in Japan next week, during which training exercises will be carried out in the seas around Japan in various different fields of expertise by the three countries. Japan would like to continue to take part in the exercise on a biannual basis, as part of its proactive approach to its relationship with India and the United States.

Japan is very understanding and supportive of these rebalancing efforts by the United States. There have been frequent discussions around this fundamental idea between Japan and the US, and their respective ministers, including the 2+2 conference, to a very fine level of detail. We are responding to the rebalancing efforts of the United States with a complete understanding of our mutual roles, and a positive mindset towards fulfilling our role within the region in cooperation with the United States. Thank you.

Dato’ Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein, Minister of Defence, Malaysia
Thank you, John. On the issue of the US rebalance, I think you need to address that question to the leadership of the USA. I do not speak for India or Japan, but the mere Defence Minister of Malaysia is not in a position to influence the US whether to have more or less in our region, whether it is economic constraints or what other geopolitical considerations that they have. It is important for us to continue to engage whatever the situation, as far as the two superpowers are concerned.

The fact that we are a small nation, individually we may not be able to navigate these waters alone, so the centrality of ASEAN is imperative. It is also imperative for us to understand – someone told me a few days ago that the channels of engagement between China and US are in the region of about 109 channels for them to engage at their level. Out of this 109, not a single one involves Malaysia.

It is important for small countries like us in ASEAN to ensure that whatever we do and whatever is decided by the superpowers do not leave us on the beach when the tide goes down. That is an important point. John is smiling at me. That is a very important point for the superpowers to understand, because whatever they do is going to affect us and our children and our grandchildren. And all we have in this region is ASEAN, so a united ASEAN, one that is going to decide on its own destiny and engagement with the superpowers as a bloc, is a very challenging task for us all. But like I said in my speech earlier, it involves trust, it involves falling back on international norms and laws, and it involves leadership.

On inter-regional cooperation, that is vital, and it is critical in fact in trying to combat Daesh. What is important about this Shangri-La Dialogue is that the formal structures that exist in region do not involve some of the leaders that are here today. The ADMM, the ADMM–Plus, forums like the FPDA does not involve Turkey, does not involve Italy, it does not involve other countries, but Shangri-La Dialogue is an opportunity where we get all those – and their participation is important.

I would like to speak to Minister Drian later and ask him how he is dealing with the threats of Daesh attacks, which he will not have under the ADMM–Plus or under the ADMM or even the FPDA. It is important now to look further behind Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, and I would support the Manama Dialogue which has been going for ten years in the Middle East in Bahrain.

Now, how do we link this Shangri-La Dialogue with them? John, you will have my support and if time permits, I will be there.

Dr John Chipman, Director-General and Chief Executive, IISS
Thank you very much indeed. I look forward to briefing you after the session on how we might create some useful cross-pollination between the Manama Dialogue and the Shangri-La Dialogue given the security interest they have in common. I am going to go back now to the floor for half a dozen more interventions before the concluding remarks of each of the ministers.

Dr William Choong, Shangri-La Dialogue Senior Fellow for Asia-Pacific Security, IISS–Asia
Thank you, John. My question is for Gen Nakatani. Now, I want to thank Japan for really making good on that SDI, or shall we call the Shangri-La Dialogue Initiative, to bolster maritime security among the states in Asia-Pacific. My question is very un-Japanese and it is going to be a direct one. Shinzo Abe mentioned that Japan might consider patrols in the South China Sea as and when appropriate. Can we get an update from the Japanese minister as to whether Japan will actually join in freedom of navigation operations with the United States in South China Sea? Thank you.

Elina Noor, Director, Foreign Policy and Security Studies, Institute of Strategic and International Studies
Thank you. My question is for the Malaysian Minister of Defence. Sir, how do you see the evolving role of defence agencies and ministries of defence in this region, and particularly in Malaysia, in countering unconventional threats like Daesh which are non-state, although some would say they are quasi-state groups? Thank you.

Dr Ruan Zongze, Executive Vice President and Senior Fellow, China Institute of International Studies
Thank you, John. Thank you very much. My name is Ruan from China. I have a question to Nakatani-san. In your speech, you just said that Japan now is confronting very complex security challenges and also you identified some of them. However, you never mentioned about Japan. As a matter of fact, Japan itself is part of the security challenges that is confronting other countries, because Japan is rapidly expanding its military role. My question is, are you aware of that? Thank you.

Dr Chikako Ueki, Professor, International Relations, Graduate School of Asia-Pacific Studies, Waseda University
Thank you very much, Dr Chipman. I would like to post my question to all three ministers. I think it is a fact that especially after the announcement of the rebalance to Asia, which was about four years ago, and Secretary Ashton Carter and Minister Gen Nakatani had pointed out and also the other two ministers that cooperation in the region and network have increased, and I think that is a fact. But if we look at the effectiveness of this initiative and this strategy of rebalancing and the cooperation that followed, I do not think it has resulted in a changed or more moderate behaviour by China, especially in the South China Sea.

My question is: what do you think is lacking? What could the region do so that China’s behaviour is seen as more stable and contributing to the civility of the region? Basically, I think the activity has increased and aggravated and that was not the result that was hoped for. Thank you.

Asanga Abeyagoonasekera, Advisor to the Minister of Finance, Sri Lanka
Thank you, John. My question is to the Indian Defence Minister. There was a submarine in Sri Lanka, a Chinese submarine, which created a bit of turmoil in the region. How would you handle such scenarios in the future if such Chinese submarines come to Sri Lankan shores? Thank you.

Vijay Thakur Singh, High Commissioner of India to Singapore, India
Thank you, Dr Chipman. My question is to the Japanese and the Malaysian ministers and also to the Indian Defence Minister. The issues in the South China Sea basically relate to conditions being created by China by things like the nine-dash lines, and arbitrarily they will come up with something new, or traditional fishing rights. We do not know what the next item they will bring on. How do you deal with this condition or these challenges?

The second issue is, militarisation of the artificial islands is the major problem. Do you see any way that demilitarisation can be effected, not just by China but everybody else? If it is not effected, what should be the recourse by the countries in the neighbourhood? Thank you.

Professor Rory Medcalf, Head, National Security College, Australian National University
Thank you. My question is to both the Indian and Japanese ministers. Firstly, an observation: I think your presence here is a very strong indication that we live in a multipolar region, so my congratulations on that. I wanted to ask both of you your views about the best or the most stabilising context for a Chinese security presence in the Indian Ocean.

China is active in counter-piracy, has done a good job in that field in recent years, but there are other unilateral activities that have been referred to, such as the submarine patrols in the Indian Ocean. What do you think the right context would be – multilateral, unilateral or something else – to China’s security presence in the Indian Ocean? Thank you.

Ali Sarwar Naqvi, Executive Director, Centre for International Strategic Studies
Thank you, Mr Chipman. I am Sarwar Naqvi from Pakistan. I am the head of the think tank Centre for International Strategic Studies. I have a question for Mr Parrikar. The problems in the South Asia region are, of course, terrorism as the principal one, but there are so many other ones as well, and Pakistan is doing a lot in combating terrorism under the Zarb-e-Azb operation that we have undertaken for the last two years.

My question relates to the other problem, and that is strategic stability in South Asia. It is nuclearised region, and what worries Pakistan is the nuclearisation of the Indian Ocean, because recently the Indian submarine Arihant has launched the K-4 and plans for more such missile deployments. We think that this is going to nuclearise the Indian Ocean because these are nuclear-armed missiles. I would like to have his comments on this. Thank you, sir.

Dr Satoru Nagao, Research Fellow, The Tokyo Foundation; Lecturer, Gakushuin University
Thank you very much for giving me a chance to ask a question. My question is towards the Indian Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar. It is no doubt, India is great power, but it is also true that India’s military modernisation have plenty of problems. Unfortunately, about half fighter jets and submarine can operate in India waters, some media report. Could you explain how to solve that?

Dr John Chipman, Director-General and Chief Executive, IISS
Thank you very much. Well, I will again return to the panel to respond to those questions and make any additional closing remarks they might like. Two or three minutes each, to Minister Parrikar first.

Manohar Parrikar, Minister of Defence, India
As pointed out, cooperation in this region has increased between the stakeholders. I think there is a reason why the tension is what it is. Minus this cooperation, the tension could have been much more. I feel what is lacking in the full situation is trust deficit, understanding each other’s perspective and better development of trust between the stakeholder to reduce the tension.

It should also be understood by everyone, as I have mentioned in my speech, that it is ultimately economics. If you have an unstable region, like what you have in the Middle East, I do not think economics and prosperity would really enhance, whether it is any small country or the biggest country. However small it may be, however powerful it may be, no commerce or commercial activity could take place in high-tension zones. I think it is in the interest of everyone, including China, to ensure that the peace remains in this region. Better coordination, better cooperation could ensure that each one’s prospective and vested interest is built up.

This is one about militarisation of Indian Ocean: I do not think the apprehensions are correct, because India has been very responsible. It is, in fact – if you see the recent statement of some of the Pakistani nuclear scientists, they were mostly irrational, that we can hit New Delhi in five minutes. What are you worried about? We do not intend to hit anyone with the nuclear weapons.

India is a very responsible country, but actually the gentleman should talk to his leadership to ensure that very irrational comments, statements do not flow out of Pakistani establishment. He talked about Pakistan doing a lot on anti-terrorism activity. I think it is right in a sense because Pakistan separates the terrorists between good ones and bad ones, so they are after bad ones. The good ones are promoted to operate in Afghanistan and in India. I think that needs to be tackled at a diplomatic level. I would expect the leadership to understand this difference and accordingly work with India for a better-coordinated approach. Again, this could be in the interest of both the countries. Prime Minister Modi opened the window of opportunities when he visited Pakistan’s prime minister. I think that window is slowly closing. Before it closes, Pakistan needs to develop the trust with India on its sincerity on the approach.

The rest, about submarines issue, I think it is a case-to-case basis. We open maritime-security dialogue with China, we can raise the issues at various forums and would be handled on a case-to-case basis.

Gen Nakatani, Minister of Defense, Japan

In the South China Sea, we are currently seeing unilateral claims and actions being taken which are motivated by power and which are undermining the maritime order. Furthermore, the stability that has been achieved through partnership between countries is at risk of unravelling. Japan is extremely concerned about such behaviour, which goes against the established rules, and particularly against the maritime order based on international law.

Japan is not carrying out any permanent surveillance activities in the East China Sea in response to the situation, nor do we have any plans to do so. However, to achieve stability in the region’s seas, a number of things must be done that I have addressed in today’s speech, including the establishment of the three main principles I mentioned, and of common rules and laws. We must also ensure the security of our seas and skies, which requires the full capabilities of each country, surveillance activities and a complete understanding of the situation on the seas. We must increase our capabilities and remain in constant cooperation with each other.

Finally, I would like to propose further meetings between countries for the purpose of more in-depth discussion of initiatives like the SDI. This would take place in the form of further international forums to discuss the creation of specific policies with the aim of cooperative harmony. In Japan, we have a saying that the affairs of the state should be decided by public opinion. Whatever happens, we must always keep the door open for discussion to take place, and uphold the outcomes of such discussions. As a nation, Japan is striving to maintain order in the South China Sea through the discussion of policies with other countries, and measures such as capacity-building and joint training exercises to ensure the stability of the region.

Dato’ Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein, Minister of Defence, Malaysia
Thank you, John. Allow me first to respectfully disagree with Minister Manohar Parrikar. There are no good or bad terrorists. All terrorists are bad. In that respect, dealing with Daesh, we have a common enemy, which will hopefully unite us in dealing with this new threat which I tried to explain in my speech earlier.

Elina from Malaysia asked how the different agencies in dealing with security are coordinated. That is very pertinent, because I was the Home Minister before. Now, I have been tasked to look at defence. I can see the lines being very blurred between home security and defence when dealing with the challenges now and in the future.

What is required is to get all these agencies coordinated. For example, they have their own separate intelligence agencies, military intelligence, special branch and other national-security agencies that need to be coordinated. In Malaysia, there is the national-security council chaired by the prime minister himself and we meet every two weeks. That is where all these agencies are coordinated. It is not easy because the threats are new. The old templates do not work anymore. Old practices have to be rethought.

It can be done if we can share good practices with those that are going through it right now across the globe. This is why I feel that this forum, we will monitor very closely the discussion and, more importantly, the networking and the exchanging of intelligence and how that can be shared amongst the different agencies. But the point is taken that the security agencies, the different agencies in the respective countries, can no longer work in silos.

On the region and what can we do with regards to geopolitical superpowers, I think, like I said earlier, is impossible for us to deal with them unilaterally. Our best bet here in this region is still ASEAN. In September we will all be going to have an informal with Ash Carter in Hawaii, and we did that last year in Beijing.

I think continuous engagement together, ten ASEAN countries deciding and figuring out what actually is the intentions and what we have to face in the future, is something that we need to engage directly with China, with the US and more, has got to be done at different levels of engagement. Those channels of engagement that I mentioned earlier between China and US, I think we have more of those between ASEAN and China and US. Thank you.

Manohar Parrikar, Minister of Defence, India
Dr Chipman, I would just like to clarify that I totally agree with you that there is no distinction between a good and a bad terrorist. What I referred to was a comment by some leaders and some establishments from Pakistan who said that these are good terrorists and these are bad terrorist. I agree with you. Only I think you did not understand.

Gen Nakatani, Minister of Defense, Japan

There is an old East Asian saying that states: where might is master, justice is servant. This means that no matter what, we must not overstep the mark. I believe we must apply our good and common sense, and firmly hold to such principles. The security of the region depends on our partnership, so let us be diligent in creating rules to shape a new order that visibly reflects this.

Dr John Chipman, Director-General and Chief Executive, IISS
Minister, thank you very much, and I am glad we achieved a full consensus on these sensitive issues. We have had an excellent start to our morning with four fantastic state ministers. I am delighted to have brought this Second Plenary Session to a close 30 seconds earlier than the scheduled time of 11.30. I invite you all back to this hall 30 seconds earlier than the next start time at 30 seconds to 12.00 for our final concluding plenary. Please join me in thanking the ministers for their statements and engagements. Thank you. 

Making Defence Policy in Uncertain Times

Making Defence Policy in Uncertain Times: General (Retd) Ryamizard Ryacudu

As Delivered

General (Retd) Ryamizard Ryacudu, Minister of Defence, Indonesia
Bismillahirrahmanirrahim, in the Name of God, the most Gracious and most Merciful.

The honourable Minister of Defence of Singapore; the IISS Director-General and Chief Executive Dr John Chipman, distinguished colleagues from the Ministry of Defence, and my co-speakers, Minister of Defense Han Minkoo, Minister of Defence Michael Fallon. Esteemed participants of the Shangri-La Dialogue. It is truly an honour and a pleasure for me to stand before you all at this Third Plenary Session of the 2016 Shangri-La Dialogue, and to have the opportunity to present views about making defence policy in these uncertain times.

I would like to express my gratitude and appreciation for the warm and friendly welcome from the government of Singapore, in this instance the Singapore Ministry of Defence, and the organising committee of the 2016 Shangri-La Dialogue.

The leading sector that deals with and bears responsibility for a country’s national defence must consider future threats to the state – based on strategic studies and analyses at the global and especially the regional level – that could affect national defence and in turn have enormous impact, harming the country and the region. 

Through this Shangri-La Dialogue, we hope to be able to deliver a common commitment to strengthening the centrality of ASEAN in the region and on the global level. And this strengthening the centrality of ASEAN is our modality for working together on defence to build a security architecture to maintain the stability of security and peace in the region.

At the Shangri-La Dialogue last year, and in various forums with friendly nations, I have frequently said that global geopolitical and geostrategic developments will create new and increasingly serious and complex challenges for nations. These challenges have evolved into new threats. These are threats that are real, dynamic and multidimensional, that can emerge in physical or non-physical form at home or from outside a country. These threats are terrorism and radicalism, separatism and armed uprising, natural disasters, border violations, robbery and theft of natural resources, disease epidemics, the drug trade and abuse of narcotics, cyber wars and intelligence wars.

What we are seeing is that most of these threats are real, and affect countries across the world. This includes countries in the Asia-Pacific region. Some of these threats are on a domestic scale, and the country affected by them can thus deal with them on its own. However, threats also exist on a regional or global scale that require a collective response and joint action by bringing together capabilities through collaboration and interaction between countries. 

On this occasion, I will discuss the three main tangible threats in the region that have reared their head and have the potential to upset regional stability and security, as well as the defence strategy designed by the Indonesian Ministry of Defence to deal with these potential threats.

First is the threat of terrorism in the region. ISIS, which began life as a home-grown militia in Iraq that emerged as the result of domestic political conflict after the end of the Saddam Hussein administration, has now metamorphosed into a transnational power that is feared in many countries. Here, I must emphasise that ISIS is only the result of domestic political conflicts in Iraq and Syria, in which religion plays no part.

I repeat, ISIS is not a matter of religion. ISIS has become a new power in global terrorism, more frightening even than al-Qaeda. ISIS is extremely dangerous because they threaten not only countries in the Middle East but nations across the globe, as we have seen from the latest attacks in Paris, Brussels, Pakistan and more recently in Indonesia, including bombings in Jakarta.

Therefore, we need to take serious measures and steps to confront, anticipate and tackle the threat of ISIS. The concrete steps taken by several countries with military operations to destroy the logistics infrastructure and to stop funding to ISIS units represent appropriate measures that are able to undermine the central gravity of ISIS groups.

This echoes what I said at last year’s Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, that the key to weakening the power of ISIS is to destroy its logistics strength. Another aspect that is of concern to us is how to tackle this terrorism effectively in light of the evolution of the nature of this threat.

Recently, Southeast Asia has not escaped from the evolution of a new, ISIS-inspired coalition that poses a terrorism threat. Operating around the Sulu Sea, this coalition involves insurgent groups from the southern Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, a handful of Uighurs from China and even groups from the Middle East.

From these events we can draw the conclusion that these nation-states are confronted not only with the threat of international-scale terrorism, but a threat in the form of a coalition of individuals and groups from various nations.

Indonesia is home to the world’s largest Muslim population of more the 200 million people who are prime targets for being influenced by the radicalism of this ISIS group. The results of a survey in December 2015 indicate that 96% of Indonesians are adamantly opposed to the ISIS ideology. However, 4% of the respondents chose not to answer. While these results come as some relief, we need to remain alert regarding those who chose not to answer. The reason is that with this number, even only 1% of the Muslim population in Indonesia still represents some 2 million people. One can imagine how much stronger ISIS would be if they were to be radicalised by ISIS. Because today, ISIS is only around 200,000 strong, including sympathisers. And that number alone has shaken and terrified the world. One of the concerns of the Indonesian Ministry of Defence is how to overcome this.

Ladies and gentlemen, I believe that the growing threat of terrorism is not restricted to damaging physical attacks but includes mass ideological propaganda attacks that could influence the way people think and their views. It is that ideology that is more dangerous. The influence of this propaganda and agitation replete with violence, enmity and incitement as well as appeals to join these terrorist groups, targeting certain sections of society and certain professions with the aim of destroying a country’s patriotism or nationalism and ideology, will eventually culminate in the destruction of the country’s unity and integrity.

Next is maritime security. With regard to maritime security, geographically our region is of great importance to global trade and the global economy. More than 50% of world trade passes through the region, including some 30% of the world’s oil. Guaranteeing our marine security is therefore vital and essential to bolstering economies in the region.

We are also aware that the Asia-Pacific region itself also has long-standing unresolved threats, such as the disputes in the South China Sea, which we all obviously hope will not turn into open conflict. I am optimistic that through intensive dialogue and by abiding by the law – there are several UN laws that must be complied with – the commitment of the conflicting parties to reach agreement with mutual respect and in good faith to solve this problem will ameliorate or even eliminate conflict in the South China Sea. It is true that the problems in the South China Sea will not be easily resolved, but we need to resolve this problem together.

As a peace-loving nation, Indonesia will always advocate for approaches to be made to the major powers of those involved in conflict in the region. The main goal is communication. This is to encourage the countries involved in the competition in the South China Sea to be more open and take concrete steps to keep working together within the ASEAN framework. This will be achieved by prioritising dialogue, openness and transparency, as well as cooperating with the media, to resolve issues peacefully, equitably and with mutual respect in keeping with the spirit of ASEAN, and the spirit of the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation.

In maintaining maritime security in the region, several ASEAN member countries have also undertaken concrete joint action, including coordinated patrols in the Strait of Malacca. These actions have brought heartening results, with the crime rate in these waters reducing drastically to zero incidents.

Tackling the crimes, the piracy that still frequently occurs in ASEAN waters requires intensified programmes for joint naval training for the worst-affected countries in the region, in which the procedures for coordination and sharing knowledge of the area and the situation on the ground will become an established routine in order to create an effective deterrent for perpetrators of these crimes.

Naturally, we do not want our maritime areas to be unsafe, as happened in the seas of Somalia, which resulted in disruption to trade routes that hurt the global economy. Here, I should underline the importance of increasing collaboration in maritime security, not just for trade, but because maritime areas are also vulnerable to cross-border crime.

Human trafficking, refugees and cross-border trade in narcotics, narcotics in particular being a serious threat on par with the threat of terrorism, demand our joint attention.

The release of 14 Indonesian citizens held captive by the Abu Sayyaf radical group in the southern Philippines attests to the success of the collaboration between the Philippine and Indonesian governments. Learning from this experience, I emphasise the importance of intensifying regional collaboration in counter-terrorism and maritime security.

I call on all members of ASEAN to consider concrete and strategic new initiatives to improve security and stability in waters that are routes for both regional and international navigation and trade. In this context, we must start thinking about a new synergic approach between the counter-terrorism and maritime-security working groups.

Natural disasters: the ASEAN region lies on the Pacific Ring of Fire. Its geographical position means that countries in the region are constantly affected by natural disasters. Learning from the experience of responding to tsunamis in Indonesia, Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines and the recent earthquake in Japan, we are reminded of the importance of collaboration in disaster management, including collaboration between civilians and the military.

I encourage all countries in the region to work in coordination to address the issue of natural disasters in order to improve or facilitate the process of disaster management through training. Based on my own experience, I believe that no country has the means to cope with disaster all on its own. Therefore, Indonesia actively promotes bilateral, regional and multilateral collaboration to build capacity for mitigating disaster risks. 

In recent years, there have been hundreds of recorded natural disasters. These disasters include volcanic activity, earthquakes, storms, landslides and floods. Through ASEAN and partner countries, several agreements have been made to work together to mitigate the impact and harm of these disasters. 

In preparation for natural disasters, Indonesia will also be strengthening its armed forces by equipping them with early-detection equipment and with heavy cargo aircraft and helicopters to help in the event of a natural disaster.

Defence-strategy design: esteemed fellow defence ministers and ladies and gentlemen, in the face of the multidimensional dynamics and tangible threats that I have discussed, the Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Indonesia has drafted several defence policies, which include:

Firstly, to build the posture of national defence by upgrading and replacing the primary-defence weapons systems with the sole aim of protecting our sovereign integrity, while maintaining preparedness against real, evolving threats and for humanitarian missions.

Secondly, to intensify defence bilateral and multilateral collaboration in the region with the aim of building capacity and self-assurance.

Thirdly, to intensify defence coordination and collaboration among ASEAN countries and also with friendly nations.

Fourthly, to build nationalism through a national-defence programme to support the nation’s defence against threats, and as a tool to strengthen the national identity against left-wing and right-wing radical ideology, and other radical ideologies.

The fifth is to strengthen defence potential in tackling uncertain situations and the escalation of threats as a result of the ever-changing dynamics of developments in the strategic environment.

This defence strategy is designed and built on the principle of a defensive-active force of conscience, which represents a combination of soft power and hard power and a system of universal civil defence to build the inner mental strength of the people by strengthening the spirit, passion and mindset of the people through a concept of awareness of national defence supported by the strength of the armed forces.

The thrust of development in this defence system will be appropriate to the scale of priorities of potential threats, in particular to anticipate and tackle real threats. This includes building defence systems and strategy, defence capability and structure, and the professionalism of the Indonesian Armed Forces, and developing defence technology in support of the readiness of our primary weapons systems.

Esteemed colleagues, relations between nations ebb and flow. And I hope that with my fellow defence ministers, relations with the Ministry of Defence will not ebb, but remain in good shape, enabling us to create a bridge to repair relations between countries that currently have poor relations, and to advocate defence diplomacy for the creation of harmonious political relations. Going forward, partnerships in defence will remain a vital instrument in building collaboration to ensure a legacy of peace, security and stability for the populations of our countries and the whole world. 

I hope that what we have discussed here will form a common basis for us to make concrete progress, however small, so that by the next meeting, we will be able to make further improvements to what we have discussed here today.

Finally, I hope that security and defence collaboration can be one solution for resolving the issues arising in the region’s countries. Together, let us build on what we share in common and narrow the differences between us, and work shoulder to shoulder to support and promote the survival and prosperity of the human race through a sense of common destiny and collective prosperity.

I will conclude here. Thank you.

Making Defence Policy in Uncertain Times: Han Minkoo

As Delivered

Han Minkoo, Minister of National Defense, Republic of Korea
IISS Chief Executive John Chipman, Singapore Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean, the secretaries of defence from each country and security experts, I am pleased to have the opportunity today to share opinions with you on peace and stability in the Pacific region. I would like to express a deep gratitude to IISS Chief Executive John Chipman and the Singaporean government for granting me this opportunity.

I am going to speak today on the Republic of Korea’s and the Asia-Pacific region’s greatest, critical military threat, which includes North Korea’s nuclear capabilities, and our government’s stance on this issue. I would also like to share my opinions on various security threats which the Asia-Pacific region and all of humanity are facing today, as uncertainty increases day by day. Lastly, I would like to propose a direction for a few national-defence policies to decrease security threats in this age of uncertainty.

Ladies and gentlemen, we are living in an age of uncertainty on the Korean Peninsula, Asia, and at the global level, where we must face various challenges – all occurring simultaneously. In particular, on the Korean Peninsula, where for 70 years we have suffered from the scars left behind by the division of our country, there is continuous military tension and instability. On the brink of the new year, North Korea conducted its fourth nuclear test and launched long-range missiles as well as a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM). Their threats are becoming more severe with the deployment of nuclear warheads, publicising pictures of nuclear warheads while declaring a pre-emptive nuclear strike, and more.

These actions by North Korea are unprecedented military threats and provocations, and are actions that threaten peace within the Republic of Korea, the Asia-Pacific and all over the world. If we are not able to immediately stop these unpredictable North Korean nuclear provocations, then humanity’s dream of realising a world without nuclear weapons will fade into nothing, and the international system of non-proliferation will come to a close. Due to these very issues, more than ever before we must have the utmost urgency and a firm will in order to devise a solution.

Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for the wholehearted support that the international community has extended in addressing the North Korean issue. The UN Security Council, by unanimously adopting Security Council Resolution 2270, which includes measures for comprehensive sanctions, clearly expressed that it can no longer tolerate North Korea’s nuclear-missile provocations. Moreover, international organisations from 11 regions, as well as 112 nations around the world and ASEAN have formally expressed their opposition to the development of nuclear weapons in North Korea and are continuously demanding fulfilment of the UN Security Council resolution. Furthermore, even nations that exchange with North Korea or nations friendly with North Korea are participating in sanctions against North Korea through actions such as freezing assets and halting financial transactions.

However, despite Korea–US relations and firm measures by the international community, on 6 May at the 7th Party Congress North Korea clearly stated again that they have no intention to denuclearise. At the congress, which was held for the first time in 36 years, North Korea not only declared itself a nuclear power and stated that it will focus on Kim Jong-un’s monolithic rule, but it also did not show any sort of qualitative change. North Korea’s proposal for dialogue, which did not include any mention of denuclearisation, was nothing more than a mere disguise as a peace offensive that lacked sincerity. It is meant to dissolve the Korea–US and international community’s framework of sanctions, which are becoming stronger, and to subvert their cooperation against North Korea.

The Republic of Korea will no longer spend time on these meaningless talks. The talks that we desire are ones where North Korea strategically decides to give up all nuclear weapons and show this through their actions, after which they will initiate reconciliation and collaboration between North and South Korea. To everyone here today, I ask that we combine our strengths so that North Korea will come out of their obsession and illusion about nuclear weapons and will participate in serious talks and join us on the road to co-prosperity.

Ladies and gentlemen, the Asian continent, which has the world’s largest landmass and population, is receiving attention around the world as being a dynamic, diverse growth engine. However, in the field of security, as opposition and conflict are intensifying amongst nations within the region, which are all linked by their history and land, the fact is that the situation at hand is becoming more critical and uncertainty is rising. On top of this, we are facing various types of non-traditional, transnational challenges and threats, including those related to maritime security, natural disasters and piracy. These challenges are difficult to solve with just the strength of one nation, so security and co-prosperity through multinational cooperation are necessary.

Even in the Asia-Pacific region, amongst the brilliant governments there are multilateral cooperative mechanisms being developed and functioning, including EAS, ARF, ASEAN and ADMM–Plus. However, the truth is that it is still hard to say that systematic, effective multilateral security cooperation is being achieved among the nations in the region. This phenomenon arises from a place that is not stable and involves practices that resolve problems through talks and cooperation, and a framework that can mediate conflict.

If international security issues could be resolved by way of talks amongst the related countries, then that would be the fastest and most effective way. However, mediating interests amongst countries with conflict is not always an easy thing. Sometimes assistance is needed and, in some cases, a collective wisdom among many is necessary. For this very reason, even though the road there will be long and hard, security-cooperation platforms among the countries in the region must be revitalised.

Moreover, I think that along with the Shangri-La Dialogue, participation in conferences by the government and people, as a means to provide compensation among governments, has great value. More than anything, the diverse voices of society can reflect on the establishment of national-security policies by way of honest talks.

In this age of mutual reliance, the practice of public and private governance is a catalyst which can propel talks and cooperation even in the field of security. Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to announce that the Republic of Korea’s Ministry of National Defense is making cooperation amongst countries in the area a primary goal for its national-defence policy and is actively moving to carry this plan into action.

The Republic of Korea participates in various dialogues for countries in the region, such as several bilateral conferences with nearby countries, ARF, ADMM–Plus, the Shangri-La Dialogue and the Xiangshan Forum, and every year since 2012 we have been opening the national-defence sub-cabinet Seoul security talks. The Army of the Republic of Korea has passed the first step to cooperation by coming together with neighbouring countries to share intelligence and experience and has expanded the breadth of participation through real cooperation in other areas, including disasters and disaster relief, participation in search-and-rescue operations, and joint military exercises for maritime security.

Ladies and gentlemen, I think that minimising security concern is most certainly the greatest duty for the directors of the national-defence ministries in this age of uncertainty. For this, today I will, on the comprehensive and theoretical levels, propose the following policies. First, as I already stated earlier, reinforcement of security talks among nations in the region.

Second, we must reconsider military transparency among nations in the region. Another problem that we have been facing is a so-called lack of trust. In a situation where one is always suspicious of the intentions of the other, it is impossible to cultivate trust. Because of this, in order to develop trust amongst neighbouring nations and prevent military conflict due to misunderstandings we must reconsider national-security-policy transparency for each nation. Now, even among Asia-Pacific region nations it appears that serious talks must begin in regards to mutual transparency for matters such as national-defence budgets and how to build trust.

Third, staying within the boundaries of international standards, we must devote our efforts to mediating conflicts. Only international orders which are governed by international standards can solve each country’s security dilemmas in this age of uncertainty. Due to these very reasons the Republic of Korea government has emphasised that the South China Sea issue, in the midst of free airspace and sea navigation, needs to be peacefully solved according to internationally established rules of conduct and through negotiation.

Lastly, each nation must reinforce comprehensive security. One can say that the complexity, diversity and interconnectedness of the security threat that we are facing today are all characteristics of it. Because of this, today’s security issue isn’t simply a military issue, but it also stretches across areas of provisions, energy and the environment, among other things. I think that we must realise a comprehensive form of security that takes into consideration threats in the field of economics, foreign affairs, society and the environment.

In the realm of comprehensive security cooperation, the Republic of Korea will use the help it has received from the past as a foundation and take international cooperation, humanitarian support, PKO movements and the exchange of individual experiences a step further. The Republic of Korea will share the experience and knowledge that it has acquired from many places across the world with countries across the globe, while building a cooperative partnership that gives its all to peace and safety in today’s global village. I look forward to any further proposals becoming a foundation for Asian co-prosperity and peace among nations in the region through the development of more concrete and efficient cooperative measures.

In closing, in the long 15-year history of the Shangri-La Dialogue I look forward to each country’s delegation combining strengths and wisdom to find the clues to solving the region’s various disputes and walking together on the path to co-prosperity. Once again, I express my deepest gratitude to IISS and the Singaporean government who prepared this meeting. In Africa there is a saying that goes, ‘If you want to go in a hurry then go alone, if you want to go far then go together’. You are all my friends walking together with me on that path. Thank you.

Making Defence Policy in Uncertain Times: Michael Fallon

As Delivered

Dr John Chipman, Director-General and Chief Executive, IISS
Minister, thank you very much for that very crisp presentation in which you took time to detail the provocative actions by the DPRK over the last several months, and also for your reminder that a sincere dialogue with North Korea can only really take place in a context in which it accepts the need for denuclearisation.

It is with great pleasure that I invite a representative of a permanent member of the UN Security Council to addresses us now, Michael Fallon, Secretary of State for Defence of the United Kingdom.

Michael Fallon, Secretary of State for Defence, UK
Good afternoon and thank you, John. It is a pleasure to be attending my second Shangri-La Dialogue. Let me say, John, that only the Shangri-La Dialogue could have diverted me from the excitement of the British referendum.

A real pleasure to be back here in Singapore, a place that I instinctively feel at home. Our countries, Britain and Singapore, have much in common. As islands, as trading states, as proud maritime nations we share a history, we share a set of values and we share a future. It is across this region that we see exciting possibilities through the advance of technology, the advance of trade, with some £3 trillion a year passing through the South China Sea. This is a future that Britain wants to be part of.

Predicting the exact course of that future is an art and not a science, and a reason why today’s topic, Making Defence Policy in Uncertain Times, is unlikely to produce easy or precise answers. Indeed, our own Strategic Defence and Security Review, published last year, showed this unpredictability to be increasing.

Today, we are witnessing the resurgence of state-based threats such as Russia, the rise of non-state actors like Daesh and the increasing aggression of rogue countries. At the same time, our adversaries are developing new methods and mechanisms for waging war, whether cyber or hybrid.

How is it we should respond? Not through appeasement or by burying our heads in the sand. That would simply reward aggression and place us in greater danger. On the contrary, we should be standing up all the more firmly for what we believe in. Since we lack the luxury of picking and choosing our adversaries, we have to be ready for anything.

That is why our own Strategic Review gives Britain a bigger defence and greater capabilities: a larger land division, fifth-generation F-35s, more Typhoons in service, cutting-edge UAVs, new submarines to deploy our nuclear deterrent and our two new aircraft carriers, the most powerful ships Britain has ever built. Those carriers will be ready in the 2020s to sail these seas to contribute to regional security here and to be ready to help in humanitarian and disaster relief.

The success of our overall deterrence, our ability to convince aggressors that the reward for attack is outweighed by the cost, does not of course hinge on that military might alone but on diplomatic, economic, legal, technological and covert muscle. So, our Strategic Review delivers what we hope is an integrated approach, with new policymaking and delivery joint units, uniting diplomacy and defence expertise to develop and implement policy.

Our cross-government counter-Daesh task force shows how integration works in practice, with different departments combining to shut down Daesh’s online presence, to restrict its financial support, to prevent its fighters crossing our borders and, above all, to counter its poisonous ideology.

But at a time of growing threats, Britain cannot do it alone. Not when countries and religions who feel denied what they see is their due place in the world are becoming increasingly assertive, looking to redraw the map or to belligerently impose their views on others.

This is not just happening in our European backyard, but here in the Indo-Pacific. With North Korea, as we have just heard from my colleague, flouting United Nations resolutions and testing nuclear weapons. With terror concerns, underlined by last year’s Bangkok bombing. With territorial disputes and a host of non-traditional security threats, from shifts in demography to the effects of climate change. Such challenges here threaten to advance a new arc of instability across Southeast Asia.

We believe that the only way to mitigate such threats is by shoring up the rules-based international order to which we all subscribe. That is why, under the guidance of our Security Review, United Kingdom defence has become ‘international-by-design’. That means, first, strengthening our alliances, doing more with our partners to deliver our national-security goals. We are deepening our strategic relationships, not just with primary allies such as the United States and France and Germany but with allies here in this region. We see potential in deeper collaboration on capabilities as well as on operations, helping to spread the burden of security and to drive down its cost.

We are strengthening multilateral institutions, too. We are at the fulcrum of NATO, and besides choosing to maintain our 2% spend, we are supporting missions in the Baltic and Afghanistan, and we are joining the United States in urging the Alliance to adapt.

In Europe, we are pushing the European Union to flex its financial, diplomatic and legal muscles as it has been doing with Russia. We are doubling our peacekeeping support to the United Nations and, as our Strategic Review confirmed, we are reaffirming our commitment to the Asia-Pacific.

We are proud to play a full role in the Five Power Defence Arrangements, still the only formal multilateral defence arrangement in Southeast Asia. Meanwhile, to realise the economic as well as defence benefits of our international partnerships, we are investing more heavily in defence engagement, expanding our footprint, establishing a British defence staff in Asia-Pacific, increasing training places at our renowned military colleges and courses, embedding liaison officers in the regional HADR Coordination Centre here in Singapore to support nations in times of need, coupled with our regionally aligned brigades and our defence garrison in Brunei. Our message to this region is simple: we are here to stay and we are ready to help.

Second, being international-by-design demands a Shangri-La specialty: dialogue. A hundred years on from the Battle of the Somme and the First World War, we are reminded of the bitter price that Europe paid when nations stopped talking. We are backing international efforts to maintain the momentum of the peace accords in the Philippines. We are helping the Burmese government to deliver its peace process. Yes, we are concerned about the growing tensions in the South China Sea. As the G7 heads of government made clear last weekend, we are committed to maintaining a rules-based maritime order in accordance with the principles of international law as reflected in the United Nations Convention.

Let me be clear. We are not taking sides in individual disputes. We do not support the claims of any particular claimants over another. Our commitment is to the rules-based international system, to international law and the maintenance of freedom of navigation and overflight, and we regard both of these as non-negotiable. We also expect all parties to avoid actions which could further raise tensions and to implement the rulings of the United Nations Tribunal. We urge the resumption of peaceful negotiations, including on a binding code of conduct on the South China Sea.

Third and finally, international-by-design means acting as well as talking, especially when it comes to tackling international terrorism. We all now face threats from foreign fighters and from radicalisation within our own countries. We are working regionally to share information, counter radicalisation and to investigate potential terror plots. We are joining forces to protect the global commons, to safeguard, too, the virtual commons of the cybersphere.

More broadly, we are increasingly operating in combined formations to speed up our response to the threats that we face. Last month, we tested our combined joint expeditionary force with the French. Next year, we command NATO’s very high readiness joint task force. Here in Asia, our Royal Air Force Typhoons will be flying in for Exercise Bersama Lima, after which we plan for them to visit Japan and the Republic of Korea.

Finally, we are making sure we leverage our diplomatic as well as our military clout alongside our partners to stop the dangerous pursuit of nuclear weapons by North Korea. That means exerting sanctions on the regime to make it respect international norms. We were instrumental in helping to draft the latest United Nations Security Resolution 2270, containing some of the toughest measures yet, restricting the transfer of technology and impeding North Korea’s efforts to secure a deployable nuclear weapon.

In conclusion, let me address the theme of this Dialogue again. To make defence policy in uncertain times, to avoid nasty surprises, it is in the interest of all regional powers to abide by international norms and to intensify engagement between our armed forces. That, of course, is about more than simply security. In recent times, Asia-Pacific has enjoyed unprecedented prosperity precisely because of the stability that has been underpinned by the rules-based system. The evidence is there for all to see. When ships sail and planes fly, trade flourishes, and that provides not simply security but opportunity and prosperity for all of us. Thank you.

Dr John Chipman, Director-General and Chief Executive, IISS
Michael, thank you very much. I am delighted that the Shangri-La Dialogue can offer temporary asylum to ministers suffering the difficult turmoils of domestic politics. However, I am even happier that it has provided you a platform to give expression to the UK’s defence policy that is, as you put it, international-by-design, a phrase that I think will resonate in this hall. Also for your reassertion of the need to uphold norms and international law in this region as well as globally.

Making Defence Policy in Uncertain Times: Q&A

As Delivered

Dr Chung Min Lee, Professor of International Relations, Graduate School of International Studies, Yonsei University; Member of the Council, IISS
Thank you, John. I have a question to Minister Han Minkoo and to Defence Secretary Fallon. To Minister Han Minkoo, the Republic of Korea has critical stakes in South China Sea as a major oil importer through the Malacca Strait. Does the Korean government have plans to engage in naval patrols in the South China Sea together with our key allies, the US and other countries?

Number two to Minister Han: China, as you know, has been very, very upset about a potential THAAD deployment in South Korea to answer against a North Korean nuclear threat. Is our government committed with the US in deploying a THAAD system, and how do you foresee that particular plan as you plan deterrence policy vis-à-vis North Korea?

To Minister Fallon, the UK’s defence budget this year was $56 billion and while that is a respectable sum, is that enough for the UK to do both nuclear deterrence and power projection and fight, for example, non-state actors such as ISIS in the next ten-year time frame? Thank you.

Dr Nelly Lahoud, Senior Fellow for Political Islamism, IISS–Middle East
Thank you. My question is to Minister Ryacudu. Indonesia has been vigilant and largely successful in countering the jihadi terrorism threat, including that emanating from ISIS. However, analysts have also questioned the Indonesian authorities’ rather relaxed attitude towards Indonesia’s imprisoned jihadi community. More specifically, it has been highlighted that inmates are allowed to have access to smartphones and, in doing so, they are able to radicalise others outside the prison system. Could you please comment on why Indonesia is resisting to take such basic measures to enhance its CT efforts? Thank you.

Aidan Foster-Carter, Honorary Senior Research Fellow in Sociology and Modern Korea, Leeds University
Thank you very much. A couple of questions, if I may, to Minister Han about the Korean situation. Two quickies and a nearly quickie. The quickies are, could you tell us anything about something I just read in passing, that the hotlines across the DMZ, which were reported as all having been cut by the North Koreans at the time of the Kaesong closure in February, have in fact reopened – that is the first piece of good news that I have heard from Korea for some time this year. When did they reopen and which ones are open and are they used?

The second question – slightly branching out from the peninsula – I would love to know more about military-to-military relations between ROK and the People’s Republic of China, the PLA and the security dialogue. We had an announcement this morning from Secretary Carter of the revival of the, you might call, the old trilateralism: South Korea, Japan and the US. Understandable, but it would be nice to know what is happening with China as well.

Then the third one, which I will keep as brief as I can, I want to know what you think, Minister, or what your government thinks, exactly has changed on the peninsula between 2013 and 2016. I mean the following: in 2013 the then-new President Park was greeted very rudely by those rude people in North Korea with a nuclear test. There was a lot of threatening in that spring, people may remember. They were going to nuke Texas, I seem to remember, for some unknown reason. The concrete thing they did was to close the Kaesong zone by withdrawing their workers. Three years ago President Park worked patiently and successfully under the nuclear shadow to reopen the Kaesong zone, seeing it as a long-term commitment to the stability of the peninsula in spite of the present tensions, and a new agreement was drawn up at the ROK’s insistence that the zone would never be closed again for any political reason whatever. Well, as I think most people in this room know, 2016 was different, and I just wonder what exactly you think has changed.

Dr Jonathan Pollack, Senior Fellow, Foreign Policy, John L Thornton China Center and Center for East Asia Policy Studies, Brookings Institution
My question is also directed to Minister Han. There have been repeated controversies about the prospect of a decision to deploy a THAAD system and I daresay even a measure of mixed messages, even in recent days here while we have been in Singapore. My question is: is it possible for Minister Han to clarify both the criteria that would govern any decision on whether to deploy THAAD in the associated radars and on what scale?

At the same time there is the question, as has already been mentioned, of the effort to reassure China, if that is possible, that this is not a China-directed activity. If, Mr Han, you can clarify at all how your government has tried to approached China on these matters, even as it is obviously a matter of the ROK deciding in its own national-security interest what it should do and with whom.

Natalie Sambhi, Research Fellow, Perth USAsia Centre
Yes, my question is addressed to the Indonesian Defense Minister, Ryamizard Ryacudu. My question, Minister, is when you talked about ideologies destabilising the national cohesion, I would like to ask you a question about the threat of communism. To what extent is this a defence issue, or is it something that should be addressed by civil society, and how would you in your assessment rank this threat versus a threat posed by the ideology of ISIS?

Ben Bland, South China Correspondent, Financial Times
My question is also for Minister Ryamizard from Indonesia. In recent months, Indonesia has complained about a growing number of incursions into its waters by Chinese fishing boats and coast-guard vessels. What does Indonesia plan to do in the future to deter such incursions by Chinese ships? Thank you.

Dr Ken Jimbo, Associate Professor, Faculty of Policy Management, Keio University
Well, thank you very much. I would like to address my question to Korean Minister Han Minkoo which is a follow-up question of Dr Chung Min Lee. Earlier this morning, Secretary Ashton Carter mentioned about the promotion of the principled security network and the need for more coordination in boosting capacity-building efforts towards coastal states of ASEAN. I am wondering how South Korea perceive capacity-building in South East Asia as the provider of the Pohang-class corvette and FA-50 fighter jets to Philippines. In this regard, how much you are interested and ready in seeking coordination with other countries such as United States, Japan and Australia?

Colonel Lu Yin, Associate Researcher, National Defense University, People's Liberation Army, China
Thank you, Dr Chipman. Good afternoon, Mr Minister Ryamizard. Thank you for your speech. You mentioned a comprehensive approach to resolving the disputes in South China Sea which includes UN Charter, UNCLOS and the other international laws as well as mutual respect. I appreciate your proposal. My question is, if possible, how to integrate your proposal into the dual-track approach which are agreed upon by China and the ASEAN countries, that is, the disputes should be solved through negotiation and the consultation by parties directly concerned, and the peace and the stability of the South China Sea should be maintained by China and the ASEAN countries? Thank you.

Dr Collin Koh Swee Lean, Research Fellow, S Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University
Hi, thank you, Dr Chipman. My question is directed to Minister Ryacudu. Your Excellency, in making defence policy in uncertain times, geopolitics and threats evolve and of course the economic growth and cooperation are always far from assured, but something that is always certain is that equipment will age along with time. My question is to hear your thoughts on the prospect of realising the minimum essential force by 2024, and are there any prospects of revising or relooking at the scope of it and the timeline? Thank you.

Dr Liu Fu Kuo, Research Fellow, Institute of International Relations, National Chengchi University
Thank you. My question is addressing to Minister Ryamizard. I think you have talked about working together to face up to regional dispute in the South China Sea, and I think so far Indonesia has taken a lead in this informal South China Sea workshop over the last 20-something years. Of course this work is driven by Ministry of Foreign Affairs, but I just like to ask the ministers whether you consider in your elaboration whether in the future security issue may be able to be brought into this very effective workshop to discuss further?

You also talked about disaster management. How exactly has Indonesia’s policy preparation gone to a certain level, and have you a representing military? How much military’s role is preparing to cope with such disaster management? Thank you.

Dr Pierre Noël, Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah Senior Fellow for Economic and Energy Security, IISS–Asia
Yes. Thank you, John. My question is to Secretary Fallon. In the last sentence of your speech you said that when planes are flying and ships are sailing, trade is flourishing and everybody benefits. My question is: what is your interpretation of what China wants to achieve in the South China Sea, and is there any indication or any reason to believe that if China had its way in the South China Sea then freedom of commercial navigation would be restrained or impaired to the detriment of trade?

Dr Zhang Yanbing, Deputy Director, Institute of International Strategy and Development; Assistant Dean, Institute of Philanthropy, Tsinghua University
I have question to Secretary Fallon. You argue for rule of space, the international system. According to my understanding of facts in recent years, China has begun to show great interest in global governance. In your understanding, what kind of role should China play in international law society? Meanwhile, as we know, China will soon host to the G20 meeting in Hangzhou. What is your expectation about the G20 summit? Should G20 also include some security issues? Thank you.

S K Tripathi, Former Chief, Research and Analysis Wing, Cabinet Secretariat
Thank you, Dr Chipman. My question is for Indonesian Defense Minister. Sir, in your address you mentioned about the threat being posed by Daesh and other jihadi terrorist groups. You also briefly mentioned about the ideological aspect of this problem. Do you not think, sir, that besides fighting them literally, equal if not more attention is to be given to fight jihadi terrorism or radical Islam at the ideological level? This has to be done both on the ground and in the cyberspace. My question, sir, what steps Indonesia, the largest Muslim country, is taking to counter jihadi ideology both in the real and the virtual world? I will also request Secretary Defence UK to give his views on this and what UK is doing to counter this ideology?

Dr John Chipman, Director-General and Chief Executive, IISS
Thank you very much. Well, I think I will return to the panel. The Minister of Defense of Indonesia received a number of questions on jihadi extremism, including a very specific one on measures to be taken in Indonesian prisons, the question about Chinese fishing boats in Natuna so perhaps he could take those questions.

Then the Minister of the Republic of Korea, a number of questions on THAAD, on ROK and China relations, and Michael Fallon has had questions on the UK budget, on how it might defend rules and norms and what its views are of China’s aims in the South China Sea, as well as just now what the UK’s policy is on anti-extremism and jihadi propaganda. A rich menu. I will give each minister about three minutes or so to respond to the questions addressed to them. Minister of National Defense of Indonesia first.

General (Retd) Ryamizard Ryacudu, Minister of Defense, Indonesia
In the three minutes I have, I will respond in brief. The issues here are radicalism, communism and radical Islam, religion. We respect communist ideology and have no feelings of hostility towards it. However, the Indonesian Communist Party staged revolts twice, in 1948 and 1965. That is a matter of record and must be kept an eye on. The Indonesian Communist Party can never again be allowed in Indonesia. So, twice is sufficient cause for concern. 

Then there is the question of the ISIS ideology. This is something that we must be aware of and detect continuously. The agenda of the state is to defend the nation. The essential core of defending the nation is the state ideology, the Pancasila. Everything must be based on the Pancasila ideology. Anything outside the Pancasila, we must put to the question. That is because everything must be based on the Pancasila ideology. The Pancasila is what unifies the Indonesian nation. Other ideologies might be appropriate in other places. But in Indonesia, there is only one ideology, and that is the Pancasila. What about the ISIS ideology? ISIS is Islam, but a different Islam. True Islam is based only on the Koran and the Hadiths. So no one who kills will then be innocent. ISIS believes that if you commit suicide, you will go to heaven. But in Islam, if you commit suicide, you will go to hell. It is not permitted. Neither is killing others. Just from that angle, it goes against the Islamic religion in Indonesia.

Then there is the issue of Chinese fishing boats that enter Indonesian waters. That is a matter of theft. We always attempt to coordinate with the defence attaché and ambassador in China to keep these incidents from blowing out of proportion. Stealing fish is not serious enough to be raised as an issue at the state level. Stealing fish is something that must be tackled by enforcing the law, and that has been done, and we hope it will not affect relations between the countries involved.

Then there is the South China Sea. Last year, I tried to open up a channel of communication, because the situation had reached a stalemate. It was not clear what the issues were. I opened up communication with the Chinese delegation and they responded with an openness to doing joint patrols. And several months later there was a further response in China about carrying out joint patrols. So the channels of communication are now open. All that remains is for those involved, the ones that feel they have a claim, to communicate directly. Indonesia is simply paving the way. That is because Indonesia does not have any major problems with China. So we acted as a bridge in that matter, with the aim of ensuring safe passage through the South China Sea, and in the air as well. Because, as I said earlier, the South China Sea is a major route for world trade. 30% of the world’s oil and 50% of world trade passes along this route. If this route is not safe, it will harm the global economy. That is why this route must be safe. The parties insisting on their claims, both the Chinese and other parties, must exercise restraint. Our hope is for this route to remain safe. 

As the economy progresses, the MEF, or minimum essential force, will of course be adapted in response to any developments and to the situation. When the economy improves, there will clearly have to be increased weapons procurement. However, dealing with these ideologies is not merely a matter of building up weaponry, but one of nationalism and ideology. Earlier, I said that 96% of the population is opposed to ISIS, and 4% are undecided. What we are concerned about is if they become radicalised. That’s what we must tackle. The good must not succumb to this influence. For those who have been radicalised, we will employ the national ideology to persuade them to return to the mainstream. That has been done on a small scale, from primary schools and up to the level of university students and others. And it is working. Some of them who went down the wrong path have mended their ways.

As for natural disasters, attention will still be necessary because of the impact that Indonesia sustained from that enormous tsunami. Drawing on this experience, we have prepared ourselves. Although in the aftermath of the 2004 tsunami aid poured in from across the world, with every country extending a hand, in the future we must be better coordinated to ensure that efforts are better targeted.

Turning to the potential problem of ISIS and the military, dealing with ISIS is not just a military issue, but one for the whole country, including religion. That is because it is related to the religion of Islam. For this reason, I have been urging Islamic scholars across Indonesia to explain on television and radio and in talks and sermons that what ISIS does is a perversion of the Islamic religion. That is being done continuously. In schools, we have told them that ISIS is wrong. So it is not just the military, the whole nation must be involved in defending the nation. Our entire population of 250 million must speak about national resilience and defending the nation. Although the numbers of the radicalised may represent only a handful compared to the 250 million population of Indonesia, if the problem is left to fester, it will become a thorn in the flesh. That cannot be allowed to happen. 

Through social media we are also talking with other media. Every two weeks, we meet with the Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Communications and Information to block the spread of harmful ideas. Why? Because those ideas are wrong. There are blogs that describe how to maim, kill and torture people. That is not what people should be seeing. It must be blocked.

Then there is the radicalisation in prisons. That is a matter for the law and I agree with that position. Now, followers of radical ideologies are separated when held in custody so they are unable to maintain communication with each other. That is now in place. 

Thank you for your kind attention.

Han Minkoo, Minister of National Defense, Republic of Korea
Yes, it is the seventh question but because one question was redundant, it is actually the sixth question. I will respond briefly. The first South China Sea issue is that because 90% of the Republic of Korea’s crude-oil imports and 30% of our imports and exports cross that sea, our concern for and interest in that region are high. You had asked about the government’s stance on the necessity for government ocean surveillance and reconnaissance in that region. Currently, the Republic of Korea and foreign navies are working together and mainly focusing on issues of humanitarian-aid and disaster-relief training. Also, globally they are working together on the anti-piracy issue in the Gulf of Aden. The Republic of Korea has the only navy whose number one duty is to prepare for North Korean military threats, so we are not currently reviewing the issue of ocean surveillance and reconnaissance.

The THAAD missile issue is fundamentally one where the Republic of Korea must ask how will it defend itself, in a situation where North Korea’s nuclear-missile capabilities are expanded and enhanced. Well, currently the missile-interception capabilities that the Republic of Korea Army and the United States Forces Korea (USFK) possess are just the beginning of our end-stage missile-defense capabilities. Since this mainly focuses on defending against the previous target, if a THAAD is deployed that can defend against an even greater range, then militarily it will be viewed as far more useful. Also, this is an issue from the Republic of Korea’s safety and national-interest standpoint, and a US–Korea joint operations group has been developed, so deployment into the region, budget and similar issues are currently being reviewed by both parties. If the results of the review are reported and approved by both governments, then I would like to let you know that actions will be taken accordingly and with clear intentions.

The third, DMZ hotline issue, is concerning the fact that there existed two Korean DMZ hotlines for both countries, but these were shut down. Also, you addressed the report on restoration. I would like to let you know that there hasn’t been any official restoration. China and Korea are adjacent and are two countries that have had very close historical, cultural and political relations for the past few thousand years. That’s why China is currently our top trade partner. So, Korea and China are trying hard to maintain a good relationship and on the political, economic, societal, cultural, military and all other levels are building relationships that are suitable for strategic cooperation. Militarily, since we have several issues from the past, and because of the North Korean missile issue, personal exchange between our countries is a main factor, and many fundamentals are being established, such as a hotline to prevent confrontation between Korea’s and China’s navies and air forces. From now on, I believe that we will greatly develop the relationship between our militaries. In 2013 and 2016 the stance of the Republic of Korea’s government sectors responsible for maintaining relationships with North Korea was that at that time our government made many efforts for international cooperation, such as dialogues and negotiations with the goal of North Korean denuclearisation, but did not succeed. Now, we see that North Korea has completed its fourth nuclear test. So, in order to achieve denuclearisation in North Korea, we are resuming international cooperation and will make ongoing efforts to change North Korea’s strategic tactics.

You had inquired about the Pohang-class warship and F-32 jet fighters. The Republic of Korea is utilising these with the goal of strengthening our military to prepare against North Korean military threats. I would like to let you know that as we are maintaining friendly relations with nearby nations, we are reinforcing our military. That is everything for now.

Michael Fallon, Secretary of State for Defence, United Kingdom
I was asked three questions on the British defence budget, on the steps we are taking to prevent radicalisation and our view of Chinese intentions. On the British defence budget, it is important to emphasise that the budget is now rising again. It increased in April for the first time in six years and it will go on increasing every year of our current Parliament until at least 2020. We are one of only five NATO countries to meet the 2% commitment and we will go on meeting that commitment.

So far as the share nuclear consumes of the total budget, we have allocated some £31 billion for the replacement of the four submarines. That cost has to be seen against a 30-year period of service of those submarines. Amortised across that period, it is easily containable within the overall defence budget. We are able to afford in the future both nuclear and conventional, just as we have done in the past.

So far as tackling radicalisation is concerned, we have measures to prevent extremism in schools, in colleges, in universities, in the madrasas. We have new measures to stem the flow of foreign fighters, to prevent people leaving if they are intending to fight in Syria or Iraq, and we are extending the powers that are currently available to our security agencies to the new forms of communication that terrorists are using.

Finally, I was asked for a view of the Chinese intentions. I think it is important to remember that China now benefits from its membership of the World Trade Organisation. It signed the Law of the Sea convention many years ago. China is a far-sighted country, and I am sure that signature, so many years ago, reflected its aspiration to become a world power, to develop a blue-water navy and to provide for the time when China, too, will seek to benefit from those principles of freedom of navigation and overflight. In my view, it is not in China’s interest if anybody else should try to limit those principles.

Dr John Chipman, Director-General and Chief Executive, IISS
Minister, thank you very much for that very crisp statement. Thank you very much to all three ministers for their statements today. We have been able to conclude on the dot at 13.30. Thank you to all. You are all welcome to lunch and remember that at 15.00, the simultaneous special sessions first begin. Could you join me in thanking the ministers for their presentations?

Special Sessions

Containing the North Korean Threat

As Delivered

General The Lord Richards of Herstmonceux, Senior Adviser for the Middle East and Asia-Pacific, IISS; former Chief of the Defence Staff, United Kingdom    
Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for coming to what I think promises to be a very stimulating session, and obviously a very apposite session, as you heard from this morning. Before I make a few introductory remarks, can I just remind you who we have here to address the title, ‘Containing the North Korean Threat’. And I am going to work from left to right: Aidan Foster-Carter from Britain, a long-term and well-established expert on North Korea; Mr Sugiyama, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs from Japan; Colonel Lu from China’s Institute for Strategic Studies; and Mr Yoon, the Director-General of the Republic of Korea’s International Policy Bureau in the Ministry of National Defense, but a foreign-service officer by training and experience.

Just a few introductory remarks to help frame our discussion, essentially on definitions. 2016 is self-evidently a key year in the context of North Korea. You could say it is a key year for other reasons, too, not least because a new American president will be elected, and his or her approach to this issue is going to be very important. Good luck to us all. In Britain, we might be leaving the European Union. I do not think that is going to have a huge impact on this issue, but you never know; certain people think it will. But for more important reasons in the context of this subject, can the region, and the USA in particular, live with a nuclear-capable North Korea? If so, it must certainly further develop its existing containment strategy, if you could grace its current approach with the term strategy, as a minimum. This process will inform the other option, which is arguably exploiting this window for pre-emptive military action of some kind.

What do we mean by containment? I actually bothered on your behalf to look up what containment meant. When I was Chief of the Defence Staff, I was recommending a containment strategy for ISIS in the Middle East, and I will never forget someone in our own Foreign Office asking what the hell I meant by containment strategy. I thought that was pretty baffling, because it is pretty self-evident, but it clearly is not necessarily the case. So, Wikipedia defines containment as, ‘A military strategy to stop the expansion of an enemy. It represents a middle ground between rollback and detente.’ It was famously George Kennan’s doctrinal brainchild in about 1946/1947, motivated by the need to contain communist expansion, and it led to NATO and, in due course, other non-military initiatives such as the Marshall Plan.

Kennan, interestingly, subsequently moved on in his analysis, and I am just going to read out something. He said, ‘Containment not by military means of a military threat but the political containment of a political threat.’ And whatever else, containment does not appear – and this is important – to include, for example, a pre-emptive military strike nor, indeed, a strategy based on a more accommodating strategy of détente. We may, however, in this forum today, if you wish, include both those ideas in our discussion, so I have already broadened for our benefit the theoretical interpretation of what containment means.

One other point, I think, of importance: North Korea has relearned the lessons of Libya 2011. Would those, like Great Britain, who took part in the attack on Libya have done so if Colonel Gadhafi had nuclear weapons and a means of delivering them? I think I would not be alone in telling you that, in my judgement, we would not have done, and I think that is an important underlying theme.

So this issue, what to do about North Korea, is especially important this year, 2016. North Korea will possess a nuclear capability that is genuine and credible within a year or two. Do we prevent it through military action, or contain it through a multidimensional strategy of military and political initiatives? So that is really what we are focusing on, and what I said a minute ago, I think will be a fascinating 90 minutes or so.

So I am going to start this time – I am going to get this right – from right to left, and ask Mr Sugiyama, please, to kick off our session. Thank you, sir.

Shinsuke Sugiyama, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs, Japan
Well, thank you very much indeed for your kind introduction, David, and thank you to all distinguished panellists together, and all of you participants and ladies and gentlemen. First of all, I very much would like to tell you that I am very much happy to be back to this rather well-established Shangri-La Dialogue, at which I accompanied my Prime Minister when my Prime Minister did give the keynote speech two years ago or something. And at that time, I took a part, like I am doing, in a special session, that was the time when we were talking about our biggest neighbour. But this time, the theme which has been given by the Chair, or the IISS, or the Shangri-La Dialogue organisers is in a sense a slightly much easier theme, DPRK, to talk about, simply because many things have been said. We have not now reached any kind of panacea-type solutions, and yet everybody seems to be agreeing that what the DPRK is doing is totally wrong.

Actually, I am sorry to my interpreter that I have given them a sheet of paper which has been prepared by my government, but I am not reading through, which I would not say is a waste of time, but I was warned by David that panellists tend to speak longer, so I tried to cut short instead of reading my prepared text. I would like to speak up on what I really want to say.

I will say, we have been talking about this subject over more than two decades, at least from immediately after 1992, when North and South made a historic joint statement and they together were accepted as a member of the United Nations. And immediately after that, this nuclear thing started to argue. There have been ups and downs over the past more than two decades, such as agreed framework in 1994 or 1995 or something, or 2002, when special envoy John Kerry went to Pyongyang to be told that North Korea has already become a nuclear-weapons state. And until that time, we were only talking about plutonium, but we started talking about also HEU. And, of course, we started Six-Party Talks, until some time ago. I was supposed to be head of the Japanese delegation at the time, and no Six-Party Talks were held, so I did not function anything as the head of the Six-Party Talks on behalf of the Japanese government.

But all in all, what we see is, over these 20 years or so more, frankly speaking, the varied situation concerning missile, nuclear and, for us, human rights, in particular abductions. Again, ups and downs, but in general, the situation seems to have greatly worsened for them to be declaring, and at the same time, as a matter of fact, they seem to have become a nuclear-weapons state. How much they are capable is something in question.

Then everybody has been talking about what we should be able to do in deterring or in letting them change their course. But we are not able to do that. I do not think I can disclose to you the substantive discussions within the G7 leaders in Ise-Shima. They discussed just a bit about this subject matter, but not in a lengthy manner, because when my Prime Minister led the way, everybody said, ‘Oh yes, I agree with you fully’ – and full stop. And the question, of course, went on: based upon that recognition and full agreement, what should we do? Of course, we very much would like China to do something further. We very much would like to ask all the members of the international community to implement the most currently adopted Security Council Resolution 2270.

And all said – this is not disclosing the G7 leadership’s conversation – but not only a single person, but a number of persons told me that we seem to be dealing with a leader who needs psychiatric treatment. Maybe; but I am quite certain that people gathering around this table, no one has met with Kim Jong-un personally. No one even touched upon their inside leadership, and as if we are touching this part and we are guessing this part and we are thinking this part and saying that here is a young leader who needs psychiatric treatment – but no one meets with him. No one talks to him directly. I do not know. He may be a sharp leader. He may be somebody who needs psychiatric treatment. But one thing for sure is, as I said at the outset, that everybody should agree that something must be done to change the course of this, what they call a Pyongyang policy. No one would let them, allow to go for nuclear, not only in the sense of we have to reserve the regime of NPT but, for us, and particularly for our neighbour region and for the international community all together, I do not think we would very much like to swallow the idea of DPRK being a really capable nuclear-weapons state, particularly for Japan, primarily for ROK, and presumably for ROC and presumably for US.

So we form a very strong kind of de facto ally mechanism among Seoul, Tokyo, Washington, though sometimes, Seoul, Tokyo has been faced with some of the difficult questions. And yet at no single time none of us in Seoul, Tokyo, Washington believes that this tripartite coalition or a de facto united front is meaningless.

Now, being faced with an even worsening situation, to say the least, two things can be rather comfortably said to you as food for thought for the discussions to be followed. One, the importance for Japan–ROK–US cooperation, to give them more pressure, as well as to let us open the way for dialogue so that we can both employ the pressure as well as dialogue.

Second, as I said in the course of my conversation, China’s role is even becoming greater and greater. Everybody knows that more than 90% of trade is between Pyongyang and Beijing, and if the thorough implementation of what we agreed within the framework of the United Nations Security Council two months ago, quite recently, with a number of 2270, this would be the first time when we step into the restriction of trade in goods, except in the previous Security Council resolution. So we seem to getting into a new phase because of the worsening situation.

Now, how much, based upon this, Japan, ROK and US closer kind of alliance against the DPRK – and plus a more important role being played by Chinese – how much we are going to get? I am not that much optimistic, because of the past two decades. The past two decades show only the situation is getting worse. We must stop this; everybody agrees that, but how?

Then I think my first initial sort of introductory remark is short enough, Mr Chair, maybe, so I have tried to stop at this particular moment, and I have to convey the message from my government which is written in this paper, but I will do that later. Thank you.

General The Lord Richards of Herstmonceux, Senior Adviser for the Middle East and Asia-Pacific, IISS; former Chief of the Defence Staff, United Kingdom
Thank you very much. I am not certain throwing away your notes actually shortened your performance at all, but it made it more interesting, so thank you very much. Mr Yoon, if I could turn to you, please, sir.

Yoon Soon Gu, Director-General, International Policy Bureau, Ministry of National Defense, Republic of Korea
Thank you, General Richards. I am happy to be back here in Shangri-La. It is my great pleasure and my honour to speak before this important group. I am glad to have this opportunity to speak on the topic of deterring North Korea’s threat with many experts.

North Korea is carrying out a well-crafted, duplicitous tactic of provocation, carrying out a nuclear test, holding a Workers’ Party congress for the first time in 36 years and offering to hold an intra-Korean military dialogue. Through this process, Kim Jong-un is having his leadership tested at the same time the international community is facing a challenge as to whether it can deter North Korea’s provocations. I believe today’s discussion aims to pool our collective wisdoms on how we can overcome this challenge.

I was advised to make short opening remarks in five minutes, so let me move away from the gentle diplomatic rhetoric and get straight to the heart of the issues. But it is quite unfortunate that previous speakers intercepted all the points that I am trying to make. Anyhow, first, let me briefly talk about the nature and seriousness of the North Korea nuclear issues.

North Korea conducted its fourth nuclear test at the beginning of this year, and has continued to escalate its threat by disclosing an image of nuclear warhead while declaring that they will field such nuclear weapons and conduct a nuclear first strike. These North Korean provocations are a nuclear blackmail unprecedented in human history and the most pressing and urgent security issues for the Republic of Korea.

Considering North Korea’s current situation and the unpredictability of the KJU regime, a failure to deter North Korea’s nuclear threat can lead to catastrophic consequences. The repercussions will not just be contained in Northeast Asia, which is connected geographically to the Korean Peninsula. As North Korea’s stockpile of nuclear weapons increases, the security of South Korea, where more than one million foreign nationals reside, obviously will be threatened, and also increases in nuclear proliferation and the temptation of black-market trading will be a direct threat to global securities.

From the perspective of the international security order, the international non-proliferation regime will meet its demise due to North Korea, the only nation to have conducted a nuclear test in the twenty-first century. And every nation will have to ponder on how to secure its own survival. This means a situation which calls for a new international security order might arise. Unfortunately, the international community’s response to the North Korean nuclear threat has not been successful, as he eloquently pointed out. It is now clear that conducting business as usual will not be sufficient to deter North Korea’s nuclear threat.

Next, I will speak about the sanctions against North Korea. The United Nations has created a resolution calling for sanctions stronger than ever since the North Korean nuclear issue first arose. Whilst some effects of the sanctions are being observed, some are questioning the efficacy of the sanctions. Regardless of the effectiveness of the sanctions, North Korea will not learn its lessons if, as in the past, the consequences of not complying with its obligations under UN Security Council resolutions are insufficiently painful and nothing more than a slap on the wrist. The international community must punish North Korea to the extent that internal discussions regarding their strategic choices may be sparked.

I am suggesting that we abandon our past approach, which has failed to deter North Korea’s nuclear programme, and take the path untaken. I anticipate that more sanctions, closing and reducing North Korea’s external relations, limiting North Korea’s workers from working abroad, interdicting North Korea’s illegal activities and addressing North Korea’s human-rights issues will be reviewed.

Next, I will address the issue of resuming conversations with North Korea. I admit that somewhere down the road, conversations will be needed. At this juncture, however, a unified and principled response from the international community is more important than simply stressing the need for conversations. To resume conversations, North Korea must at least announce a clear position with regards to denuclearisation, and act on their will.

Since North Korea’s recent call for conversations to not include any content regarding denuclearisation, it seems that it is merely an attempt to relax international coordination. Paradoxically, it can also be evidence that North Korea is impacted by the sanctions levied by international communities. If we respond in a principled manner with patience, I anticipate that we may create an opportunity for a beginning denuclearisation process. If there are no teeth to the punishment of North Korea violating its obligations, we can expect no substantive result, even though conversation resumes. This is a lesson that we have learned through the nuclear negotiations with Iran.

At the [inaudible] the nuclear issue came to the fore. The discussions regarding the relationship between denuclearisation and the peace treaty have been raised. Recently, North Korea has been consistently requesting a peace treaty without making its position on denuclearisation clear. Seeing as North Korea has continuously flouted the peace and stability of the region through nuclear-missile provocations, we feel neither their sincerity nor their will for peace on the Korean Peninsula. Discussions on peace in the absence of sincerity, and will for peace, will slow down the denuclearisation process and ultimately give North Korea more time to advance its nuclear capabilities. Also, judging from North Korea’s track record, if we had concurrent negotiations for a denuclearisation and peace treaty, North Korea will constantly threaten to walk away from the denuclearisation chamber on the grounds that the peace-treaty talks are not proceeding in their favour.

For these reasons, we think that the recent North Korean proposal for a peace treaty was planned in order to neutralise the international community’s solidarities in responding to North Korea and to relax the strengthening sanctions framework.

My last point is about how to resolve North Korea’s security concerns. Many experts like you have emphasised the need to resolve North Korea’s security concerns to solve North Korea’s nuclear issues. Even without referring to the security-dilemma theories, these arguments are accepted as valid. As such, multiple agreements included a 19 September joint declaration reflecting security concerns and resolution road maps.

The Republic of Korea government has also been clear on this peaceful-unification policy based on reconciliation and cooperation. But if resolving North Korea’s concerns means continuation of North Korea’s current regime, no nations, including the Republic of Korea and the United States, will be able to ensure this outcome. So, in my humble view, the ultimate resolution of the North Korea security concern can be achieved through fixing its inherent internal inconsistencies, including taking care of the livelihoods of its citizens and acting as a responsible member of the international community.

North Korea mentions the nuclear threat and hostile policy from the US for its motivation behind nuclear development. However, very few would agree that a democratically elected government in the Republic of Korea and the United States is planning a military attack and nuclear threat against North Korea, which particularly borders China. Thank you.

General The Lord Richards of Herstmonceux, Senior Adviser for the Middle East and Asia-Pacific, IISS; former Chief of the Defence Staff, United Kingdom
Thank you very much, Mr Yoon. We will move on – full of big issues for us to get hold of in question time. Colonel Lu, over to you, please.

Colonel Lu Yin, Associate Researcher, Institute of Strategic Studies, National Defense University, People's Liberation Army, China
Thank you, Lord Richards, thank you all the speakers here. The topic of this session is Containing the North Korean Threat. First, I would say that I prefer DPRK to North Korea. When it comes to the security situation in Northeast Asia, the DPRK nuclear issue is the most prominent one that not only affects the general security environment of this region but also poses a real challenge to the entire international non-proliferation regime. With its first nuclear test and several new missile launches, DPRK once again triggered the instability of the Korean Peninsula.

I have three observations. First, DPRK has been adamantly pursuing its nuclear programme; based on some open technical resources, DPRK has made great progress in its nuclear-weaponisation programme, especially during the stalemate of Six-Party Talks. And the 7th Party National Congress of DPRK demonstrates Kim Jong-un’s confidence in leading his party and governing the country with its policy of simultaneously pursuing economic and nuclear development.

Secondly, bringing DPRK back to the negotiation table seems to be the only way out. At present, all parties concerned have very limited policy options to deal with the DPRK nuclear problem. Although a more strict UN Resolution 2270 would be a possible choice, to some degree, sanction does work on some of the cases such as Iran. But for DPRK, I do not think it will be very successful. Since the year of 1993, there have been nine UN resolutions on DPRK nuclear-missile developments, but they are largely unsuccessful in preventing DPRK from advancing its nuclear weapons. When it comes to DPRK, isolated and awake, but independent in its domestic development, including national defence, I am afraid that we cannot hold a high expectation on the effectiveness of the new situation on new sanctions.

On the other hand, if we do not talk to them, they will continue with its nuclear programme. If we talk to them, there is at least a chance of stopping their nuclear programme. And there were historical instances of DPRK being prepared to trade their nuclear programme for economic benefits, or even the regime’s survival.

Thirdly, China handles the DPRK nuclear issue in a responsible way. Some say that China has not been doing enough to deal with the DPRK nuclear issue. Their main argument is that, since China is the biggest provider of assistance to DPRK, if China can exert enough pressure, DPRK will have to give in and abandon its nuclear weapons. But this is simply not true. As a matter of fact, China’s determination to denuclearise the Korean Peninsula is no less resolute than ROK, the United States and other countries concerned. We certainly do not want to have a fourth nuclear neighbour. It is true that China and the DPRK can enjoy some traditional friendly relationship, but China’s influence on DPRK is limited. Why I say that: number one, DPRK is a sovereign state. Given China’s policy of non-intervention in the internal affairs of other countries, China can only persuade instead of coerce DPRK to abandon its nuclear weapons. China’s message to DPRK has been very clear: the possession of nuclear weapons will not bring security to DPRK, not in China’s interest and not in the interest of the international community.

Number two, some historical events have indicated that sanction and coercion or even the use of force cannot eventually solve the problems, and the cases in point are Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya.

Number three, the Chinese government and the military have been strictly abiding by the relevant UN Security Council resolutions on DPRK, including the very recent one. However, China believes that sanction is not the objective but one of the approaches to resolving the problem. So what China can do is persuasion and negotiation, rather than sanction and coercion. Such efforts include China’s timely adjustment of its policy towards DPRK, China’s attempts to encourage DPRK to develop its economy and increase its revenue, and, moreover, China’s exercise of strict auditing of items that are not related to the economy and people’s livelihood according to the UN resolutions.

In the most recent high-level meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Ri Su-yong, vice-chairman of the Working Party of Korea Central Committee, President Xi re-emphasised that he wished the people of the DPRK greater success in the endeavours related to the economy, standard of living and socialism. So China, the United States and other countries concerned have a lot of common interests in the Korean Peninsula. We should work together to resume talks and reduce tension. We should – and we can – cooperate further to tackle this problem. Thank you.

General The Lord Richards of Herstmonceux, Senior Adviser for the Middle East and Asia-Pacific, IISS; former Chief of the Defence Staff, United Kingdom    
Thank you very much. So, dialogue. ‘Jaw-jaw rather than war-war’, I think, is what Churchill would have said. Okay, and lastly, Aidan Foster-Carter, please. And I should say, Aidan wrote the piece that you, I hope, have had a chance to look at. So over to you, Aidan, please.

Aidan Foster-Carter, Honorary Senior Research Fellow in Sociology and Modern Korea, Leeds University
Thank you very much, Mr Chairman. Well, spot the odd one out. I am very, very honoured and privileged to be here along with three representatives of the governments of the three countries most actively concerned as neighbours in the region. I am not from the region; I am not a diplomat. Perhaps I am an un-diplomat. That gives me a certain freedom, or – I hope not – irresponsibility. But I do have the advantage that the rest of us only have eight minutes, me included, eight minutes maximum, but I have 22 pages as well. I was honoured to be asked to write the book and, of course, there is a lot in there, and I will not be able to summarise it; do please read it.

What I thought I could best do with my time is talk about some of what I have got in there, but I think I am probably going to have to cut that short. Also, try to update some key elements that have occurred since it went to press. It did go to press quite recently. Dare I confess, my original deadline from IISS was November. Imagine: it would have missed all the fun if I had finished by November. We were constantly revising right up to and including the ROK general election, I think, of April, was about the last thing we actually got in. And there were one or two off-cuts as well that I had to leave out that perhaps I might be able to fit in.

I should say, as you will be aware if you have had a chance to read it – and you will be aware from what I am about to say – I find myself slightly swimming against the current of much that has happened, particularly in Western capitals this year, and I am grateful to have had the chance to be that little bit contrarian. In a reference that people from Washington will get, and maybe others will not, it seems as if – and do tell him if you know him – Josh Stanton died and went to heaven. Hawks are in the ascendant and, in a way, as a social scientist, if I could stand back and detach, it is a very interesting experiment because we have not been in this position before; I think we have not had such hardline sanctions; we have not had such a reversion to the stick. Well, let us see how it ends.

If I am a little uncertain, it is because I have two criteria which I should clarify, though I hope they will be obvious. My criteria are, first of all, in the short run, does a given action, whether by North Korea or by anybody else, raise or lower risk in Korea and Northeast Asia? And secondly, for the long term, does a given course of action, whether a specific policy or a more general trajectory, make it likelier that we will resolve or at least contain – it probably is about containment – the North Korea problem?

So yes, the year began with a bang, a double whammy, and the North Koreans made it clear they are not about to follow Iran or Myanmar or Cuba, all in their various different ways coming in from the cold. In the chapter, I use – I possibly coin – the phrase ‘North Korea fatigue’. The bang did wake us all up, did it not? Would it be fair to say that in many capitals, the North Korea issue had kind of gone off the boil or gone onto the back burner? Very good reasons for that; first of all, it is so bloody intractable, to be technical for a moment; there are no very good answers. And secondly, there are usually other crises which are more urgent, for the US and for other governments.

Nonetheless, the threat is still there, and it is not just a nuclear threat; there is a whole range of other things. In an earlier IISS publication, I wrote about some of those. In the chapter, I go through, there is a certain sort of chronicling aspect which I am obviously not going to do now, basically covering the Kim Jong-un era, the various two nuclear tests in his time, and also two of these missile launches. There are the cyber issues. And I state something which kind of should be obvious, but we do not seem to sort of put it this way: why do the North Koreans get away with it? Partly because there is a prioritisation problem among interlocutors. It is almost impossible – maybe it is impossible – to get everybody completely on the same page. I remember long ago, in a conference in Japan, a senior Chinese diplomat, when somebody rather enthusiastically, from Washington, said we are all on the same page on this one, said no, perhaps convergence.

For example, national interests vary. Obviously it is different if you are China than if you are South Korea or Japan. And in South Korea and Japan, governments change. We are told the current government in South Korea will not last forever, and in April it received a very unexpected rebuff: President Park no longer has a majority in parliament. Okay, that election was not fought on North Korea, but it renders it more likely that the next president will be a liberal. Some people may remember the Sunshine Policy. That ran for ten years. It changed. Shall we say sunset is where we are now? We might get a version of Sunshine again. So it is quite difficult to get everybody on the same page. Right now, people are probably closer to the same page than they have been for some time, but still not exactly on the same page.

But as far as I can see – and again, I stand ready to be corrected – even as the South Korea–Japan–US trilateralism strengthens again, which is fine, it remains the case that China and Russia, though in no simple or straightforward sense allies of the DPRK anymore, retain the view, and I think are going to go on retaining the view – though it is always possible that their view might change if the North Koreans annoy them enough as well – that there is a thing that is worse than having the nasty, noxious nuclear neighbour on your doorstep, and that is having the collapse of the nasty, noxious nuclear neighbour on your doorstep. As I understand it, for China and for Russia – particularly for China – both the process of any North Korean collapse of stability, and secondly, to distinguish, the outcome of it, are at the moment unpalatable, and if you think that calculus will change, then the situation, the prospects are actually very different.

One more thing from me, and I will just do the quick update. I think we ignored the domestic dimension. I must admit, when the North Koreans set off their big bang, their non-hydrogen bomb, in January, I thought – you may say complacently – oh, there they go again. Were you surprised? Was anyone in this room surprised? Annoyed – but surprised? No, come on, you were not. They do that. They do it every three years, and they were obviously going to do it this year because they have a Party congress. And among other things, I am not to deny that obviously every nuclear test gets them closer, the deliverability issues, the weapons issues and all that, but the domestic political function, there was going to be a big bang, there was going to be a satellite launch. But I genuinely do not understand the question I put to Minister Han – and for the answer to all my other questions, I may thank him, but he did not really answer this for us, is: what changed between 2013 and 2016?

President Park has lost patience, everybody has finally had it with North Korea. If I can be sociological for a moment, because that is my discipline, or indiscipline, it is an essentialist view. There is North Korea: it never changes, nothing happens there, and they have done it again, and this time we have had enough and we are really going to punish them because we are fed up. All very understandable, but maybe you could also say, well, actually, they have second-generation leadership change, he is still quite new, in his fifth year now, he is having a Party congress, which is kind of interesting. The currency within that domestic regime is loyalty and fidelity; he imposes it on everyone else, and he cannot break out of it either. So I cannot actually see how, at this stage, he could not have done those things.

Anyway, you can see where that argument might lead, and I will just commit one more act of sociology – it does not happen very often. Could we say the DPRK is an essential prisoner of its own discourse? It is so hard; even on the economy, they do not seem to be able to find a way to talk about things, and they are digging themselves in the nuclear trench. And, of course, it makes it incredibly difficult for the rest of us, but I just worry that policies that respond to them directly in the way they ask for and that dig them further into that trench maybe are not going to actually get us out of it. But I realise that time is short.

Very quick update. The Party congress – incredibly disappointing: reaffirmed nukes forever; nothing sensible on the economy. Those 120 Western journalists in Pyongyang, at least some of them must have had a bit of Korean, but it was left to Rüdiger Frank from Austria to find a lovely quote, which I hope was put to Mr Ri Su-yong when he visited. Did you know that Kim Jong-un talked about – this is a quote – ‘the filthy wind of bourgeois liberty and reform and openness blowing in our neighbourhood’? I wonder who he meant. That was not very nice, was it? And then nothing new on the economy.

The two new things that have happened, of course, yes, Ri Su-yong has just been to Beijing. That was going to happen, was it not? It was so anomalous; you cannot have a huff forever, this lack of high-level contacts. It is too early to know what to make of it, but there was a very interesting article in the New York Times – some of you saw it – which was written just a teeny bit too early. Jane Perlez – fine article: he had arrived, he had met the Party guy. He had not met President Xi. And various worthies were quoted, American and Chinese, saying, oh, President Xi cannot possibly meet him because A, he has said, according to KCNA, that we are going to be nuclear forever; and B, they have just fired another of these wretched Musudans. Admittedly, I always think of Queen, ‘Another One Bites the Dust’. It is really good that they never seem to work. But President Xi did meet him. I am very interested in what signal that sends. I think he probably had to. He was not about to send Kim Jong-un’s representative away with a flea in his ear.

One other thing, quickly, to mention, of course. This week, we have had – and I must get the jargon right here – the United States Treasury Department has designated the DPRK as a whole as a jurisdiction of primary money-laundering concern, under Section 311 of the Patriot Act. Did I get that right? I think in plain English, that means, ‘you bastards, we are coming after you’. It means – sorry to be technical for a moment there – in principle, as I am sure everyone in this room knows, the possibility of applying much tighter screws financially to secondary targets. I had an interesting Twitter exchange with Victor Cha about this, so I asked – it is amazing what you can get into 140 characters if you try – ‘Will the US really target Chinese banks that do business with the DPRK?’ Victor replied, ‘We do not have to target Chinese banks; they will self-regulate if the choice is North Korea or access to the US financial system.’ My reply to him would be – and my reply in anticipation, which is in the chapter here – given that the US–PRC bilateral relationship is large and many-sided and important, and that President Obama is winding down his final months, then when there are high-level meetings, like the one that is imminent in Beijing next week, is the whole US–PRC relationship really going to be driven, or even majorly driven, by the North Korea issue? And I just wonder. We will wait and see.

My time is almost up, so we are going to have the off-cuts now. Hilaire Belloc, I wanted to quote – the British-of-French-origin humourist, I wanted to put in, but IISS does not do this sort of thing – the quote, ‘They answered, as they took their fees / There is no cure for this disease’, which is rather pessimistic, I suppose. And, thanks to William Choong of IISS, I have another Hilaire Belloc. He quoted the line about, ‘Whatever happens, we have got / The Maxim Gun and they have not’, and I would like to modernise that for the twenty-first century: ‘It all boils down to who has got / The Atom Bomb, and who has not.’ I think General Richards alluded to that.

My positively final thing, and probably my most contrarian yet, I am going to actually read this out, because it is something that I wrote. ‘North Korea is an infuriating menace.’ I hope there is no doubt about that in this room. ‘But, it is reassuringly solitary. In a world where we are also menaced by much else, particularly by a toxic, perverted universalism, which turns alienated youth from many countries into mass murderers and rapists, thinking that they have religion on their side, the DPRK is very different. It stands alone and is apart. It is the non-Islamic State. It is the un-Daesh. Nobody flocks to their banner except a few harmless oddballs.’ This was put rather well in the film Team America: World Police, but I am not about to quote it. ‘North Korea is solipsistic; fascist, not communist, more narcissist than Nazi. It has no plans for world domination. It must know – it does know – that defeating South Korea is no longer realistic. But it does feel very unsafe’, and this has been mentioned. ‘The fates of Iraq, Syria and especially Libya recall how the US used to urge Kim Jong-il to emulate that sensible Colonel Gadhafi in surrendering WMD. They can hardly encourage Kim Jong-un to give up what he may feel is his sole guarantee against sharing such an end.’ None of this is to justify the horrible place in any way at all. It is just to say, at some level, I think we have to have the other side.

And my positively final word: I am not against the waving of a very large stick at North Korea. I just think at some point, there is going to have to be an overarching strategy which also contains a fairly large carrot. Thank you.

General The Lord Richards of Herstmonceux, Senior Adviser for the Middle East and Asia-Pacific, IISS; former Chief of the Defence Staff, United Kingdom
Okay, well thank you very much, Aidan. And I think your last couple of points in particular are where I would be as a soldier. If you are going to wave a big stick, you have to be prepared to use it, and it does not seem to me that we have got much closer to that, probably wisely.

So we have heard a lot from our panel, but with variations on a theme. We have been given, give or take, a formula of more of the same. I do not think I am being unfair, but there is a consensus that this cannot go on. So we have not got very far in that respect, arguably. So it is over to you guys now to be a little bit more provocative.

Christopher Nelson, Fellow, Sasakawa Peace Foundation
We have not talked about what is the dilemma that certainly in DC we talk about all the time, and that is, is there an acceptable way to negotiate with North Korea to freeze or curtail their inevitable march towards eventually a workable nuclear weapon, a workable ICBM, and other things we all want? Is there some way to do that that does not give them de facto, real recognition as a nuclear power? We have not talked about that today, and yet that is what we spend most of the time talking about in DC. How the hell do we do this? And the conclusion we get is we cannot do it, for political reasons but also for practical ones. What happens to the NPT, the Iranians, etc.? So perhaps our panellists could talk about this immediate tactical issue with major strategic implications. How do we talk to these guys without basically accepting them as a nuclear power? And then what the hell do we do? So thank you.

Thank you very much, sir. Reference was made this morning to the article Secretary Carter wrote about ten years ago, and I will just quote one sentence from it: ‘As we entered into negotiations to shut down Yongbyon, we made our willingness to use military force crystal clear to the North Koreans by positioning forces to strike Yongbyon and reinforcing our military units that were deployed to defend South Korea against an onslaught from the North.’ With all these military people here, sir, is there still a military option, and if so, will it work?

Haruhisa Takeuchi, Visiting Professor, Graduate School of Public Policy, University of Tokyo
Thank you very much. I was intrigued by the moderator’s reminder of what containment meant. As you said, it is between detente and rollback, but if what we are seeking with North Korea is containment, as Mr Nelson sort of suggested, it is not that difficult to prevent things getting worse from what we have right now. Probably, if we recognise DPRK as the nuclear state and start negotiating a peace treaty, they probably would not do much more, which means we succeed in containment. But I am not advocating this; I am trying to make this point because I do not think containment is good enough. I think we do need rollback. CVID is a rollback, and I think something like that should be pursued.

In this regard, I would like to ask Colonel Lu about China’s influence on North Korea. You said that previous sanctions did not work, and what we should do is not any more sanctions on North Korea. But I think it is a common belief among many specialists that previous sanctions did not work because China did not practise it seriously, and I would like to hear your reaction to this, what I regard to be the generally accepted judgement. Thank you.

Dr Jonathan Pollack, Senior Fellow, Foreign Policy, John L Thornton China Center and Center for East Asia Policy Studies, Brookings Institution
Thank you. North Korea, or the DPRK as our Chinese colleague calls it, is not a new issue. Indeed, I would note for the record that deterrence, if we can speak in terms of deterrence, has existed, to be sure, somewhat uneasily on the Korean Peninsula since the Korean Armistice was signed 62 or 63 years ago. This, therefore, was deterrence prior to North Korea being a nuclear-weapons state. And the reasons are pretty self-evident: it is the question of the implications of the use of force. This has been studied and studied again, and studied again, and the conclusions from senior US military commanders have been consistent over time, that in some sense, you could imagine, quote–unquote, ‘winning a war’, but the cost would be so acute because of the inherent vulnerabilities in the Republic of Korea, by its location, by things that you can do absent the use of nuclear weapons.

So I do not want to dwell on that too much, but let me put a cautionary element in – and forgive me for indulging in a bit of history. North Korea says many things. It says it to its own people; it says it to the world. In fact, there are lots of elements in their behaviour that are quite predictable. So, for example, if you believe everything that young Mr Kim says, they are now a thermonuclear-armed state with a capacity to hit Washington DC. We all know that they do not, so let us get first things first. Their ability to deliver nuclear weapons, if it were to be realised, would be first and primarily against its immediate neighbours; however much young Kim might dream of something larger, he is not there, he simply is not there. North Korea tests a nuclear about every three and a half years. There are constraints on their testing programme that may be a function, in part, of the inadequacy of their resource base, or the costs that are associated every time they test another nuclear weapon, where the sanctions ratchet up much more fully, and the same thing would happen yet again because there are things that have been forgone to this point.

So I think it is very, very important, even as this represents a deep and very worrying concern – and I defer to no one in terms of my own worries here about what this could imply – the question is one of time and of trajectories. There are two trajectories that are dominant here in North Korea. One, of course, is the rate at which they could in theory assemble and build a credible nuclear deterrent, because they do not, in my view, possess such a deterrent right now, at least as we conceptualise what a nuclear deterrent looks like, something that any of the established nuclear powers have; that is to say, something that you put on a missile, either launched from under sea or on land, or other things. They would like us to believe that those capabilities exist but, frankly, they really do not.

So I am not saying this to be indulgent, happy talk about North Korea. What I would be much more alarmed about – and this is where it intersects with the question of the sustainability of the North Korean system – now, we know that the predictions of the demise of North Korea come and go. They have done this now ever since the collapse of the Soviet Union. I would like to say that when I wake up in the morning and I turn on my computer, they are still there. But the question now is the imposing of costs on North Korea. I do not think anybody believes that the sanctions, even if they are enhanced, are a cure-all; they are just not. It is a question of whether you can compel North Korea to make some choices that to this point it has not. And how does that intersect with whether or not the system itself has a long-term future?

So what I worry about – and as my good friend Chris Nelson reminds everyone, I put in somewhat evocative terms in this week’s Economist – is that North Korea engages in its nuclear-weapons development with another and much darker scenario in mind, and that is, under circumstances where the system is losing its cohesion, if there is an impulse to go in, somehow, because of the risks that would be entailed here, and to in effect capture whatever they have in the way of nuclear capabilities, North Korea has an inherent capability to set off nuclear weapons not on the basis of something that you put on a missile, but something that in effect says to the outside world and perhaps the United States in particular, that if you come in, expect to see mushroom clouds. And will the United States or anyone else go in on that basis? So I throw that out just to say that, let us not give North Korea credit for what it has not done and has not achieved. Let us bear in mind that they are very determined and, ultimately, they may get there. We should make it as difficult as possible for them to achieve that, deny them legitimacy if we possibly can. Those are inherent dilemmas.

But what I can say – and this would be my last comment – is that there is at present much more of a consensus message among all the affected parties, and the idea is to sustain and build on that consensus and not enable North Korea, as it has done so long and so skilfully, to manoeuvre in the seams, to look for openings among all the affected parties. So that is going to be the challenge first and foremost, I think, of what I will call a united front to forestall North Korea’s further nuclear-weapons development. But let us pay careful heed to what they do or do not have based on what we do or do not know, and that, of course, is a difficult thing to do, and we cannot just simply assume magically that they are not going to prepare. Anyhow, thank you.

General The Lord Richards of Herstmonceux, Senior Adviser for the Middle East and Asia-Pacific, IISS; former Chief of the Defence Staff, United Kingdom
Thank you very much for that. There are some questions in there. It seems to me the real issue is: are we beyond a military option? I have to say, as someone looking at it from not a great point of expertise, though some experience of these things, that sounds like more of the same. So we are stymied, arguably. And I am not advocating a military option; I think Chris Nelson’s point was absolutely spot on.

Shinsuke Sugiyama, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs, Japan
I will once again try to be precise and concise. One, do we have any room for us to recognise on a de facto basis DPRK’s nuke status? And do we have some options for use of force, possibly under Article 42, Chapter 7, or outside of the UN Charter framework?

Now, I will try to address first on the second point. If I were a little naive, maybe the answer is yes. But I am not. If the option of use of force is the option, the situation is much easier, but I do not think we have that option, and this is something that every one of us is concerned about in the neighbourhood, including ROK, PRC, us, US; everybody should be fully in agreement.

Second, do you have any room for us to recognise, as Chris mentioned, even though on a de facto basis, a nuke status of DPRK? The answer is absolutely no. One, as a matter of principle. Remember what was said by Barack Obama, Shinzo Abe in Hiroshima, John Kerry in Hiroshima: we are seeking world without nuke. Of course, not tomorrow, but that is the ultimate aim. That said, can we say, can we be in a position to say, okay, we will say yes to DPRK at least for the time being, on a de facto basis, as a nuke status?

Second, there is too much for us in terms of the real danger, and real security threat. So, both in terms of general philosophy as well as practical security reasons, the answer is totally no. Thank you.

General The Lord Richards of Herstmonceux, Senior Adviser for the Middle East and Asia-Pacific, IISS; former Chief of the Defence Staff, United Kingdom
I have not heard a solution, though. But very well made point.

Yoon Soon Gu, Director-General, International Policy Bureau, Ministry of National Defense, Republic of Korea
Basically, I agree with Mr Sugiyama on most points. Firstly, let me also be precise. Let me ask the same question: is there any room to accept North Korea’s nuclear power? Theoretically and legally, it is impossible. And also, if we think about the unpredictable nature of North Korean leadership as well as its bad track record, it might be a more dangerous world. Number two, can we think about the military options to resolve North Korea’s nuclear crisis? Theoretically, we can do that, but realistically, it is impossible. Thirdly, there is wide convergence of ideas on the importance of the Chinese overall in resolving this nuclear crisis. We expect that China could play a more constructive role to contain North Korea’s nuclear gambles.

Fourthly, if we allow North Korea to possess nuclear weapons, deterrence and detaining North Korea’s ambitions will be more difficult agendas. And I agree with the other colleagues that sanction is not cure-all, but this is the proper time to think about the release of sanctions, basically because North Korea does not accept any dialogue with the condition to participate in the dialogue as a non-nuclear-weapons state. Thank you.

General The Lord Richards of Herstmonceux, Senior Adviser for the Middle East and Asia-Pacific, IISS; former Chief of the Defence Staff, United Kingdom
So China is the solution? Colonel Lu.

Colonel Lu Yin, Associate Researcher, Institute of Strategic Studies, National Defense University, People's Liberation Army, China
China is the solution, simply. We have very consistent policies towards DPRK’s nuclear problem, and the most important one, in which we share the common interest with all parties concerned, is that we support a Korean Peninsula without nuclear weapons. So that is why we call our policies denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula. So I agree with the argument theoretically and legally; we do not support such kind of possibility to have a ‘nuclear-have’ DPRK.

For the Chinese influence on DPRK, I think I will respond to Takeuchi’s question. As I mentioned before, China’s policy choices are quite limited, but China has tried its best to help DPRK to gain its economic development and to encourage this more and awake the country back to the negotiation table. For the sanction problem, I think also, as I mentioned, China has implemented its UN resolutions strictly. If you think China has not strictly implemented the resolution, please give me a simple example and I will get back to you. I also have an example to you. Even in 2013, when the media showed the photos of the specialised flow-forming machine in DPRK, some experts found that it is a very advanced machine for the HEU production, and after the specialised analysis, this machine came from European countries. So my question is, when some people or people from neighbouring countries suspected China’s implementation of the resolution, can you pay much attention to other possible channels? And China has its resolution and legislation to have a denuclearised Korean Peninsula. China has shown its decision, very strong decision, to denuclearise the Korean Peninsula, especially DPRK. China has said that and China will do that. That is my answer, thank you.

Aidan Foster-Carter, Honorary Senior Research Fellow in Sociology and Modern Korea, Leeds University
There is a risk on the nuclear recognition, or whatever. Obviously, one understands totally all the broad Kantian ‘pour encourager les autres’ reasons why, for the NPT and everything, you cannot recognise them. The other side of the coin, though, is, how do we avoid being in the situation of the emperor’s new clothes, where the little child says, ‘But hey, they have got the bomb!’ I do not know how you square that, and I do not know if there can be rollback. The genie is out of the bottle, is it not? I just came across an article, though it was from January, by former secretary Bill Perry, where I think he says as much, and also, of course, laments that they were so close in 2000. People may have different views about that; actually getting it never to come out of the bottle, that is one thing.

Secondly, on what can we do about it, the military option, can I surprise myself with a warmonger moment? I am not a weapons person, but given the fuss specifically about SLBM, about what a game-changer it would be if they ever had a submarine; hang on, we presumably can watch them building submarines, unless the whole thing is deep in caves, and there is a finite number of ports that they can set out from. If it ever came to that point, and God forbid, it would be a lot easier going after the subs than the bases, would it not? End of warmonger moment. Hypothetical, of course.

Lord Powell of Bayswater, Member, House of Lords; former Private Secretary and Adviser on Foreign Affairs and Defence to Prime Ministers Thatcher and Major; Trustee of the IISS
I agree with you that more of the same is all we have heard so far this afternoon. Every option we have heard mentioned has been discussed, tried, and has failed, so quite why we put faith in going back over them and hoping that one will work is something that eludes me. We are simply putting the problem in the too-difficult-to-solve box.

Secondly, containment is not enough. We need isolation, which is more than containment, which means stricter sanctions still. I have, I have to say, reservations about the wisdom of President Xi seeing the North Korean delegates. I think at the very least – I hope at the very least – he sent them away with a monstrous flea in the ear. If he did not, he should have relegated them to a much lower level of the Chinese administration, because the public appearance is that China has resumed contact with North Korea at a serious level, and yet has nothing to show for it.

Third point, I have never quite understood why collapse is seen as the only alternative to present policies. I do not think collapse is the only alternative in North Korea. There must surely be outcomes short of collapse. Even the present president of North Korea cannot terrorise all the people eternally; there must be interests building up in North Korea who do not want to lose everything they have.

And lastly, this talk of the military option, I have to say, I prefer Ash Carter Mark I to Ash Carter Mark II. Of course, there is a military option. It can only be a pre-emptive one. It must exist; I think it would be criminally irresponsible of the United States not to have an option that was drawn up for use in the case of absolute necessity. But I have to say that in the Iran case, I think the notion that a military option existed was a powerful feature in persuading Iran to change its mind; I believe the same is true of North Korea. Thank you.

Thank you, sir. Thank you very much for the three presenters, for very informative presentations. And my question is coming to Colonel Lu from China. In my opinion, the North Korea nuclear issue is a hot issue which creates potential risk to the regional security and concern to many countries in the region. And being sanctioned by the United Nations, North Korea may have, I think, more negative responses. So as one of the major powers – and one of China’s neighbours, you are the neighbour of North Korea – what suggestions and concrete solutions will China make to stop the issues in North Korea? Thank you.

Colonel Ren Guoqiang, Deputy Director-General, Information Bureau, Office for International Military Cooperation, Ministry of National Defense, China
Thank you. For many years, China tried very hard to induce and encourage North Korea to change by taking new paths and opening up their society. I would not say that China was completely unsuccessful, but we have been unsuccessful in terms of reversing the nuclear development. So I think my view is that, for the time being, we should continue to fully implement the Security Council resolutions, including the most recent one. And after some time, for example, six months, 12 months, we make assessments, to see whether these measures have had some impact, and so on. Then we decide what to do next. Thank you.

Ichita Yamamoto, Member, House of Councillors, National Diet of Japan
As Deputy Foreign Minister Sugiyama knows, I am one of the five Japanese parliamentarians who invented the current Japanese legislation regarding its sanctions again North Korea, and I was a minister in charge of science and technology in the second Abe cabinet, and I used to be in charge of territorial issues. I was a little bit shocked to hear from Colonel Lu that China’s policy options vis-à-vis North Korea are limited, because everybody knows, if any type of sanction against North Korea works or not very much depends on the Chinese determination, and everybody knows that North Korean economy is totally dependent upon that of China, but I will not agree with you that China is trying its best to influence North Korea. And I think your government proposed to resume Six-Party Talk-type of dialogue, but Six-Party Talks did not work anyway, so do you think that this kind of mechanism like Six-Party Talks can make Kim Jong-un give up his nuclear-development programme?

General The Lord Richards of Herstmonceux, Senior Adviser for the Middle East and Asia-Pacific, IISS; former Chief of the Defence Staff, United Kingdom     
Very good. China could do more; that is the key question.

Major General Yao Yunzhu, Senior Fellow, Academy of Military Science, People's Liberation Army, China
Everyone in China knows that the leverage on North Korea is limited. My question is, the DPRK regime still needs someone to work with, to negotiate with, or is the only thing for us is to wait for the regime to collapse? And is it better to start talks on denuclearisation and try to slow down to reduce and, by the end, to eliminate North Korean nuclear capability, or is it better to wait idly for North Korea to increase nuclear-missile capabilities like it has been doing for the last seven years? What is a better choice? So that maybe, at the end of the day, we have only two choices: whether to accept North Korea as a nuclear-weapons state, or try to cure it? You have to use military means.

And my one specific question to my Korean colleagues is: are peace-treaty talks a favour to the North Koreans, or is it something that every related party in the area wants?

General The Lord Richards of Herstmonceux, Senior Adviser for the Middle East and Asia-Pacific, IISS; former Chief of the Defence Staff, United Kingdom    
Very pertinent, as usual, General. And you have helped Colonel Lu.

Tadashi Maeda, Senior Managing Director, Japan Bank for International Cooperation; Member of the Council, IISS
I have a very simple two questions. One is lessons from the failure of the process of two decades, including the bargaining approach of the Agreed Framework, because I was involved in the Agreed Framework through the KEDO process. The lesson from the Agreed Framework is a very conventional way of the carrot and stick; the tactics did not work for North Korea.

And secondly, it is also that the Six-Party Talks, the pattern of Kim Jong-un, to me, is quite a bit similar to his father’s, which is brinkmanship. By brinkmanship, North Korea tried to directly negotiate only with the United States, so that they are manipulating, they are cheating. And a lesson is that throughout these two decades of unsuccessful process, we gave the North Koreans a chance to have more time to develop a nuclear capability and a missile capability. Now, they own some of the status of the nuclear power. If we all do not recognise it, it is a de facto basis that they do have some capability. Therefore, I think that if we rule out the military option, the only option is to strengthen sanctions. I am an expert on sanctions, and the current sanctions are really powerful. What has happened in the case of Iran, Libya and in Russia, for example, cutbacks on the financial side, that is very powerful, because North Korea cannot survive if the sanction itself is being implemented fully without any retort. That is very powerful. So the question is that, how we can cement that powerful sanction regime against North Korea?

Thank you, Chairman, thank you, speakers, for the insightful speeches. As we all agree, there are not so many doors open to North Korea. I think Mongolia is one door which is frequently opened, and the name tag on this door, we call it Ulaanbaatar Dialogue on Northeast Asia Security. Over the past few years, we held some dozen events, and one of the major events coming later this month. And the importance of these events in Mongolia, because North Korea usually always participates with their high-level delegation, therefore the discussions, they give some insightful information on the possible outcome. And my question would be, we are all talking about the nuclear issue, the nuclear threat, but we all know that in such a system it is not enough to talk just about the leader; it is a system. How would you rate the danger of the collapsing of such a system, which would cause a huge humanitarian and economic impact on our region, compared to the nuclear threat? Is it a real threat today, or do you still think there is an opportunity and there is room to pursue the policy we hold today and will for quite some time in the near future? Thank you.

General The Lord Richards of Herstmonceux, Senior Adviser for the Middle East and Asia-Pacific, IISS; former Chief of the Defence Staff, United Kingdom    
I think that is a theme that has come out: collapse would be better than possession of a weapon, which had not occurred to me.

Lieutenant General Herbert McMaster, Director, Army Capabilities Integration Center, US Army Training and Doctrine Command, US Army; Consulting Senior Fellow, IISS
I would very much like to comment on other options besides the direct use of military force or economic sanctions, but my official duty positions will not permit me to do that part of it, so a few very quick and provocative things to think about. One, there are circumstances under which the use of military force is not optional; if the North Koreans were to attack, by design or miscalculation, that is something to be thought through. I wonder, if they do give up the nuclear weapons, do things necessarily get immediately better, for the reasons Aidan alluded to, the domestic factors that may present a problem that may have additional military manifestations.

And the third point is, with the current balance of military power, as it were, without nuclear weapons on the peninsula, the consequences of military conflict would still be absolutely horrific, without a single nuclear weapon at play.

General The Lord Richards of Herstmonceux, Senior Adviser for the Middle East and Asia-Pacific, IISS; former Chief of the Defence Staff, United Kingdom    
Thank you for those very important practical points.

Shinsuke Sugiyama, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs, Japan
I said no use of force, no recognition even on a de facto basis of nuke status for DPRK. And as Minister Yamamoto rightly pointed out, how do we do that? Somebody said that we can only be waiting for them to collapse. That is not the way, because we have at least some sizeable persons who are still waiting for the peace to come back, and they are ageing. We have no time. So all this said, combined together, what is the solution? I do not think I can give you any panacea solution, except to say that we continue persistent pressure by increasing sanctions. I do hope that that would do something good at the end of the day, like Iranian cases, like other cases. And plus, persistent efforts to be open for the dialogue, to try to let them understand. Of course, these are not easy, these do not give us any practically good solutions to be done tomorrow. But what else can we do? That is our dilemma, and that is something that we need the support of the whole international community like you. Thank you.

General The Lord Richards of Herstmonceux, Senior Adviser for the Middle East and Asia-Pacific, IISS; former Chief of the Defence Staff, United Kingdom    
Well, a carrot and stick is what you are talking about, but I would offer that a stick has to be credible. And by saying, as Charles Powell rightly reminded us, that military intervention is not an option, which everyone, give or take, has said, you have taken away any sense of a carrot and stick, so you are already down a carrot. But anyway, carrot and stick, I think, is really what we are talking about.

Yoon Soon Gu, Director-General, International Policy Bureau, Ministry of National Defense, Republic of Korea
Let me be brief. When ideas came up from the floor, containment is not enough. We need further isolations. If North Korea fails to comply with its obligation under the UN Security Council resolutions, they will face further isolations. My Chinese colleague indicated that the South Korean government is waiting for regime collapse. Well, we do not pursue regime collapse of North Korea, so we realise that the unexpected collapse of the North Korea regime will bring catastrophic consequences to Korea, so I do not think that is the Korean government’s policy. When we are talking about the peace treaties, of course, we will be ready to be preoccupied with the peace treaty with North Korea, but this is not the right time, because they failed to demonstrate their sincere will to denuclearise North Korea. So this is not the right time to think about these treaties. Again, the transforming the real nature of the North Korea regime should be made orderly. We do not pursue, once again, regime collapse or obstruction with North Korea.

Let me take this opportunity on the roles of China in dealing with North Korea’s nuclear issues. Well, of course, China shares some responsibilities. Firstly, China is a member of the UN Security Council, and also is a nuclear power under the NPT treaties, and China wants to be a responsible regional power, but they provide a huge amount of oil and food to North Korea, which means they are serving as a lifeline to North Korea’s regime survival. But many experts so far used to point out that China still is preoccupied with the notion that North Korea should be served as a kind of buffer. They are preoccupied with the thinking of balance of power, the way of thinking. Of course, we have a strategic dialogue with China, and we know that China has played a quite constructive role in dealing with North Korea in its own way, but there is further room to increase their positive role in dealing with North Korea. That is all that I have.

Colonel Lu Yin, Associate Researcher, Institute of Strategic Studies, National Defense University, People's Liberation Army, China
Thank you for the questions. You are surprised or shocked about the limitation on the Chinese government here. I think first, when we are talking about DPRK, maybe less of the countries can realise that DPRK is as equal a sovereign state as other countries, and even with the treaty alliance, like US–Japan, the United States cannot push Japan to do everything it wants. I think it is a perspective you can further understand, why China’s policy choices are very limited.

And secondly – thank you for mentioning the Six-Party Talks – I think before any talks or negotiations get a positive result, it is generally believed that they are a failure. Taking our 1994 framework between the United States and the DPRK as an example, when the Clinton administration gave out the possible surgical-strike option to DPRK, it turned to a negotiation with DPRK and also made great progress in easing the bilateral relationship between these two countries, and also, step by step, denuclearisation of DPRK was a very complicated background. This framework failed. And then it turns to the Six-Party Talks, and the Six-Party Talks also got the phased progress and achievements. On the one hand, it defunctioned the plutonium reactors, and, second, it realised some kind of frequent talks between North and South and all parties concerned. Thirdly, it gives the encouragement to DPRK to give up its nuclear programme step by step, but also, for the very complicated political reasons, these Six-Party Talks cannot resolve all the problems at one time, and all parties concerned, especially the United States – I have to say that – including also DPRK, for the deep contradiction between these two countries, they both of them gave up this platform. It is not the force of China, it is not the force of other countries concerned; it comes from the legacy of the Cold War, it comes from the deep mutual suspicion between the United States and the DPRK. But China has kept its effort and resumed Six-Party because we cannot find an alternative to resume any other kind of multilateral platform. Even for the UN Resolution 2270, under item 50 or 51, they claimed that we have to resume the Six-Party Talks to resolve the nuclear problem. That proves why we believe sanctions are the only way to resolve the problem, but not the purpose of our multilateral platform.

For the question on the comprehensive resolution – I think it is from the Vietnam friend – first, I think you are right, we need a comprehensive resolution. From the Chinese perspective, first, I think to denuclearise, that is very, very important in the Korean Peninsula, in a peaceful way. And at the same time, we need some commitment of DPRK on not developing and proliferating nuclear weapons and, also, the commitment from the United States and its allies in the region on not pursuing the mouse into the corner and creating an external environment in favour of the negotiations.

Second, DPRK should stop its nuclear and missile programme, rejoin NPT as a nuclear-weapons-free country, or nuclear-have-not country; possibly through a joint security guarantee by a certain number of relevant countries we can encourage DPRK to do it. Yes, it is a very faraway or quite a faraway target for all the parties concerned. I can see the disappointment of the faces here to support such kind of resolution, but I really cannot find any possible way to resume or to denuclearise the Korean Peninsula, and if we just squeeze this country into the corner, I do not believe it is a very wise way to resolve the problem, and it is not a benefit to all the countries concerned and not conducive to the peaceful development of the region. Thank you.

Aidan Foster-Carter, Honorary Senior Research Fellow in Sociology and Modern Korea, Leeds University
Do I get the last word? Gosh, this is a weighty responsibility. I just want to say a couple of things, really inspired by what Charles Powell said. I very much agree that collapse is not the only alternative and, again, I do not know if this is now history and the road not taken. You said something about interests building up within the society. Well, yes, absolutely, there are; this is a new capitalism that might, in a small degree, delight the heart of Lady Thatcher if she were here to see it. There are people who have an interest in the status quo; there are probably rather a lot who do not. That is why, if I mourn the Sunshine Policy, which has been and gone, and it had many faults, it is because I am not sentimental, but I have already quoted one early British twentieth-century humourist, Hilaire Belloc – if I may quote Saki, ‘Of all the ways of killing a cat, choking it on cream should not be overlooked’. I saw Sunshine as a long-term process, as Ostpolitik was, that might have had the same ultimate result, that there might be sort of a collapse, but a peaceful one, creating structures of common interest, but I guess it has gone now.

And if I can just say one other thing, do you talk to your brother at all, Charles, because – people may not know this – Charles was a senior adviser to Lady Thatcher, and his brother Jonathan was the same to Tony Blair, and helped bring peace to Northern Ireland, and Jonathan Powell’s consultancy has been going to North Korea. I am not blabbing any secrets here, because every time he goes, the North Koreans publish it. His interlocutor was the late Kang Sok-ju, so the fact that your interlocutor is dead does not actually help, but one rather hopes there are things going on behind the scenes, because that is the only hope I can see.

And I will conclude, I am going to invent a brand-new Korean proverb: once more we have ridden the North Korean horse around the field and we still cannot find the gate. Thank you.

General The Lord Richards of Herstmonceux, Senior Adviser for the Middle East and Asia-Pacific, IISS; former Chief of the Defence Staff, United Kingdom    
Well, on your behalf, may I thank the panel. I would say, as a minor strategist, that any coherent strategy is one in which ends, ways and means are properly synthesised. This is clearly an example of an unsound strategy, but let us hope that from these discussions something better pragmatically comes out of it. But on your behalf, may I thank the four panellists. Fantastic performance, thank you very much indeed. 

Military Capability Development: New Technologies, Limited Budgets and Hard Choices

As Delivered

Dr Bastian Giegerich, Director of Defence and Military Analysis, IISS
A very good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. My name is Bastian Giegerich, I am the Director for Defence and Military Analysis at the IISS and it is my pleasure to share this special session at the 15th IISS Shangri La Dialogue. Thank you all for coming. I thought this was going to be a popular session and I am pleased to see you all here. The session is on Military Capability Development: New Technologies, Limited Budgets and Hard Choices. I suppose most of us would probably feel that we come from requirement rich but cash poor countries in one way or other, and there are a lot of issues around these themes of how to set priorities for capability development and how to use technology to those ends. 

We have an excellent panel of speakers to help us think these challenges through and you have their biographies in the app and in the documentation, so I am not going to read them out, but I will just quickly introduce them. To my far right is Major General Perry Lim, Chief of Defence Force (CDF), Singapore, from our host nation. To my immediate right is Major General Gong Xianfu, Vice Chairman of the China Institute for International Strategic Studies; welcome, sir. To my immediate left is Philippe Errera, Director-General for International Relations and Strategy at the French Ministry of Defence; Philippe, welcome. To my far left is Marillyn Hewson, Chairman, President and Chief Executive of Lockheed Martin and, I am proud to say, also a member of the IISS Council; thank you very much for being here.

What we will do is I will give, in turn, each one of our speakers about five minutes to set out some core themes and then we will have a discussion, and I hope that you all take that opportunity to actively participate in our conversation.

I will not take up any more time, but will hand over to Major General Lim for the perspective from Singapore.

Major General Perry Lim, Chief of Defence Force, Singapore
Dr Giegerich, thank you for your introduction. Distinguished panellists, delegates, ladies and gentleman, thank you for giving me this opportunity to share my views on the topic Military Capability Development: New Technologies, Limited Budgets and Hard Choices. This topic is a particularly apt and suitable one for the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF). To begin, allow me to share with you very briefly what our limited budgets or constraints are, to set the context for what we face in Singapore as well as in the SAF.

For a small country like Singapore, manpower will be the most significant constraint that we will face in the years to come. The SAF, as some of you may know, is a conscript force, and the bulk of our armed forces is made up of full‑time national servicemen (NSF), as well as our reserve (NSmen). In Singapore, all able‑bodied Singaporeans are required to serve two years of compulsory national service, and this is followed by another ten years in which they are called back every year for up to two to three weeks for military training. Every year, we take in about 20,000 national servicemen recruits, so with two years of national service we have about 40,000 full‑time national servicemen at any given point in time. Unfortunately, in Singapore, as a fairly developed city state, our total fertility rate has averaged around 1.1 to 1.2 since the turn of the century, which is far lower than the 2.1 that is required to replace the population. By 2030, so in around 15 years’ time, our annual inflow of recruits will shrink by as much 30%, from the 20,000 that we get in every year to fewer than 15,000, which is a significant change for the SAF. This also means that we have a much smaller pool from which to recruit soldiers, sailors and airmen to join the SAF as part of a military profession. That is the first constraint.

The second constraint has to do with physical space. As you know, Singapore is a very small country, all of 700 square kilometres. Indeed, it is said that you can fit the island of Singapore into Lake Toba in Sumatra. For the SAF, we need space for military training camps as well as airbases, and space for military training will always be a constraint for the SAF in Singapore.

The third constraint has to do with money. We are quite fortunate that the Singapore government has been making steady and consistent investment in defence over the years, which has allowed us to build a modern and capable armed force. We have had both strong political support as well as public support for the armed force, as well as national service, but we expect our defence budget to come under pressure from other competing demands on the national budget, such as healthcare, education and public transport.

When we talk about limited budgets, in Singapore we are talking about manpower primarily, physical space and then money. With limited and declining resources, as the CDF, my hard choices have involved the allocation of resources. Firstly, the allocation of resources to my three services as well as in building joint capabilities. Second, the allocation to continually modernise the SAF to be a deterring and decisive force against conventional threats versus other operational demands, such as building capabilities against terrorism as well as meeting some of our peacetime requirements, like humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) and other peaceful operations. Number three is allocation to building new capabilities in new domain areas, such as cyber defence and information operations. Lastly, managing how much we would, as an armed force, apportion to capability development for the future and to operating, training and sustaining our forces and activities for the present. Those are the dilemmas I face as a CDF in the face of limited budgets and limited resource.

Our experience is that there is no silver-bullet solution, so at the SAF we have managed these constraints and hard choices through a combination of different approaches. We address the manpower shortfall by bringing in platforms that require fewer operators and also in cases whereby we design our ships for lean manning. We make use of simulators and we train overseas to overcome our space constraints. We always maintain a tight watch on our spending for capability development and, where feasible, we upgrade our platforms and equipment instead of purchasing new ones. In addition, we ensure through our processes that the SAF gets the biggest bang for its buck in all acquisitions, and we also frequently review and tighten our system of managing our operating expenditure, our operational costs. Fundamentally, though, to ensure that we continue to have the budget that is required to modernise the armed force as well as to meet the spectrum of operations, the key is to ensure that we maintain public support for the armed force as well as the SAF, so that this will allow the political leaders to continue to support the build‑up of the SAF.

I do not presume that just because I am on a panel I have all the answers to the hard choices, but what I have tried to offer is a sense of what concerns me, as a CDF, and some of the approaches that we have taken at the SAF. I look forward to hearing your opinions and perspectives and maybe some ideas on how the SAF can do better. Thank you.

Dr Bastian Giegerich, Director of Defence and Military Analysis, IISS
Major General, thank you very much. The points that you raise, particularly around using technology to reduce the number of crew required, simulator and overseas training, are issues to which we might want to return.

Major General Gong, China is obviously in the middle of a defence reform and modernisation process. You are reducing the number of personnel in your armed forces by 300,000, so a very different set of issues, but we are looking forward to hearing from you how you think that process is proceeding.

Major General (Retd) Gong Xianfu, Vice Chairman, China Institute for International Strategic Studies, China
Thank you, Mr Chairman. It is my great pleasure to speak at this session, but I must tell the truth: I received an invitation from Dr Chipman to speak at this session just one day before I arrived, so what I am going to say are purely my personal opinions, which do not represent any official institutions. I was asked to comment on the challenges for the defence establishment in building military capability. At the moment, I am a retired military man. I am not a member of the defence establishment, so I can only share my personal understandings on this topic.

As you know, China’s national defence and armed forces are now undergoing the most important and profound reform. I personally believe the reform is clearly in direct response to the new challenges facing the military establishment. These challenges are: first, China is facing multiple and complex security threats, as well as increasing external impediments and challenges; traditional and non‑traditional security threats are interwoven, so the military has a more arduous task to safeguard sovereignty, security and development interests. Second, the world revolution in military affairs is proceeding to a new stage, which not only has a significant impact on the international military and political landscape but also has posed new challenges for the building of Chinese military capability. Third, China’s growing strategic interests have brought about new requirements for the building of the military.

With such a background, the goal of the military reform is to build a strong military that will unswervingly adhere to the principle of the Communist Party of China’s (CPC’s) absolute leadership; uphold combat effectiveness as the sole and fundamental standard; and build themselves into a people’s military that follows the CPC’s commands, can fight and win and boast a fine style of work so as to address various security threats and accomplish diversified military tasks. In my view, the main focuses of the military reform are as follows.

First, intensifying strategic management and joint operational command to achieve the objective of the Central Military Commission (CMC) taking charge of the overall task the theatre commands, focus on war fighting, and the services and arms pursuing their own construction. You will have noticed that, so far, we have reorganised and optimised the functions and institutions of the CMC and the general-headquarters departments. For example, we have already set up a new army headquarters and we have reorganised military districts into strategic commands and so on.

Second, attaching greater importance to focusing on the preparation for military struggle. To ensure the armed forces meet the requirement of being able to fight and win, the measures will include enhancing capabilities for system-to-system operation based on information systems, developing advanced weaponry and equipment, maintaining constant combat readiness, enhancing combat training in realistic conditions, cultivating a new type of military personnel and deepening reform of military educational institutions.

Third, intensifying efforts in running the armed forces with strict discipline and in accordance with law, so as to elevate the level of rule by law. For this purpose, you will have noticed that the CMC has set up some new organisations, such as the auditing bureau and the Commission for Discipline Inspection and so on.

Last but not least, accelerating the in‑depth development of civil and military integration. China will work to establish uniform military and civilian standards for infrastructure, key technological areas and emerging industries, explore the ways and means for training military personnel in civilian educational institutions, develop weaponry and equipment by national defence industries and outsource logistics support to civilian support systems.

These are my very brief ideas about the ongoing military reform in China. Thank you very much.

Dr Bastian Giegerich, Director of Defence and Military Analysis, IISS
Major General, thank you very much for outlining the core goals that China is pursuing with this current effort. I am sure people will want to come back to the specifics of that and maybe also talk a little bit about other aspects of defence modernisation on the equipment side, perhaps, but we will see.

I will now hand over to Philippe Errera. France is, in my view at least, the European country that has had, for some time now, the most coherent view of these challenges of how to prioritise in the face of budget constraints and uncertainty. How do you look at these challenges?

Philippe Errera, Director‑General, International Relations and Strategy, Ministry of Defence, France

Thank you, Bastian. It is an honour to be here and I apologise before starting, because there are two things we will never see in our lifetimes, which are sufficient defence budgets and a cure for the common cold, so bear with me.

I would like to lay out very briefly, so that we have enough time for the final panellist and the conversation, the way France sees this process in terms of defence planning and making hard choices regarding defence capacity – the framework – and where that leaves us today in terms of our armed forces.

The foundations and the framework for French capability development are quite stable. They are stable because the foundations – the principles – have been relatively constant and it is a small number of principles that are grounded in our strategic culture and in our policy, and the process is also now relatively stabilised. The principles, in a telegraphic style, at least for the last several decades have been as follows.

A principle of sufficiency. This is a principle that we apply, of course, in the field of nuclear deterrence, but also in terms of conventional capabilities. We do not seek to have capabilities that will allow us to defeat any adversary, but to fulfil certain objectives.

A principle of sovereignty or autonomy. It is autonomy in terms of assessing a situation, of making the appropriate decision to act or not to act and with whom to act and, of course, the autonomy to act. This may sound very philosophical, but it has very clear consequences in the kinds of capabilities that we need, such as for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR), strike. It also has very clear consequences in the necessary autonomy for our defence-industrial and technological base, at least in a number of key areas linked to these capabilities.

A principle of pragmatic multilateralism, which could be a subject for a whole other debate with European and other partners. We are a member of NATO and the EU – this is at the core of our strategic identity and capability to act. But we will also act unilaterally whenever necessary in terms of the speed of action.

These basic principles are laid out in our White Paper on Defence and National Security that is updated every five years. These principles and, more importantly, the strategic context and the threats that we are confronted with are laid out in this White Paper and then translated into a five‑year military-programme law that lays out the capabilities that we want to be able to field in quite a high level of detail, and the necessary budgets. Today, we are in the 2013–2019 period and the key element in terms of our analysis of the context is the wide array of risks and threats with which we are confronted. I would not want to speak for Europe, but from a French point of view, certainly since the end of the Cold War and perhaps even since the end of the Second World War we have never been exposed to an array of threats that is so intense, so diverse and so changing. The threat was more intense during the Cold War but it was less diverse. In our 2013 White Paper, we lay out broad categories, the so‑called ‘risks of weakness’, such as failed states and chaos that empower criminal or terrorist networks. Obviously, the emergence of Daesh qualitatively changed the nature of the terrorist threat; this is just one example. We also lay out what we call the ‘threats of force’, in other words, the return of great-power competition in Europe and Asia and the possible re‑emergence of state‑based threats. This was laid out in general terms in the 2013 White Paper. What we have seen with Russian action and Russian aggression in Ukraine, with some Chinese actions in the South China Sea, brings back the risk of classical, state‑based conflict.

In a more general sense – and this also has a direct bearing on defence-capability development – we are confronted with a proliferation, both horizontal and vertical, of certain military technologies of concern which change the battlefield in which we operate. Anti‑access/area denial (A2/AD) has been something of a buzzword in Asian security circles for at least a decade; now we are discussing increasingly anti‑access and area denial in Europe. Russian actions in Syria showed us that European or NATO countries’ forces can be exposed to A2/AD environments by Russia in theatres where we are operating outside the European space. Along with many technologies, either on the low end, such as IEDs or cheap tactical drones, or of a higher-end nature, this is really changing the way that we see conflict. Of course, also, increasingly, the importance of the immaterial field, with cyber especially.

The consequence that we have drawn from this analysis of the environment and the way we are adapting our forces translates into, first, the need – and this has only been confirmed since 2013 – for a full-spectrum military. There was some debate, to be honest, in 2013 whether we could afford to look at a military that was more focused on lower-end threats or on counter‑insurgency, for example. The choice that was made was to maintain a full-spectrum military in the five realms of land, air, sea, space and cyber. Everything that we have seen since has confirmed to us, unfortunately, that this was the right choice, and today we have French forces that are operating in, if you wish, pure counter‑terrorism in northern Mali or Iraq and Syria, but you also have high‑end capabilities that are necessary in terms of airpower, increasing need for anti‑submarine warfare, whether it be in the North Atlantic or elsewhere. All of this has been necessary and, at the same time, we have had to deploy close to 10,000 troops on French soil after the terrorist attacks of 2015, in support of our internal-security forces.

The consequences of all of this in terms of budgets were that we decided on an increase of our defence budget in 2015. In 2013, the decision was made to preserve the defence budget from any more cuts, which was already a difficult decision in the budgetary environment of the time. In 2015, it was decided to increase the budget by €3.8 billion (close to 10%) by 2019 and to stop all cuts in manpower.

With regard to the priorities in military capabilities and forces, we have focused on those that are enabling capabilities or technologies in the different fields, such as intelligence or ISR more broadly, cyber, special-operations forces, and continuing to invest, of course, in conventional forces for power projection and our nuclear deterrent.

Just one word by way of conclusion. One element that we are and will continue to be confronted with is the tension between the temptation to not only act alone but to develop systems and capabilities by ourselves with the great advantage of autonomy, but also the higher cost. There are some areas where this is necessary, where there is no choice or no debate, others where there is debate. Where do you place that line? On the other hand, the advantages of multilateral and multinational capability development, we have a series of programmes: Franco‑British, of course, Franco‑German, broader, among European countries. How does that play out?

Of course, from the point of view of our military and defence officials, we will always have limited budgets and hard choices compared to what we would like to have. Nevertheless, to answer your question, one of the keys is that the budgets need to be less limited, and I am sorry for stating the obvious, but I would take as one very positive trend in Europe the fact that over the last two years those defence budgets that were dropping have bottomed out and a certain number of defence budgets are increasing, whether it be of smaller states or larger states, like the United Kingdom, Germany, Poland and France. That makes a difference in terms of the future, especially if we also see a parallel trend of not just increasing budgets but an increasing share of those budgets going to defence equipment and R&D.

Dr Bastian Giegerich, Director of Defence and Military Analysis, IISS
Thank you very much for that very systematic outline of how France thinks these things through. Thankfully, you have proved my point that France is very coherent about this, and it will be interesting, as you said, to see how that up arrow that we can see in Europe translates into new initiatives. It is a bit too early to tell how significant that will be, but it is a time now when things will clarify themselves.

Marillyn, when we talk about all these problems, people look to the defence industry to come up with solutions; that is probably the nature of the beast. Technology, inter-operability, partnerships, all these topics must be very much on your mind, and we are all looking forward to hearing the industry perspective on these themes. Please, the floor is yours.

Marillyn Hewson, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, Lockheed Martin Corporation; Member of the Council, IISS
Thank you, Bastian, and thanks for the opportunity to be on this panel with such distinguished colleagues here and among all of you today. The opportunity to give an industry voice to this panel is important. I will not go into great detail on the kinds of military capabilities that we will hear from around the room, but rather talk a little more about how the industry can support our militaries as they face these very difficult budgets and tough choices that we have to make in an environment where the global security threats are increasing. We heard a lot about that this morning for this region specifically, when you look at a range of things that were highlighted and just how diverse and increasingly demanding those threats and challenges are, from maritime and territorial disputes to terrorism and cyber threats. Couple that with humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, and all of those challenges that each of the countries in this region has means that they do have a need for military capabilities, but among very limited budgets and hard choices. It does summarise this topic today. It certainly summarises the challenges that our partners face and it is an opportunity for us in industry to help our partners.

As I look at it, from industry players, Lockheed Martin in particular, we certainly support our government partners in this environment by helping to look over the horizon at innovative technologies and how we can bring innovation. In fact, as a company, we have been around for over one hundred years, and this new capability, that started with Glenn L Martin and the Lockheed brothers and Igor Sikorsky, so way back then. And we have been working on innovation for a number of years, and that we bring. But in my opening remarks what I would like to focus on are three priorities that industry in general can do to help militaries.

The first is delivering flexible solutions. We know that the environments that our militaries operate in are evolving, the needs are evolving, they are very diverse. Rather than having to choose just one capability over another, we can offer platforms that have the versatility to meet multiple missions. You may be operating on a common platform, but that platform can then be customised based on the mission requirements. That is a much more cost effective solution for you and for the nations that have constrained resources. A great example of that is our flexible aircraft the C 130 Hercules. Many of the nations in this region fly the C 130 Hercules, and it is a platform that – many of you may not know, but it has been in service for over 60 years in 70 countries, and yet we continue to keep it relevant for the unique needs of our customers. It services fire fighting and humanitarian relief, medical evacuation, maritime ISR and even special military operations, which are becoming increasingly relevant to the fight against non state terrorist organisations. We have worked with our customers over the years and continue to do so, taking what is a very versatile platform and making it a much more multi mission platform. That is a very good example of a flexible solution.

Another example is the F‑16 fighter. We work with nations around the world to upgrade their F‑16 fleets with the latest technology. This is an aircraft that has been around since the 1970s. We have delivered over 4,500 of them and yet today we are still delivering new, upgrading it with new software or, for those who have fleets, we are upgrading them with new capabilities. Again, these are flexible solutions that are a great way that we can continue to evolve capabilities for increasingly dynamic challenges.

The second area where industry can help is in inter-operability. For smaller nations with limited resources to acquire military hardware, we believe that choosing products and technologies that seamlessly interface with those that are used by their regional allies is going to add significant value to that investment. When you are part of a larger system and you are sharing data between partner nations, countries collectively can access a significantly wider view of the threat environment and a significantly stronger security position. A good example of that, which we have talked a bit about already, is the need for coordinated intelligence, reconnaissance and surveillance, the ISR capability. By choosing a common platform that can connect with allies in the region or around the world, you can exponentially increase your ISR capability. This capability then can be provided on a number of platforms, including some that are not traditional ISR platforms. Again, this is a case of inter-operability that gives you more capability. For example, the F‑35, the Joint Strike Fighter, is beginning to enter service in Japan, Australia and the Republic of Korea, ultimately. Those nations will benefit from the outstanding ISR capability of that aircraft along with the exceptional capability of a fully operational and inter-operable fifth-generation stealth fighter.

The third area that I would represent from an industry standpoint is partnership. Industries can help the nations in the regions we operate in to expand international partnerships. Partnerships between governments and industry players have yielded very impressive results in the past, and we have the opportunity to achieve even greater outcomes and greater success by expanding those partnerships to new nations, to new programmes and to the local industry in those nations. For example, if you think about the ability to partner further, the lifting of the US restrictions on arms sales to Vietnam could allow that country to access new technology while giving them a larger role in regional security. That is a great example of a growing partnership that happens among governments in the region.

In industry, we continue to strengthen our customer partnerships by investing in building local industry capabilities. For example, we have partnered with Tata Advanced Systems Limited in India to build major sections of the C‑130 aircraft. That aircraft supports that fleet around the world from the joint venture that we have with Tata in India on every single C‑130 aircraft that is delivered today. Similarly, on S‑92 helicopters, every single S‑92 helicopter in our partnership with Tata delivered around the world, a great partnership and one that helps to expand the defensive and industrial capability in India. It has brought a lot of high-technology jobs, strengthening local industry as well. In Australia, we have invested in a new submarine-combat-systems laboratory in Mawson Lakes, and that is another opportunity to build capability there and partner with local industry. Many companies come into that laboratory, where we work on combat systems for new submarines and establish long‑term partnerships with those companies.

Even the Shangri‑La Dialogue is an example of a partnership, a place where collectively we can talk about the benefits of partnership, how we can work better together to address the challenges and the opportunities that we have in the Asia‑Pacific region.

Flexible solutions, inter-operability, partnership I believe are areas where industry can support your militaries and your nations as you address the tough choices that you have with limited budgets, and I look forward to a robust and productive discussion today. Thank you.

Dr Bastian Giegerich, Director of Defence and Military Analysis, IISS
Marillyn, thank you very much. All of those three core messages that you outlined will resonate here in the region and, I imagine, beyond. They go to the heart of how technology can help match assets to roles in this rather complex environment and I am sure people will want to come back to that point.

I will invite comments from the floor. If you would like to make a comment or ask a question, the session is on the record, which means that when you ask a question you are on the record as well, but I hope that does not deter anybody. I am looking forward to comments that either address a particular presentation or themes that emerged across the presentations.

Dr Liselotte Odgaard, Associate Professor, Institute for Strategy, Royal Danish Defence College
I would like to ask Major General Gong a question. You described very comprehensive military reforms in China, with everyone at all levels being reorganised, a changed balance between the services you require, new capabilities, etc. Those are very major reforms at a time when China also seems to face huge challenges that might bring new jobs and more jobs and challenges to the military. How do you ensure that the military remains effective during what looks like quite a long period of transition, because old capabilities presumably are broken down or lost as this reform goes along and you are building up new capabilities? How do you ensure that your military continues to be effective during this transition period?

Dr Bastian Giegerich, Director of Defence and Military Analysis, IISS
Thank you very much. I am going to collect a set of five comments and questions from the floor and then go back to the panel before we go into a second round.

Espen Barth Eide, Member of the Managing Board, World Economic Forum; UN Special Adviser on Cyprus; former Minister of Foreign Affairs and Defence, Norway
Thank you very much, Chair. A very interesting panel. I would like the panel to help us reflect on two issues which are of particular importance. First, some decades ago most technological innovation of military relevance happened in the public domain, in military research. Today, it is typically the other way around, that rather than spin‑off there is a spin‑in: much of the technological innovation happens in the civilian space and then it becomes militarised at a later stage. What does that mean for public–private relationships and cooperation in innovation across and even outside of the traditional military domain?

The other issue that we could reflect a little more upon is the fusion of different technologies that we are seeing now. Let me give one example. When artificial intelligence, autonomous movement, face recognition and big data are connected in new ways, we can have completely new forms of warfare that will really challenge the assumption of the current division in services, for instance, in the military. That creates enormous opportunity for war fighting, but also a massive challenge in the fact that this technology is probably going to be accessible to much more people than those who are formally in the military sector today. How do we think about security and defence where very advanced technology will be available to many more people than we would like to see have them?

Michael Coulter, President, International, DRS Technologies
I have a question for Philippe, if I may. It is good to see you again, sir, by the way. I appreciate your presentation; it is very clear that French thinking on strategy and priorities is very well thought through. As an observer of France, I have also noticed that the French government appears to think of the French defence-industrial base, which you spoke to, as a tool of national power, as a part of the team, if you will, to project strength not only in Europe but internationally. I wonder if you might just comment on lessons that the rest of us can take around the world about that relationship between the French government and French defence industry as we think about how collectively we can address challenges. Thanks.

Professor Dr Sven Biscop, Director, Europe in the World Programme, Egmont Royal Institute for International Relations
I am from the Egmont Institute, which is the Royal Institute for International Relations of Belgium, so I will ask a Belgian question to Philippe Errera, if I may. Could you just elaborate a little bit more on the place of European defence cooperation in your thinking, be it through the European Union or through clusters of countries? Are there areas, for example, in which you feel that the desired autonomy can only be achieved by a group of countries, perhaps now or in the future?

Brigadier (Retd) Benjamin Barry, Senior Fellow for Land Warfare, IISS
Thank you very much for some excellent presentations, but it is as if the last 15 years have not happened. We have been through two wars where the United States and many of its key partners and allies came close to strategic defeat, and one of the reasons was that they were slow to adapt. There are important lessons from this, including that military organisations can be inherently conservative, can be very reluctant to change course or bend themselves out of shape. Indeed, there is an excellent account of this in Robert Gates’s memoirs, in a chapter called ‘My War with the Pentagon’. It seems to me that there is a technological dimension to adaptation, but there is also a cultural one and particularly a leadership one. Perhaps I could ask the panel, do they agree with my proposition and, if so, how is this reflected in their planning and thinking?

Dr Bastian Giegerich, Director of Defence and Military Analysis, IISS
Thank you very much. Let us go back to the panel and address some of these issues. I propose that we start with the specific questions that were asked, so in a moment I will give Major General Gong the floor to speak about how to maintain effectiveness in the middle of reform. I will then turn to Philippe to answer the specific questions on France and then to Marillyn for some of the technology‑related questions, because there is a lot that industry has to contribute in terms of where innovation happens and who is driving it. I will then ask Major General Lim to engage with any of those matters and perhaps also address the question of leadership and adaptation and innovation and that set of challenges.

Major General (Retd) Gong Xianfu, Vice Chairman, China Institute for International Strategic Studies, China
Thank you very much for your question. Of course, I have already pointed out the goal of the reform is to build a strong army, and certainly included in that is to increase the combat effectiveness of the military. However, as you know, as with any country, the reform will be a long process. It is a gradual process that will take years. For example, the United States started some reforms more than 30 years ago and they say they still have not reached a satisfactory result. The reform that is happening in China is everywhere, which means that we have to do it in a very gradual and sure way. That is, on the one hand, we certainly will try our best to carry out the reform to implement these plans, but on the other hand, we still want to maintain a very effective armed forces, so I believe there will be no problem when we are undertaking the reform that will affect the effectiveness of the armed forces. Thank you.

Dr Bastian Giegerich, Director of Defence and Military Analysis, IISS
Thank you, Major General. It is also probably safe to say that it is a process that will take a number of years to implement and we will not see some of the results for quite some time.

Philippe Errera, Director‑General, International Relations and Strategy, Ministry of Defence, France
I will take the two more specific questions that were put to me. First, by Michael Coulter, in terms of relations between the French government and the French defence industry, I would say three things. First, maybe – and I really say maybe – one of the things that is specific to France, but I am not even sure that that is so much the case, is the fact that the government fully recognises that the defence-industrial base, and the defence-industrial and technology base, is linked to our prosperity and our economy. It is 4,000 companies, revenues of almost €15 billion and around 170,000 direct and indirect jobs, so the notion of the defence industry being potentially politically sensitive is not there as it may be in other countries, but that is not so specifically French. In addition, exports for the defence industry are good for France. In the reverse, in terms of the choices that are made by the clients of French industry, of course, first and foremost, it is the quality of what they are buying, the fact that it fits the specifications and that the costs are what they want, etc., but also that they are engaging in a relationship or a partnership with the French government. That is the strategic and political background and foundation to this.

I would give the example of something that made the news quite recently, which was the choice by Australia of DCNS as the company with which it wanted to move forward on its major C1000 programme. Of course, it is for the Australian government to say why it made this choice, but what we have heard and what was said publicly was that it was not just the platform but also the partnership with France, as an Indo‑Pacific power, the operational cooperation with our navy and the notion of a country that has both a very strong attachment and has given itself the means to have strategic autonomy in this very sensitive sector; also, a very close and almost intimate strategic relationship with the United States. So, it is both ways. In addition, of course, for the French defence forces themselves, and for our own needs, there is enough procurement to be able to help the French defence industry.

Turning to the question on European defence cooperation – and I liked very much the way you put the question – and areas where we can only have autonomy through cooperation, if I understood you correctly, I would say that is true and it is increasingly true in a time of constrained budgets, but the whole challenge is to choose the areas where this can be done. In other words, where we can afford, if I can use that term, to cooperate with partners and, therefore, be dependent on them and, at the same time, where we need to do so, because otherwise we would not be able to have a capability if we wanted to carry it out together. Here it is all a question of fine‑tuning, but I would give one example, which is not institutional, it is not the EU or within NATO, it is the European Air Transport Command. Here, essentially, a group of European countries, both members of the EU and not, pooled their strategic and tactical lift capabilities in a bank, where we can mutually lend each other flying hours when our planes are not being used. This gives us far more ability for lift than if we were to do it separately while, at the same time, allowing each of us the capability to use the means for national missions whenever needed. There is also, for example – this is just a project, but even as a project we would not have been able to carry it out alone – Franco‑British work on the future unmanned-combat air system; just given the budgets involved, this requires cooperation.

On the industrial side, there is the project called One MBDA, in other words, having the British and the French branches of MBDA work together seamlessly, which has a series of consequences on industrial choices and export controls. It allows the two countries to preserve key capabilities in this area that are essential to sovereignty in a way that we would not have been able to do separately.

Different governments will bring different answers to your question at different times, but if we want to use a rule of thumb, the smaller the number of countries with the higher the strategic convergence of their interests, the easier it is to cooperate on high‑end capabilities.

Dr Bastian Giegerich, Director of Defence and Military Analysis, IISS
The strategic proximity, which is not necessarily a function of geography, is probably a very important element of this.

Marillyn, the issues around innovation and where it happens, does it mean that the risk is going to increasingly shift to the private sector around technology and development? Arguably, possibly that has already happened, but what are your views on that? Diffusion of technology is another theme that seems quite important. Let us hear what your thoughts are on these issues.

Marillyn Hewson, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, Lockheed Martin Corporation; Member of the Council, IISS
If I understood your comments at the beginning, that everything is now happening in the commercial sector as opposed to in the military-industrial complex, I do not quite agree with that. I do not think it is quite that fallacy of composition that everything is that way. I would agree that there are new technologies, big-data analytics and things like that, that are driving a lot of change. However, if you just reflect on what is happening in defence innovation – and when I talk about that, if I understood you, it is the commercial non‑military versus defence – you look at the internet, you look at autonomy and unmanned and a lot of new materials that because of space exploration, because of needing to have lower weight, higher power, smaller size, nanotechnology and things of that nature, it really does begin in the defence industry and then ultimately goes into civil applications. When I think today of some of the new technologies that are becoming more important in the threat environment we face, whether it is directed energy or hypersonics or things like that, they are developed in the defence side. Ultimately, they do move over into the commercial side.

At the same time, it is important that both industries are growing, and we see in the US a move towards making sure that our defence department is looking at Silicon Valley and other places for new research and development. We, as the defence industry, are also – and have been for years – reaching in and partnering with companies in those environments. Since we know how to do business with our governments, we become the conduit for that, where we are drawing from small and medium‑sized businesses for their innovation and then bringing it together into our capability. In terms of public–private partnerships or defence industry with military, that has not changed a lot. It is just a matter of, as the technology grows, making sure that it is bidirectional; that you are pulling it into the defence capability but, at the same time, what we are doing with space and defence applications, ultimately move into commercial. I do not see it as one way or the other. We have to always be looking for where the innovation is, and the small and medium‑sized enterprises are where we find innovation. In fact, 60–70% of our sales are in the supply chain, and we aggregate them up into whole‑system solutions that we provide to our customers.

Dr Bastian Giegerich, Director of Defence and Military Analysis, IISS
Thank you very much. Major General Lim, please feel free to address any of the questions that were raised, but I was wondering whether you could pick up the point that Ben Barry made about the challenge of adaptation and the role of leadership in that. You pointed out some of the challenges you have as Chief of Defence Force and they fall into that basket that Ben alluded to, so it would be interesting to hear what your thoughts are.

Major General Perry Lim, Chief of Defence Force, Singapore
Mr Barry made a very good observation that militaries, by nature, are very resistant to change, so whenever I talk to my people and make certain suggestions and give ideas for them to make certain changes and the change does not happen, it is usually a case of mixed feelings for me. I do not know whether to be angry because they are just plain stubborn or lazy to change, or whether I should be happy because there is some conviction behind what they are doing currently. What we need to do, at least in the case of our Ministry of Defence and the Singapore Armed Forces, is to try to institutionalise a change agent. Therefore, apart from having my Joint Staff and Plans Department, we have an organisation called the Future Systems and Technology Directorate (FSTD). The Future Systems and Technology Architect does a report to both the CDF and our Permanent Secretary and his role, with his Directorate, is to come up with alternative concept operations as well as all the technological possibilities to offer to the armed forces as ideas and alternatives before we set on our path of doing what we want to do. As the CDF, in terms of leadership style, I have to take a fairly impartial approach, to consider all the opportunities and what we do, as a matter of process, is allow the FSTD to present their alternative ideas and concepts at the start of a meeting, not at the end. The nature of my organisation is that if a service chief wants to do anything, it takes no less than a CDF to stop them. And I usually have to make an intervention early in the process, before the staff officers develop their ideas and write their thick papers, because once that happens and you have not intervened the inertia to change is tremendous. In terms of leadership, therefore, it is important to understand the nature of your organisation, so that you can motivate change.

There was another question about advanced technology being in the hands of ordinary people and how that concerns the military. I would say that that concerns the military a lot. We are looking at disruptions in the cyber area that can do a lot of damage, and it can be a simple development, you do not need to have advanced technology. Right now, there is a proliferation of remotely controlled aircraft (RCA) and, as the military, we have had to think about how to defend against the threat of RCA coming externally as well as operated internally to disrupt some of our high‑level events that involve members of the public. Those are the areas where we have had to adapt, as the military, and those are the new threats that we have to face.

Dr Bastian Giegerich, Director of Defence and Military Analysis, IISS
Thank you very much. I invite more comments from the audience.

Professor Dr Reiner Pommerin, Professor Emeritus, Chair for Modern and Contemporary History, University of Dresden
I liked very much the question about the tool of national power. It is not only the tool. In the German case, it is not that people think that the arms industry is a tool of national power, but we do have, for example, at the moment, a group of members of parliament who say, ‘Why are we giving all our core technologies, all our skills, to France? Why are we sharing it with our partner, who may later use it, and what are we doing with our industry?’ That is the question.

I liked very much Ben Barry’s question, because he knows the military, as a brigadier, quite well. You cannot teach new tricks to old dogs, but how can we keep up with the speed of new technology in our educational process in the armed forces? That really is a big question. When you go on the general staff course you may be at the end of your 20s and that is very often the last schooling you ever do in your life. Some generals maybe go on a course or listen to some speakers at the IISS or other institutions, but it is not easy to explain new technologies to people who hardly sometimes can even handle a mobile phone. I am not joking, this is a serious issue, so my question to Major General Lim is: how can we make sure that we do something like lifelong learning in the military too? We should concentrate more on these educational processes.

Dzirhan Bin Mahadzir, Malaysia Correspondent, IHS Jane's Defence Weekly
My question is to Major General Perry Lim. You mentioned the declining manpower in the Singapore Armed Forces; how far is Singapore going in compensating this with the recruitment of women in the military, and what is the SAF road map for it?

Kelvin Wong Ka Weng, Weapons and Equipment Editor, IHS Jane's International Defence Review
Ms Hewson raised a great point earlier, in that many forces are expected to undertake a wider spectrum of missions, including homeland security and even assistance to civilian events such as natural disasters. My question is to the whole panel: how do these increasing requirements potentially drive or influence military-capability development, and how can industry also respond to these new challenges?

Kim Beazley, President, Institute of International Affairs, Australia
[Inaudible] So we are now in a totally different situation here. The question is: limited budgets, hard choices – what gets introduced, and what is the politics in the way in which you argue for it? That is very much bound up in where the United States now is internally, politically, in the arguments that it makes. So far, these capabilities are being discussed within the context of the individual merits of each of them as opposed to the collective capacity, politically, of the insertion of all them into American defence capabilities in particular. Given that these technologies are basically from nought to, say, ten years away from full deployment, the politics of them are immediately upon us. Can the American defence budget handle it?

I would argue yes, it can, because with the current usage of the American defence budget in the fight against ISIL, the Americans are doing that standing on their heads. The great thing about fighting ISIL is it does not cost much. The technologies are basically there for it. The Americans now have a core of special-forces personnel, some 60,000 of them, of which a few thousand are currently engaged in Iraq and Syria. They could do five times what they are currently doing before they even began to feel it. This is the focal point of the discussion of the next phase of the military balance globally, and I would be interested in what the panel thought about it.

Lieutenant General (Retd) P K Singh, Director, United Service Institution of India
My question is for the entire panel; it is a comment and a question. Until now, in the last 60‑odd years we have had linear growth in technology, in terms of, if you have an aircraft, you will have the Mark I version, Mark II, Mark V and it carries on like that, similarly with ships and all fields of the defence industry. Suddenly, though, there is a change. There is a change in the ways of fighting war. We are having asymmetrical wars. We may not fight traditional wars between countries. Wars will be of shorter durations and, as far as technologies are concerned, we are all moving into the realm of pilotless aircraft, UAVs, submersibles without manpower, we will have 3D printing. How will this impact the industry? How will this impact the military? What do you see are the changes in the next ten‑odd years that will come through? Obviously, smaller or other countries may not be able to catch up with these technologies, so we will start getting the older-generation technologies, which are now current, being passed on to those countries. How will all this affect the industry and the services? Thank you.

Dr Wenguang Shao, Consulting Senior Fellow for China and International Affairs, IISS; Senior Europe Adviser, Phoenix Satellite Television Holdings
My question is for Major General Gong from China. You mentioned the general PLA reform that probably will take a decade to finish, maybe more. Of course, that involves major restructuring of the services as well as the capabilities. You also mentioned the reduction of 300,000 troops, which obviously reflects the Chinese government’s desire to prioritise your needs and capabilities as well as the budget. Away from a lot of ground-warfare capabilities, you are now focusing on, for instance, missiles. One of the five services that is added or strengthened is going to be missiles and rockets and that will probably apply to all the five theatre commands that you mentioned. Then there is the reinforcement or strengthening of naval capabilities, including construction of carriers and missiles, nuclear submarines. In the face of limited budgets and hard choices, maybe you can shed more light on the thinking for the PLA reform in terms of the choices of those capabilities.

I also want to ask other panel members to contribute: what are the hard choices that you are now facing, for instance, away from traditional conventional capabilities, more towards new high‑end capabilities, such as what Secretary Carter mentioned, undersea drones or submarines, that sort of thing, in view of the new developments in the international and regional security situation? Thank you.

Dr Bastian Giegerich, Director of Defence and Military Analysis, IISS
Thank you very much. I am going to turn back to the panel now and am going to go in the order that we had originally presenting, so starting with Major General Lim. There were some points that were specific, again, on recruitment for your forces, but there were also a couple of general points that you probably want to address.

Major General Perry Lim, Chief of Defence Force, Singapore
There were two questions asked of me. One was from Professor Pommerin and has to do with lifelong learning, so thank you for that question. In the era of modern warfare, you need to have continual learning. It is not something that you can stop after your commanding staff course. What we try to do in SAF is to make sure that we have a good training and learning road map for our professional officers as well as NCOs, so milestone courses are the way. For example, for the officers, in the past, the commanding staff course used to be the pinnacle course and once you hit the rank of major, you attend the college and that is the end of your formal officer education. However, we have tried to move beyond that and have a senior commanders’ programme and other short programmes, executive courses to continually train our people and expose them to new ideas.

Having said that, lifelong learning is not something you can mandate; it is an attitude that you need to cultivate and nurture and we are trying to do this. In the context of the Singapore Armed Forces, whereby we run a national-service system, the biggest plus for this, apart from giving us access to all the talent that we have in the country, is that running a national-service system keeps us very sharp. We cannot afford to have 18‑year‑olds, having gone through 12 years of education in our schools and having experienced the latest in the education pedagogy’s approaches and technology, come into the army, mostly, and see a Stone Age SAF. In a sense, we have been compelled to transform our training and learning approaches and we have been doing that in a very concerted way, trying to apply technology in the process. It is quite a long‑term effort, but our experience is that it is not just about infusing technology, not just about putting wireless in cams and giving every soldier a laptop or an iPad. It is about curriculum transformation. First, you need to transform your curriculum in a way that can be delivered based on a modern approach. We have adopted a very disciplined approach, in that if you cannot provide proof that you have made fundamental changes to your curriculum we will not give you the budget to buy laptops, put in wireless and other technology.

That is what we have been trying to do. It is a work in progress and we have achieved some small successes in our basic military training as well as in our junior command schools, so that they do not get a big culture shock the day they enlist for the army. In a sense, national service has kept our training and learning system sharp, because we have been compelled to transform.

On the second topic, of the recruitment of women, if you are talking about recruitment of women for a regular career in the armed forces, for the Singapore Armed Forces – we are not happy with our current levels. Regular servicewomen only comprise 7% of our entire regular force and obviously there is room to grow, so we are making concerted efforts to recruit women. Our experience with recruiting women is not just about organising women‑only recruitment seminars; you need to make sure that your approach is right. You get servicewomen to talk to prospective women candidates; you do not flood the place with a lot of men, because sometimes you scare them away. That has been our experience, but we are trying to increase the proportion of regular servicewomen to around 15% as a start. As the CDF, this is something that I have to give my personal attention to for things to move.

If you are asking the question in the context of national service and whether we are going to introduce national service for girls in Singapore, not at this point in time. If you look at conscript or national-service systems around the world, at the risk of being immodest, the reason why Singapore is able to uphold the national-service system is because we stick very strictly to three principles. One is the principle of equality, meaning it should not be a case of fair or unfair. The second is the principle of universality, meaning once we have a national-service system we make sure that we enlist every male Singaporean, we do not make any exceptions. Everyone has to be enlisted. The only exception we make is for cases of severe medical conditions, otherwise every Singaporean male is enlisted, so there is no question of fair or unfair. Regardless of your family background you are enlisted. If we were to open national service to women, we would have to apply the same principle of universality and so, from a 20,000 inflow, overnight I would get 40,000 and, frankly, the Singapore Armed Forces cannot deal with that number. Once you have excess numbers, the chances are they will not be employed meaningfully. That is the dilemma that we face, so I always say that I will leave it to the next CDF to think about it.

Dr Bastian Giegerich, Director of Defence and Military Analysis, IISS
Very good, thank you very much. Major General Gong, there was a question on whether China feels that it even has to make these hard choices, if I understood correctly, and, if so, what some of these choices might be.

Major General (Retd) Gong Xianfu, Vice Chairman, China Institute for International Strategic Studies, China
In my presentation, I could not speak too much because of the time constraint, but for the Chinese military the goal of reform is to make a strong army, which means lean and more effective than before. For this, certainly the Chinese government has announced that it will reduce the number by 300,000 in the next few years and, at the same time, of course, we have to adjust the proportion of the different services and their arms. For example, traditionally China has a big armed forces that mainly comprises the army as the major component. Comparatively speaking, the air force and the navy have always been much smaller than the army. However, if we look at other countries, at the major powers in the world, generally speaking, their proportions of the different services are quite balanced. In this case, from reality, we certainly have to adjust these proportions of the different services and their arms.

Another important thing, which of course you will understand, is that we have growing strategic interests, as I have mentioned. As a major country, we have expanding overseas interests. For example, we have to take care of the security of energy resources, the strategic sea lanes of communication and personnel assets abroad. For all these things we should have the capabilities of not only offshore water defence, but we also have to carry out more missions.

Another very important thing is that, as a major power, we have more international responsibilities. These days, Chinese armed forces are engaged in international peacekeeping, escort missions, and we have taken part in different international rescue operations and disaster relief and all these things. For these kinds of missions, we should have a sufficient navy to deal with these issues.

This is why certainly we have to make these kinds of choices and we have learned from our past experiences, but we have also to look at the military revolution in the world and at what other countries are doing and maybe we can learn something for our benefit. That is why this change will certainly take place in China. Thank you.

Dr Bastian Giegerich, Director of Defence and Military Analysis, IISS
Thank you very much for that answer. Some of the developments, like the Chinese presence in Djibouti, are signs of that growing international footprint, and the need to think about logistics, supply and so on that in the past probably presented themselves in a very different light for China.

Philippe, one of the questions for you was: when France and Germany do something together in the defence industry, why does France always win? I think that was what Reiner was getting at. There was also a couple of other broader themes with regards to how new security challenges affect requirements. I wonder whether you wanted to say something about that whole area around anticipation knowledge, which I know has been very prominent in French thinking, but please choose your themes.

Philippe Errera, Director‑General, International Relations and Strategy, Ministry of Defence, France
Sure, I will take a crack at those two. Just to reassure you, if it had been a Frenchman asking the question, he would have asked why it is always in Germany’s benefit. The fact that we continue to cooperate means that there is something in it for both of us, which is what makes this sustainable beyond the political impetus and that is what is important.

The question on the increasing number of missions and challenges with a finite set of forces is one that we are confronted with every day and there is no single answer, but what we have found, both in terms of the capabilities and of the men, is two or three things. One, we try as much as possible, probably because we do have limited defence budgets, to ask industry to build for the French forces platforms that are multi‑role from the beginning. If you take the Rafale, for example, it is an air-superiority fighter, it can do close air support, it is also the fighter for the airborne component of our nuclear deterrent and, in a few years, it will be the only fighter we have in our armed forces, so it can carry out all of these missions. Our attack submarines, especially the next-generation Barracuda submarines, will be able to contribute to the nuclear-deterrent mission, but also special-forces insertion, intelligence capability, land-attack cruise missiles. If you have few platforms, you want them to be able to do a lot from the outset.

In addition, we have not always succeeded but we have tried to give, within our own system, more room for imagination. Institutions as such are conservative, and military institutions – and I hope I will not offend anybody – by construct, in some ways, have a tendency to be conservative and, therefore, you need to inject change, but individuals in military institutions can often come up with great ideas. Let me give just two examples. Whether it was the fault of industry or the defence establishment or whatever, France is lacking in medium‑altitude long‑endurance (MALE) UAVs, the equivalent of the Reaper or others. In the Sahel region, which is as big as all of Europe, we have had a high requirement for these even before the war in Mali, as early as 2008, 2009, for example, when we had nationals taken hostage. What we did is, we took our maritime-patrol aircraft, which had been built and conceived to hunt Soviet submarines during the Cold War, and we used them in an innovative way, thanks to their endurance and their sensor suites, to hunt jihadists in the desert, and this was very effective. This was simply one person who said, ‘Why do we not try this?’

During the war in Libya, in 2011, we found out that many of the missions that should have been successful in terms of dropping ordnance we had to cancel, simply because the risk of collateral damage was too high in urban environments. Essentially, it meant that the weapons systems we had were not small enough in terms of the yield. Somebody said, ‘Why do we not try substituting some of the warheads with concrete and just using the kinetic effect?’, and this was something that was done successfully. I do not want to exaggerate the importance of this kind of solution, but if you empower individuals to try to come up with new ideas it can sometimes work.

Having talked about the systems, I wanted to add one thing in terms of the challenges as far as the men are concerned. We now have a situation where French troops are carrying out homeland-defence missions in a very conventional sense and carrying out high‑end combat operations. It was a question, but the answer that was given was very deliberate. The answer that was given was to say it is the same troops. We do not want two land forces. We do not want one land force that is for homeland defence and one that is for overseas intervention. This was a political choice, but also a choice in terms of the kinds of forces we wanted. Of course, that has a toll on the operational tempo, on training rhythms, on deployments, but it was a choice.

Lastly, in Europe, we have been confronted since the end of the Cold War with all of the challenges linked to decline – declining numbers of our armed forces, declining defence budgets. Now we are increasingly – and this is good news – having to deal with the challenges of growth. Growth in and of itself is positive, but it does not solve all the issues, and we are increasingly having to think about this in new ways that we have not been used to thinking about, whether it is in terms of manpower – recruitment, training and so on – or in terms of the capability investments we now need to make. This is one of the areas where, between Europeans, we can pool more thinking together. In Asia, you have been dealing with the challenges of growth and not of decline, as far as defence budgets are concerned. In Europe, it is different.

Dr Bastian Giegerich, Director of Defence and Military Analysis, IISS
Thank you for those very interesting examples.

Marillyn, I cannot quite resist asking you to say a few words on the third offset, if you do not mind, and also, engaged with that, another theme to do with historically thinking about technology in a linear way and now thinking much more in disruptive terms and a much faster pace. That must matter to Lockheed quite a bit, and I wonder what your thoughts are.

Marillyn Hewson, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, Lockheed Martin Corporation; Member of the Council, IISS
Sure, thank you for that question. I guess I would reflect on a few things that Philippe said earlier that are important. As we talk about the defence industry or industries’ support, whether it is in France, the US or any one of your countries, the partnership around national security is critically important, but it is also economic growth, with the high-tech jobs, with the innovation that comes with that, with the exports. They are inextricably aligned, economic security and national security, and so just keeping that recognition in front of us around where industry plays is very important. In fact, as we talk about things like the third offset – and I appreciate Ambassador Beazley’s comments around that – the idea that you really need to take a leap forward to get an advantage over your adversaries, and we have had a couple of offsets to their capability in the past and now this third offset, whereas we mentioned precision weapons and stealth and things like that are the past, now what is it? Much of it in the third offset is the human–machine interface; it is a lot of the unmanned and autonomy, the directed energy and things of that nature, speed. How does industry get engaged in that? The question was, how do you handle that? How do you get your budgets aligned around that, etc.?

It starts, first of all, from the communication with industry, or among us: what is it we are trying to achieve? What are those capabilities that you have to have? Then it is resourcing them. If you do not put the R&D budget around it – and so, in the US, there has been budget put around that, in the most recent president’s budget request, around upping the research-and-development budget in order to focus on that, because that then drives where the resources in industry as well as in the government go. However, it has to be, first off, communication: what is it we are trying to accomplish? What are the initiatives? What are the threats? How are you going to address that, industry and government? Then get the R&D expenditure around it, incentivise industry to spend money, prioritise their dollars around that and open the aperture to both defence and commercial. We talked earlier about opening the aperture to where is the innovation, where do you bring that innovation in. For each one of our companies, the technology is our lifeblood. That is how we create value for our customers, for our investors and others, and so we have to be aligned with where our customers are going or we are going to fail, we will not continue to survive as an industry.

The point is that it is communication on what it is we are trying to achieve and resourcing it and then you will see industry line up and match those resources, because that is really the economic answer. That is the incentive to continue to grow in those areas.

Dr Bastian Giegerich, Director of Defence and Military Analysis, IISS
Thank you very much. I have really enjoyed this session. It was a great pleasure to listen to all the interventions, and thank you all for the comments from the floor as well. It has made for a very rich discussion.

I started one minute early and I will close one minute early, but before we break, I would like us all to thank our fantastic speakers for a very engaging session. Thank you very much. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. I thought it was fascinating. Thank you.

The Security Challenges of Irregular Migration

As Delivered

Sir John Jenkins, Executive Director, IISS–Middle EastGood afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you very much for joining us at this first special session on the Security Challenges of Irregular Migration. And I am very pleased to say I have a very distinguished panel of speakers. From my right, Air Chief Marshal Agus Supriatna from Indonesia, the Chief of Staff of the Indonesian Air Force; Senior Colonel Xu Qiyu, who is the Deputy Director of Strategic Research Institute, the National Defense University, People’s Liberation Army in China; Gunnar Wiegand, who is the Managing Director for Asia and the Pacific in the European External Action Service (EEAS); and Peter Jennings, who is the Executive Director of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute.

My name is John Jenkins. I am actually by training, and historically by preference – though I wonder sometimes – a Middle East expert. And I am currently the Executive Director of IISS–Middle East, based in Manama in Bahrain, although in a previous incarnation I was a British diplomat before, ambassador in many Arab countries; also ambassador in Burma, Myanmar, and at one point head of chancellery in Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia.

When I was in Malaysia – this was something like 25 years ago – we had the crisis of the Vietnamese boat people, which many of you will remember. And of course, in Myanmar, Burma, we have the issue of the Rohingya. The issue of irregular migration, of course, is particularly associated these days with the Middle East, particularly the massive flows of migrants, refugees coming out of or through Syria, Iraq, Libya, many into Europe, but actually equally significant amounts into the neighbouring countries – Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and so forth.

And actually, in the Middle East – this is by my count – I think, the sixth major refugee migrant crisis since 1948. And all this imposes massive costs, and of course we are seeing the massive strain this imposes at the moment on the European Union in terms of both political and social cohesion. So this is a huge regional but also global challenge in different areas of the world.

We have one and a half hours for this discussion. I will ask my four panellists to speak in order from the right. And then we will have, I hope, a lively and productive discussion among ourselves. So I invite all of you to contribute and to ask questions or to give your comments on this. So I will now shut up and I will invite our first speaker, Air Chief Marshal Supriatna, to start. Air Chief Marshal.

Air Chief Marshal Agus Supriatna, Chief of Staff, Indonesian Air Force, Indonesia
My dear colleagues, senior military dignitaries, forum session participants, ladies and gentlemen, first of all, may I extend my heartiest gratitude to Dr John Chipman, Director-General and Chief Executive of IISS, for your kind invitation for me to take part and bring about a perspective to this discussion regarding the security challenges of irregular migration. Thank you also to Sir John Jenkins, Executive Director IISS–Middle East, for chairing this special session.

I am speaking on behalf of the commander-in-chief of Indonesian Armed Forces as he regretfully could not attend this prestigious event.

Ladies and gentlemen, Indonesia, with its geographical position, is vulnerable to be a transit country for so many irregular immigrants who are political asylum seekers trying to go to Australia. These asylum seekers enter Indonesian territory through various Indonesian waters, as all of you know,Indonesia has a very long coastline. And also the UNHCR office in Jakarta has noted that at the end of 2015, the number of immigrants has reached 7,445 persons.

Dear forum participants, in terms of international laws, Indonesia has not yet adopted the 1951 Geneva Convention and the 1967 Supplementary Protocol regarding the protection for illegal immigrants. As a result, Indonesia cannot expel and extradite any illegal immigrants. Furthermore, in conjunction with the regulations of Convention against Torture, Paragraph 3, it is clearly stated that no single country is allowed to expel, return or extradite any immigrant to another country if there is a strong reason that the life of the immigrant is in danger.

Viewed from the background of the arrival of illegal immigrants, it has been noted as part of well-organised crimes. To cope with such phenomenon, Indonesia has taken some legal step, among others, by ratifying the 2000 UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime with the low number 15 2009. Furthermore, in conjunction with the UNHCR main mission, the government of Indonesia can provide protection to any asylum seeker in Indonesia, guarantee them to receive UNHCR service and treatment and a temporary permit to stay in Indonesia.

Dear forum participants, realising that the issue of people smuggling poses a serious threat, Indonesia continues to carry out various multilateral cooperation with many other foreign governments or international agencies. One of the comprehensive efforts carried out by Indonesia is by enhancing the early-detection capability of local community, governmental and non-governmental agencies in the coastal areas.

Another important step is coordinated patrol activity with the Indonesian Armed Forces and some other armed forces. The cooperation is also conducted between the immigration offices with various non-governmental organisations, such as International Organization for Migration (IOM) and UNHCR.

That is my perspective in this forum session. I strongly hope it can give all participants positive input on how to cope with the issue of irregular immigrants. Thank you.

Sir John Jenkins, Executive Director, IISS–Middle East
Thank you very much, sir.

Senior Colonel Xu Qiyu, Deputy Director, Strategic Research Institute, National Defense University, People's Liberation Army, China
Good afternoon, everyone. It seems I only have five minutes. So I will just go directly to my point.

When the refugee crisis emerges alongside the borders of EU, I think irregular migration also attracts increasing attention in many countries. People are debating about this real impact on the domestic society and the national security of the countries in which the irregular migrants move. So irregular migration is a serious problem for many countries. According to the International Organization of Migration, most states in the world lack the capacity to effectively manage the international mobility of persons today, not to mention respond to new dynamics.

So United States, the EU and I think many Southeast Asian countries, like Indonesia, all face such problems, sometimes very serious problems. And with regard to China, China traditionally was a migrant-sending country or a source country. But nowadays, with the development of China’s economy, China is also transforming from a migrant-sending country to a migrant-destiny country. The problem of irregular migration is also emerging with an unprecedented pace.

And irregular migration leads to many problems. In terms of security, it imposes a series of challenges from humanitarian crisis to potential terrorist attack. In the case of EU from 1988–2013, nearly 20,000 people have died on the external borders of the EU. And in 2014, the number of victims rose beyond 3,500. And in Asia-Pacific, humanitarian crises were reported when thousands of migrants tried to smuggle into Southeast Asian countries by sea.

In most cases, irregular migrants are facilitated by smugglers. Large number of those migrants implies that rampant criminal business, like human trafficking, money laundering and other organised crime. Such activities erode the border control and make terrorists or armed criminals easier to sneak into other countries. In this sense, I think that larger magnitudes of illegal migration will increase the potential threat of terrorist attack almost inevitably.

So, to deal with the irregular migration is of too much political implication. In quite a few countries, simplistic ideas are flourishing, but the reality is much more difficult than that. To the respective countries, constant effort to improve the efficacy of border insecurity may be the top priority. To the international community, successful control of irregular migration requires more effective coordination among countries.

First and foremost, international community has to respond to the immediate humanitarian crisis that intertwined with irregular migration. Search-and-rescue capacity in some maritime areas will be crucial in this respect. Secondly, the cooperation between law-enforcement agencies has to be improved in crackdown on criminal organisations involved in human trafficking. The Chinese government has made effort with some neighbouring countries in this respect. Such cooperation has achieved a considerable success in recent years. Moreover, rules and regulations of managing and repatriating irregular migrants have to be refined and streamlined in order to facilitate the cooperation between governments.

And last but not least, in addition to these reactive approaches, the international community should equally pay attention to the proactive approaches, that is, identifying the threat in early stages and taking effort to mitigate the main cause of irregular migration. Stabilising the regional security situation by joint efforts, supporting the economy of particular regions would be very crucial to achieve such a goal. So I will end there. Thank you.

Sir John Jenkins, Executive Director, IISS–Middle East
Thank you very much, Colonel Xu. Mr Wiegand.

Gunnar Wiegand, Managing Director, Asia and the Pacific, European External Action Service, EU
Thank you very much to provide here overview on the challenge and on the answers found in these troubled times to the issue number one of domestic concern for the EU. You said it was the sixth major refugee crisis since the end of the Second World War, I guess. In fact, the world in total is estimated to have to deal with the largest global displacement since Second World War, estimated at 60 million displaced persons. The flows in Europe are the most visible, but it is by no means exceptional because we have flows in many other parts of the world, and we have people who are, for a long time, displaced internally or are refugees in neighbouring countries.

This is, in particular, the case for Africa, but also for the Middle East and for, of course, parts of countries which are neighbouring the Middle East but are considered to be Asian. Therefore, we have other parts of the world which are at least as affected as Europe is affected by irregular migratory flows. The impact of mass migration in or between regions, therefore, has a wider geopolitical impact. Managing migration is a common and is a long-term challenge, where we have joint interests, Asians, Europeans, Africans, Americans. Therefore it is a global challenge which requires global solutions.

To give a sense of the scale of the challenge, a few numbers. The numbers of refugees and migrants coming into Europe currently are staggering and totally unprecedented. They mostly escape wars and conflicts in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, or flee mass human-rights abuses, like in Eritrea, or many simply look for new lives, many from Africa in particular.

More than 1.3m applied for asylum in the EU in 2015, of which 1m in Germany alone. The EU’s border agency, Frontex, has calculated that a total of 1.8m irregulars entered the EU last year. The journey is dangerous. IOM estimates that 3,800 people died in 2015 in trying to reach Europe. We have sometimes staggering figures of people rescued on sea. Last week alone, the Italian Navy rescued 13,000 people.

What is crucial is we should expect this not to be a temporary phenomenon, but that migratory irregular flows continue. Migration is a reality that we need to manage. To a certain degree, Europe has become victim of its own success, a highly prosperous market economy which functions, systems with rule of law, democracy with guaranteed rights for individuals. People wish to escape from more troubled parts of the world.

At the same time, this is a genuine test for the EU system. The EU has not been prepared in many ways to deal with this and therefore fast operation solutions were difficult to obtain in the absence of clear common rules and systems. So we do not pretend in any way this is an easy challenge to deal with. But as usual in crisis, EU pulls together and finds ways on how to deal with this. It may look messy, it may look like we are divided, but in the end, there are many ways on how we respond and respond effectively. We had to take unprecedented steps in response to an unprecedented challenge, both internally and externally. The main thrust is to combine an immediate response to the crisis situation in the Mediterranean with longer-term steps to manage migration and all its aspects.

The four key elements are: first, to reduce incentives for irregular migration and to disrupt the business model of smuggling networks; secondly, to save lives and secure EU external borders, and there are now efforts under way towards a European border-guard system; thirdly, to have a strong common asylum policy, ensuring full and coherent implementation of the common European asylum system with concrete operation steps, such as common identification, fingerprinting; fourthly, to have a new policy on legal migration. Far too long, far too many member states had not seen that we need to have a common policy which allows for migrants to qualify and to go into a legal system of immigration into Europe. Europe has demographic decline. Europe needs immigrants, and there are actions such as reviewing the blue-card scheme and policies to ease remittances.

The EU is doing a lot in terms of the security dimension, which very often goes together with the humanitarian dimension. The most known is Operation Sophia. And on military aspects – I am pleased that our chair of the Military Committee of the EU is with us, General Kostarakos – this is to disrupt the business model of human smugglers and to save people from what could easily become certain death. There have been many smugglers apprehended, many boats neutralised, many lives saved.

As the principal root cause of mass migration lies, however, in conflict, in poor governance, in human-rights abuses, it is worth bearing in mind that the EU remains the world’s largest development humanitarian actor. This leads us to money. There has not been less than €6 billion channelled towards the Syria conflict origin and dealing with the situation there and around it. There is substantial support to Jordan and Lebanon. There has been the Valletta Summit on migration, with EU and African countries committing €1.8bn for an emergency trust fund for Africa. There are new efforts under way with regard to Libya and to help a united Libyan government. And, of course, there is the famous EU–Turkey deal which has been so much commented upon in March of this year. Turkey agreed to take back all irregular migrants in exchange for enhanced EU financial support. The €3bn are well known and there may be more to come. This helps to interrupt the flows through the transit country, Turkey.

On top of this, we need to find possibilities to have UN-approved, UN-agreed global rules in dealing with such situations. There will be the upcoming UNGA summit on large movements of refugees and migrants in September, where we believe it provides a good opportunity to establish globally agreed framework for actions. We want to have them based on four key principles: firstly, shared responsibility between countries of origin, transit and destination; secondly, need to address root causes of human mobility and displacement; thirdly, to address short-, medium- and long-term dimensions, therefore have a comprehensive approach; and fourthly, promote international protection and respect for the 1951 Geneva Convention and the Supplementary Protocol. We hope that the G20 Summit in China in September will help to advance in this direction and to recognise migration not as a temporary and regional phenomenon, but as a global challenge for all of us.

And to conclude, I would like to underline that we are working with a number of Asian partners as well in coping with the challenges, in particular with Afghanistan, with Pakistan, with Bangladesh. We are applying the readmission agreement, or we are agreeing on ways to ensure that there is return readmission for those who do not obtain the permission to stay in our countries on the basis of asylum or temporary refugee status. There must be the possibility to return people. And we work also with ASEAN through the EU–ASEAN Migration and Border Management Programme implemented by Interpol. Thank you very much.

Sir John Jenkins, Executive Director, IISS–Middle East
Thank you very much.

Peter Jennings, Executive Director, Australian Strategic Policy Institute
Thanks, Sir John. And my thanks to John Chipman and the team at IISS for the invitation to speak at this gathering. By way of preface, I would like to note that my institute, the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, is partially funded by the Australian government, but we are fully independent in terms of research. So my remarks here reflect my personal views only.

Now, I am sure many people here would know that Australia has adopted tough policies with regard to irregular migration, especially as they relate to individuals who seek to come to Australia via unauthorised boat arrivals. From 2008–2013, as a result of weakening of tough policies, more than 800 boats arrived at or were intercepted on their way to Australia, carrying more than 50,000 individuals. And it is estimated that during that time, at least 1,200 people lost their lives at sea.

With the election of the government led by Tony Abbott in September 2013, a series of policy changes have since brought this flow to zero. And these changes included factors such as turning boats back at sea; removing individuals from unseaworthy boats and returning them to Indonesian ports in seaworthy vessels, or to Sri Lanka, as soon as possible by air; ensuring that no unauthorised arrivals by boat are held and processed for refugee status at Australian mainland locations; and maintaining offshore processing centres on the islands of Nauru and on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea.

We have also maintained that individuals that have been found suitable for resettlement as refugees that have arrived by boat would not be allowed to settle in Australia but must be found resettlement in a third country. And the effect of that has been to leave some individuals on Nauru and Manus islands for very long periods, years in some cases, which was never the intention of the policy.

Now, these approaches have been criticised in some circles, both internationally and domestically. Internationally, the New York Times has been particularly critical, labelling the Australian policy as brutal and saying in an editorial last September that the policies were, and here I am quoting, ‘inhumane, of dubious legality and strikingly at odds with the country’s tradition of welcoming people fleeing persecution and war’.

Internally, the policy has made for a bruising political debate, not least going into our election, which is to be held on 2 July. Now, while the major political parties claim broad bipartisanship on what is termed offshore processing, the opposition Labor Party is critical of the government’s failure to find third-country settlement options. And there is a substantial minority within the Labor Party which clearly does not support the offshore processing policy. The Greens are totally opposed and may pick up some increasing parliamentary numbers at the election.

Now, none of this criticism has been muted by otherwise generous Australian government policies to take increased numbers of refugees, including from Syria.

Now, against these concerns about the position of individuals that find themselves caught at the processing centres, the reality is that the policy has worked. There have now been only two boat arrivals in the last two years. The flow of illegal migrants has stopped, as has the drownings at sea. So going forward, the questions are, what can we do from here? There is a need for Australia and regional countries to work to strengthen the Bali Process, which is the region’s pre-eminent forum for engagement on irregular migration, people smuggling and trafficking. I think there is also significant scope for us to look at increased military-to-military, police, intelligence and border-security agency cooperation on irregular migration.

To take a specific example, I think there are now improving prospects for Australia and Indonesia to cooperate on a range of maritime-security matters between our two countries. And things that might fall into that category would include joint patrolling, Australia supporting the Indonesian Navy and Air Force in their capacity-building efforts, and greater sharing of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance information.

Now, I would say that the movement of foreign fighters, both to the Middle East and then returning in some cases to countries in Southeast Asia, adds a new dimension to managing illegal people movements. It puts a need on the premium of improving intelligence cooperation between countries in the region as well as aligning border-control processes and making sure these work.

Overall, although this is a problem which Australia has been able to halt, the broader picture is for building pressure in the region, with the added dimension of terrorism complicating national responses. It remains to be seen how sustainable the Australian approach is against a problem which is largely driven by pressures in the Middle East and North Africa, well out of our control.

In sum, ladies and gentlemen, I think these policy settings will continue to present a difficult, both domestic and international, political problem for Australia. Thank you.

Sir John Jenkins, Executive Director, IISS–Middle East
Peter, thank you very much. Thank you very much to all the panellists as well. Now I am going to open this up for discussion. And I am going to take, I hope, a number of questions at the same time. If you have specific questions, I should say, you wish to address to Air Chief Marshal Supriatna, then do so early because the Air Chief Marshal has to catch a flight at around 16.00. So he will not be with us for the last half an hour. So I am sure there will be a lively discussion.

Perhaps I should make some comments myself. I think I mentioned six great refugee crises in the Middle East, or migrant crises in the Middle East. It depends how you count them. It was the 1948 Palestinian refugee crisis, the 1967 Palestinian refugee crisis, the 1991 expulsion of Palestinians from Kuwait, the 2003 exodus of Iraqis from Iraq – actually there were two in Iraq, which is why I count six – and now, of course, the Syrian crisis.

And I counted actually, as I was listening to our panellists, six things globally that need to be done. One is humanitarian assistance, one is stabilisation, one is economic development, one is CT cooperation, one is border controls and one, which I think was mentioned – if it was not, it should have been – is reintegration of migrants, because when I think about Syria – and I have forgotten exactly how many displaced migrants and refugees had been from Syria, it is something like 6 million – many of those who have left are the most motivated, educated and financially stable, of course, of Syrians. And if we think about the other refugee crisis in the Middle East, in particular, which is what I know, very few of these refugees actually ever went home. And I do wonder, with Syria, how many of these are going to go home.

But these six things – and I look back at the record, certainly in the Middle East, and I have got to say it is – how do I put it? – patchy. The UN General Assembly Resolution on the Palestinians, 194, was passed on 11 December 1948 and is still to be implemented in any meaningful way. And that is – what? – 66 years ago. So I wonder.

So, we heard about the need for global responses, we heard about a national response and we heard about an EU response to these issues. And for me, there are all sorts of questions about global cohesion, the ability of the international community to come together in a meaningful way on this issue, the possibility of regional solutions and the desirability of national solutions. One thing that is clear to me is that this is not going away. The volume of people who are refugees, displaced or migrants, seems to me, as a non-expert on this matter, only to be growing.

So I open this for questions.

General Mikhail Kostarakos, Chairman, European Union Military Committee, EU
Thank you very much. I would like to add only two points to what Ambassador Wiegand said about the EU. I think it will be useful about the long-term dimension we mentioned before, because in the EU, besides all the measures reported and also agreed by everyone on the table, the biometrics, the controls, the law enforcement and all this, we are trying to have an additional policy, a long-term policy. It is called ‘comprehensive approach’ and is the jewel in the crown for us, which means that we are trying to extend our safe and secure area into some thousand kilometres away deep into, let us say, Africa, in order to provide security there. And not to provide security with troops, but by training the people there to have security for their own people and be law enforcement and army of their own country, because after that, if we are successful, this will bring for them investment and growth and development and they will stay home.

So this is the whole idea, because as you understand, there is no way to stop them the moment they will reach your door, they will knock your door, as it happens now. We have not been proactive in the last ten, 15 years. That is why now, at the physical borders of the EU, we have the immigrants, because when you are a young 20-year-old person in the middle of Africa, with the life expectancy of 37 years old and GDP of $300 and the satellite TV, and you see that somewhere, in another place, other people live longer, live better and they have more opportunities than you have, eventually you will try to migrate to some better places for better fate.

And then you cannot stop this. You will stop them, and who will stop them? Only with this long-term dimension. This is a statement – we are setting conditions for this, and I think this is something very important we are doing. It is very strange for this to be reported by the military – because I am the chairman of the EU Military Committee – but this is the only way we need to do it. And this is an arc in Africa, but also the same happens in Afghanistan because there we promote stability. And as [the] ambassador said, we are giving also money for the moment, a huge amount of money in Syria. And when this will be settled, I am sure that EU will intervene through comprehensive approach to provide this and stop illegal immigration. This was the statement.

The question I wanted to make, and then I am expecting your answers, your opinion, is that probably the refugee crisis in Europe will be settled. Within one year or two years or three years, we will find the solution. Somehow we will control it. The thing that will remain will be the race of xenophobic parties, ultra-nationalist, who are hating the neighbours, who want to go back to the nineteenth or eighteenth century to do all these things. And this probably will destroy all our efforts to come closer, will destroy efforts like here, like this security summit, when people, instead of fighting, are sitting around the table and discuss the security issues.

So I am afraid that in a few years we will settle somehow or we will come to terms with this refugee crisis, but the political implications in our national political scenes will be very important. And I would like to have your comments on that. Thank you. 

Dr Evi Fitriani, Head, International Relations Department, Faculty of Social and Political Sciences, Universitas Indonesia
Thank you, Chair. Evi Fitriani from University of Indonesia. Three questions for three speakers. First is for Agus Supriatna. We understand that irregular immigrants consist of not only illegal immigrants, but also the real asylum seekers. And for Indonesia there is another category, the one who came as a legal visitor to Indonesia, then throw out all the documents and become illegal immigrants to Australia. So there are different kinds of migration. My question is how Indonesian government distinguish those kinds of immigrants? Because you need a different approach to them. I mean, the criminals cannot be put in the same category with the real asylum seekers. So what mechanism Indonesian government use to separate or distinguish those categories?

The second for Ambassador Wiegand from EU. I understand that you have been facing very difficult situation with migration. However, you have always been very proud to be a normative power of the world. My question is, how will EU treat member countries like Hungary that erect the wall to prevent migration to come into its country and then go to the EU? Because it is very much against the common policy of the EU as an institution.

The last one is for Mr Jennings. I understand Australia have a very tough policy to the irregular migrants. But I also understand that Australia is a party to the UN Refugee Convention. So my question is – especially because of your policy to bribe some of Indonesian fisherman and also the refugees with money for them to go back to Indonesia. Not only that, Australian coast guard also pass Indonesian waters several times in order to push those boats to Indonesia. And this has created a lot of problem bilaterally between Indonesia and Australia. My question is, how long will Australia keep that policy, because it is really against the goodwill of Australia as good neighbours for Indonesia and also the decision made in the Bali Process. Thank you very much.  

Dr Fen Hampson, Director, Global Security and Politics, Centre for International Governance Innovation
Fen Hampson from CG in Waterloo, Canada. A question about burden sharing – and any of the panellists can take it up. Do we need better mechanisms, systems of burden sharing when it comes to, particularly, financing to deal with refugees? Let me give you some figures. Sixty per cent of the world’s refugees are hosted by ten states in the global south. Ten donors account for 79% of all financial contributions to the UNHCR; that was in 2015. And three states account for 83% of global refugee-settlement efforts. That suggests tremendous inequities in the international system. And as we look to the fall, should we be thinking about an additional protocol that will share the burdens more equally in the form of assessed contributions as opposed to voluntary contributions, particularly to institutions like UNHCR?

Jean-Marie Guehenno, President, International Crisis Group
Jean-Marie Guehenno, President of International Crisis Group and, before that, former Head of Peacekeeping at the UN. I think we all recognise that a refugee policy that works in the long term is not just a policy that makes destination countries inaccessible, but a policy that addresses, as I think Mr Wiegand says, the root causes of refugee flows, and among them conflict. We see that some 50% of refugees come from three countries. They come from Afghanistan, from Syria and from Somalia.

And there, I have one specific question to our Chinese colleague, Senior Colonel Qiyu, because one of the ways to address conflict is to have proactive engagement in conflict countries, through peacekeeping, through a variety of means. China has increased its engagement in peacekeeping in recent years. It pays a price for that. A few days ago, we saw a Chinese peacekeeper losing his life in Mali.

This engagement in peacekeeping also raises issues of how much risk a country is prepared to take in the difficult environment of post-conflict/not-so-post-conflict countries. And also questions of principle, because these peacekeeping missions have to be more and more proactive, not really taking over the sovereignty of the host country, but nevertheless playing a rather strong role in a country where the state, in some cases, has almost collapsed. It will be very interesting to hear the perspective of Senior Colonel Qiyu on that issue.

And then I have one little other question, but an important one. I think it is Ambassador Jenkins who mentioned the importance of regional responses. As far as ASEAN is concerned, in flows of refugees going into ASEAN – and we see on, for instance, the issue in Myanmar, how it combines with the domestic issue of the Rohingya – how can ASEAN then address the issue of refugees in a collective manner?

Sir John Jenkins, Executive Director, IISS–Middle East
Thank you very much, those are some very good questions. I should say I shall be in Myanmar, Burma, next week and I shall be seeing Aung San Suu Kyi, I hope, so anything that comes out of here that is useful, I will pass to her.

But maybe I should start now with inviting the panel to comment on the more general questions, and there were some good issues about stabilisation; about the relative balance between action in unstable states which produce refugee/migrant flows and the impact of this on receiving states; questions about burden sharing; and there were some very specific questions as well about Indonesia and Australian and Chinese policy. Air Chief Marshal. 

Air Chief Marshal Agus Supriatna, Chief of Staff, Indonesian Air Force, Indonesia
Okay, thank you. I think it is a very good question, but we talk before, with the question from Mr Kostarakos, that … because it is about governments realising that the issue of people smuggling and immigrants and things like that, so we have to be serious about making multilateral cooperation. And then, after that … one of the comprehensive efforts carried out by Indonesia is by enhancing the early detection, because I think the early-detection capability is very important, especially for local community and governments and also non-government agency.

And then after that, for Ms Fitriani, our government is [inaudible] all the problem and then view from the background of the arrival of illegal immigrants, because our government … I mean, they have been noted as part of well-organised crime also. So not all the migration is illegal. And the problem is also when they want to go to Australia and then the Australian government already have the policy also, for example, the policy is to roll back the boats.

And after that, our government, to anticipate all the immigrants, Indonesia has taken some legal steps, among others, by ratifying the 2000 UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, so with the low number 15 2009. So we already ratified and then we make the low number 15 2009. Thank you.

Senior Colonel Xu Qiyu, Deputy Director, Strategic Research Institute, National Defense University, People's Liberation Army, China
It is a very good question, but it is merely about the peacekeeping efforts on China side. So I think that, yes, China is making continuously efforts for the peacekeeping missions under the UN framework, that is true. And I quite remember that in 1990, at the very beginning, at the early 1990s, when China first sent its peacekeeping troops, actually it is only five military observers, that is the number; it is a very small number. But nowadays China became the largest provider of peacekeeping troops among the five permanent states of the Security Council, of the UN Security Council.

And, yes, China is paying the price. That is only the latest case and I can tell you that one of my friends – it is my personal friend – who died in Lebanon, who was killed in Lebanon. And when he died, he was an officer from general staff. When he was killed, he was only 34 years old and left one daughter. And so I know him quite well. So that is not the first price and China continuously paid such a price.

But China thinks it is right and it is necessary to do so. Why? Because China’s interests, we know it only too well, that it is integrated increasingly with the international community. When Chinese companies, Chinese citizens go abroad, and more and more Chinese citizens and more and more Chinese companies go abroad, it is unprecedented that China’s national interests integrated into the whole international community. And it is also unprecedented that China’s security, national security, integrated into the international security.

So China do it this way for the one purpose, the first purpose; yes, China have to contribute to the international security. And it is also an indirect way to protect our own security. It is also the contribution to our own security. And so there is a consistency within China’s policy. And last but not least, I think there is also another consistency with regard to China’s principle of participating in the UN peacekeeping mission. That is, we have to respect that the sovereignty of the local governments and we have to act according to the resolution of the UN. That is a very consistent principle. Thank you.

Gunnar Wiegand, Managing Director, Asia and the Pacific, European External Action Service, EU
First, briefly with regard to the remark by Dr Hampson concerning burden sharing, of course there should be much better burden sharing. That is why we do call for a global approach to this global challenge. And burden sharing not only in terms of agreeing on principles in a UN General Assembly, but working on concrete ways on how to operationalise this. And that would include financing and that would include burden sharing when it comes also to numbers of people.

There have been some voluntary commitments by non-European countries in the recent migration crisis. Even those voluntary commitments have not been implemented fully so far, and there we are talking about a few thousand people there. That is the objective but we have no illusions that it will take some time to achieve. The more one realises what happens now with Europe can happen tomorrow with somebody else, the better it is to advance on this path.

The answer to Mrs Fitriani is, first, it is not illegal for a member state of the EU to fortify its borders. Any member state can do it as it considers it necessary. There are no EU rules. The EU rules are, first, with regard to freedom of movement for citizens of EU member states inside the EU. So even if there are border fences, these citizens must be free to move inside Europe and go and live where they wish to live.

And, secondly, the question is then, of course, how do you deal with regular migration? And the case of Hungary started with fences with regard to countries which are not member of the EU. And here it is not a secret that there are differences between our member states on how to deal most effectively with that. And that is why we try to have not only a common external approach to the phenomenon and where we also need to have the hot spots, the treatment of irregular migrants through proper asylum procedures at the external border and not inside of the EU. But it is also a question of how you deal with it internally, and that includes questions of relocations. And once people have been recognised as war refugee or as asylum seeker, that there should be also European system which would help to distribute this in equal ways. And there Europe has not yet found the ultimate answers.

Peter Jennings, Executive Director, Australian Strategic Policy Institute
I thought I would address three of the questions that came forward. Firstly to the General’s point, I think it is right to be worried about the rise of xenophobic parties, ultra-nationalistic parties and how that might have a sort of downstream impact on managing the refugee problem. I would offer an observation insofar as Australia is concerned, and that is to say that we are a country that has very much been built on migration. I think it is 27% or 28% of Australians, myself included, were born overseas and another 25% had a parent born overseas. And so I do not see in my own country that sort of sense of ultra-nationalistic parties occupying anything other than the very, very margins of our political spectrum on the left and the right. The issue really is how the mainstream parties find ways to talk about this issue to the broader population. So there is no doubt that the immigration question is one on which governments will win and lose elections in Australia. And coming up with the right way to talk about this in a mainstream way, I think, is their central challenge.

On the questions of Indonesia, I mean, you are absolutely right to say that the period of 2012 and 2013, when the hard elements of the ‘turn the boats back’ policy were being implemented, was a difficult one for the bilateral relationship. That was not the only source of difficulty but it certainly was a difficulty. And you are also right to say that there were a number of occasions – I think I am right in saying five or six – when Australian Navy ships did move into Indonesian sovereign waters without the authority to do so from the Indonesian government. And this was something that was investigated. I think it came down really to a lack of understanding on the part of the crews around measuring the precise baselines on which to know where a boundary was actually present. But that is no excuse. It was inappropriate and it was something that Indonesia took offence over. And Australia apologised for it. It was a mistake, our navy should not have done that.

You raise also issues about disruption operations and I am afraid I am not in possession of the detail on them, I am not really in a position to comment. But what I can say is that the message I take from all of this is that we are better off if our governments and military organisations are able to cooperate effectively to prevent these types of situations from taking place. So, for example, people might be surprised to learn that we have some quite deep levels of cooperation that exist between our military forces and our police agencies, in particular, that address the questions of the people smugglers and how to disrupt their operations.

I think that what we really need to do is to concentrate more on how we can achieve these sorts of bilateral solutions. And I can talk in more detail, but the things I have in mind is, for example, common patrolling of those areas of sea between our two countries, common sharing of information between our navies and air forces. And, to a certain extent, that does go on but I think we could actually improve that and try to turn this into a collective response to what is a jointly shared problem. That is as well as I can answer.

And I just want to make a brief comment in relation to your point, sir, about Afghanistan, Somalia and Syria being the source of 50% of refugees. I think that downstream problem that we have to address more successfully than we have done so far, in particular in relation to the Syrian crisis, is the position of the refugee camps. I see this as a problem, not only for illegal migration but for radicalisation. And it seems to me that although the international community has gone a certain way trying to ameliorate the conditions of those camps, it is nowhere near enough. And the absence of dealing with this means that all we are doing is stocking up what is going to be a bigger problem in the coming years.

Sir John Jenkins, Executive Director, IISS–Middle East
Thanks, Peter. Right, there were another four boards up. I had five originally. I do not know if you want to maintain the fifth. So actually I now have six. And I have actually one other question which one member of my panel wants to ask another, which is a bit like in a football team, one player tackling one of his team mates. But I am going to let this happen because I am a very lenient referee. So I now have six. So maybe I will divide these into four and three. So please, sir.

Abdul Mutalib Bin Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Setia Dato Paduka Haji Mohd Yusof, Permanent Secretary, Media and Cabinet, Office of the Prime Minister, Brunei

Abdul Mutalib, Prime Minister’s Office, Brunei. Actually, earlier on I had two questions. One question settled, done already with the Chief Air Marshal Supriatna. However, I still realise I have got one other question, perhaps to Senior Colonel Xu of China. Very quick one. I think I take note that you actually highlighted a point on the risk of irregular migration being migrated or escalated to the risk of terrorism. You mentioned that in your earlier remarks. And I was just wondering how far has China gone into putting into place certain mechanisms or monitoring or controlling mechanisms in the short term, perhaps, in the mid-term and towards the long term?

And very quickly, a second question to the Colonel as well. I may have missed it, but could you just recap back what are the three main top challenges when it comes to implementation issues, when it comes to the ground? You mentioned about policies, etc. and so on, but on the ground, when it comes to implementing the actual mechanisms and action points, what are three key main challenges that you actually face? Thank you.

Philip Barton, Consulting Senior Fellow, IISS
Thank you very much, John. I am Philip Barton, a British diplomat and currently a consulting senior fellow at IISS. And thank you to the panel for what I thought was a very clear, collective exposition of the security challenges around irregular migration, both the short-term ones and issues like the potential flow of terrorists on migration routes, and also the longer-term ones around the security issues behind many of those flows.

I have a question for you, Gunnar Wiegand, if you would not mind. I think you set out a comprehensive European approach to the current migration crisis in Europe in a very clear way. I wonder how good you think Europe is being in looking at what has happened in the past, what has worked, what has not, perhaps looking at some of the flows in the past, in this part of the world and learning some of those lessons and really trying to make sure that we in Europe do things better as we confront our current-day challenge. Thank you. 

Hervé Lemahieu, Research Associate for Political Economy and Security, IISS
Hi, thanks, very interesting speeches so far. I am Hervé Lemahieu from the IISS. I have a few questions. The first is addressed to our representative from the External Action Service. I wonder – it is actually a bit of a follow-on question – the sorts of cross linkages that can be established between the migratory challenges and pressures on Europe versus those in ASEAN; it strikes me that those in ASEAN are more of an internal nature, that is, migration flows from one member country to another, whereas those in the EU are external. But, in any case, it has been quite clear that the integration process, which the EU is so proud of and is a big advocate of here in the region vis-à-vis ASEAN, is under stress, that Schengen is under stress. And is Europe a warning for ASEAN integration further down the line?

Which brings me to my next question really, which is addressed to the Chief Marshal from Indonesia. You sit as a critical member of ASEAN on some very awkward issues, particularly to do with the Rohingya, because you are also a Muslim country and a member state of the OIC. And the OIC has been rejected from Myanmar because of the lack of agreement on the root causes for the Rohingya crisis. And I wonder how Indonesia, in particular, is seeking to handle the considerable external attention on the Rohingya crisis, the root causes of irregular migration in the region versus the ASEAN consensus and working with the government, which also leads into how you balance, essentially, the humanitarian versus the securitisation of the phenomenon of irregular migration or illegal migration, as some panel members seem to be referring to it. Thank you. 

Sir John Jenkins, Executive Director, IISS–Middle East
I will stop there. And then I will take the other three questions with one more, as a second round, for maybe the last round. I am not sure that we are going to get an answer on the Rohingya/ASEAN question, but we will see. Maybe we will start this end, first of all; do it in reverse order.

Gunnar Wiegand, Managing Director, Asia and the Pacific, European External Action Service, EU
The dilemma between the humanitarian, I would say, tasks and obligations – and let us not forget that there are conventions which need to be applied, and this was also underlined by our Asian colleagues here – and the security challenge: this dilemma cannot be solved by privileging the security over the humanitarian and over the legal obligations; at least that is clear for Europe.

And if Mr Barton asked what worked and what has not worked, well, the Australian approach has worked, but is that applicable to Europe? No, it is not applicable. We will not ask to establish confinement camps in neighbouring countries and finance these so that people spend the rest of their lives there. And in this context, I will ask my question to the Australian colleague: what would Australia do after the recent ruling of the Constitutional Court of the Papua New Guinea neighbour of Australia?

We do not have the privilege of the geographic location of Australia. Europe is much more connected to Asia, Europe is much more connected to Africa, Europe is a neighbour of the Middle East. What we have, therefore, to do is what General Kostarakos said and also what Xu Qiyu said: we must combine our immediate answers in dealing in a legal way with that irregular flow with a much more active work on the root causes. These root causes will persist if we are not better in promoting more effective economic and social development in our neighbourhood and wider neighbourhood and if we are not more effective in solving conflicts.

The experiences made in this region, it is not only the Australian experience, it is Vietnam boat people and Hong Kong, it is the Rohingya, and they are not always only happy experiences. But what we have learnt from the boat people, that there were answers found not only in Hong Kong but indeed in many other countries, including in America.

As concerns ASEAN, well, as you know, the integration of ASEAN as much as it has advanced, but it is at a different level than the integration in the EU. It has not even come close to the home and justice area in terms of integration. And the freedom of movement clearly is not established in ASEAN and there is no Dublin system. What is under stress is not Schengen; what is under stress is the Dublin system – that means the recognition of people as war refugees or as people who are persecuted and can have asylum. And this common application of the rules – that is under stress. And I do believe that the benefits of the freedom of movement, the benefits of easy travel in Europe by far outplays these new challenges. Thank you.

Peter Jennings, Executive Director, Australian Strategic Policy Institute
I wish I could give you a good answer, Gunnar. The first thing we will have to do is get out of caretaker mode and have a new Australian government formed. Then I think this becomes a matter of some urgency to address in terms of dealing with Papua New Guinea. I have had a bit of experience in dealing with Papua New Guinea over the years, and I guess I would offer the observation that few things are ever completely final, either in terms of their political system or their legal system.

But that is perhaps less important than making the observation that I think neither of the two offshore processing centres look to me to be sustainable into the medium or long term. In other words, they were designed for dealing with a problem which was not intended to be indefinite. It was designed to deal with the problem which was going, ultimately, to lead to third countries being identified as the settlement options for the individuals who found themselves in these facilities. It now appears to be the case that in fact they are turning out to be long-term centres for the detaining of these individuals. And we are talking about, particularly in the case of Nauru, very small and fragile societies which are not easily able to handle the placement of these facilities in their own countries.

So I do not think we have a long-term solution here and I think this has to fall into the category of urgent matters to address for a new government, post our election on 2 July.

Air Chief Marshal Agus Supriatna, Chief of Staff, Indonesian Air Force, Indonesia
Thank you very much. I will answer for Mr Lemahieu questions regarding Indonesia and big Muslim countries and also under the OIC. And yes, sometimes Indonesia has diplomatic problem if refugees come to our country. And also we have a problem because Indonesia has not yet adopted the 1951 Geneva Convention and also the 1967 Supplementary Protocol regarding to the protection for illegal immigrants.

And we have also case when the refugees comes to our country, several years ago we pay, per person, 1.2 million rupiahs, which is around maybe $100, but for our country, we have difficulties to solve the problem. And we did cooperation among local governments, the police, other agencies, also military, to try to solve the problem in our country. Also, maybe if refugees turn back from Australia, we also have coordination with the Australian government. Maybe Mr Jennings knows very well about how Indonesia and Australia make appointment to solve the problem, especially for the illegal refugees.

I think Indonesia has a diplomatic problem. Yes, you said Indonesia is a big country and also connected to OIC, but regarding to the Geneva Convention, we do not have any specific solution to solve the problem, but we try. As I said, we have already made other rules to enhance our problem about refugees. But maybe Ms Fitriani is aware about this one. Yes, maybe you can help because she is an expert for this one, yes. Thank you.

Dr Evi Fitriani, Head, International Relations Department, Faculty of Social and Political Sciences, Universitas Indonesia
You have answered a lot of the question. Regarding the Rohingya problem, Indonesia tried to maintain this ASEAN Way by discussing or communicating with Myanmar government, not openly. We talk with them but not in a megaphone-diplomacy way. And they can accept that. There is a very strong relation between the Indonesian military with Myanmar military. And they frequently consult with us regarding the political transformation and military transformation. And there are always Indonesians who travel to Myanmar every month to do some help and discussion with the government of Myanmar. So in that way we help them and also try to convince them that this kind of society, the multi-ethnic society, needs another approach, not between minority and minority, but more comprehensive approach. So that is what we do with Myanmar government.

In addition, we also try to convince them that Rohingya is not really a threat for them. Rohingya is part of their ethnic groups. They cannot deny it. But, again, we do not want to make them offended so we just try to do some of the project to help them, the Rohingya ethnic group. Indonesian Vice President Jusuf Kalla visited them, and former Indonesian foreign minister also there. And we helped the community, and Indonesian embassy in Myanmar also helped the community, but with the approval of the Myanmar government. We will not be able to do it by ourselves, so there is an understanding on that. Thank you.

Senior Colonel Xu Qiyu, Deputy Director, Strategic Research Institute, National Defense University, People's Liberation Army, China
I will try to answer this question within three or four, maximum four minutes. First of all, I think that, yes, China is trying to do some cooperation with regards to controlling or managing the irregular-migration problem. But I have to confess that such cooperation is still at very early stage because it is a very, very brand new question of the problem for China. And such cooperation, at this stage, focus mainly on the law-enforcement cooperation in cracking down those human trafficking and other organised crimes which play an important role in the irregular migrations.

And I think it is also equally important to refine some bilateral agreements or treaties between China and other countries to manage and, for example, to repatriating those illegal immigrations in China; it is equally important. And, thirdly, I think bilateral agreement is important and, in the short term, it will be most effective but, in the long term, it has to rely on the regional, multilateral agreements of the networks that can control those problems most effectively. Thank you.

Sir John Jenkins, Executive Director, IISS–Middle East
Thank you very much. I think we have time for one final round of questions and one final round of responses and wrap-ups from the panel. So please, if you can be concise, we have about nine minutes left. So we give a chance to the panel to respond properly.

S K Tripathi, Former Chief, Research and Analysis Wing, Cabinet Secretariat
Thank you, Mr Jenkins. My name is Sanjeev Tripathi. I am a retired civil servant with intelligence background from India. I have a few comments to make on this subject. I feel that this irregular or illegal migrants – of course, they fall into two clear categories of refugees and economic migrants. However, many countries, including India, they have neither domestic refugees laws nor are they signatory to 1951 Convention or 1967 Protocol. So, as such, there is no legal difference between an economic migrant or a refugee there.

So, the first thing is that such countries need to be encouraged to draft their national refugee laws. What is happening is that the model refugee laws suggested by UNHCR are more from the viewpoint of activist which focus on the rights and privileges of the refugees. In framing the domestic refugee laws, the national-security interest as well as the interests of local population has to be taken into account. Similarly in the 1951 Convention, these countries see this Convention as an extension of the European Convention, which does not take many regional complexities into account. So the West has to be more appreciative of the concerns of these countries.

Once the national refugee or legal framework is in place, the problem of refugee and economic migrants have to be dealt with accordingly. As far as refugees are concerned, of course, there are three ways: sending them back to the country of origin or third-country settlement or giving them the nationality. Where the priority has to be sending back to the homeland –

Sir John Jenkins, Executive Director, IISS–Middle East
You have a question or a comment?

S K Tripathi, Former Chief, Research and Analysis Wing, Cabinet Secretariat
And as far as migrants are concerned, they can be deported under the local law, but they can be given work permit also. And provided the home country gives them –

Sir John Jenkins, Executive Director, IISS–Middle East
I am going to have to cut you off because we have a very –

S K Tripathi, Former Chief, Research and Analysis Wing, Cabinet Secretariat
This is what I just said, no specific question but these are my comments on the subject.

I will be very brief. The title of the session is Security Challenges of Irregular Migration, which used to be two separate categories, one forced migration and the other unauthorised migration. And I noticed, Senior Colonel Xu, you corrected three times from illegal migration to irregular migration. I just wonder, how do you differentiate between the two, and why you corrected three times?

And the second question: Mr Supriatna mentioned something about early detection, and I am not sure that you can identify some of the concrete measures or mechanism for early detection from a defence perspective, not the immigrant or police perspective.

And the final, third question: I think some of us mentioned something about the Australian government payment for the Indonesian smugglers, and one already convicted case in Indonesian court that they received AUD 45,000. It may be justified because it stopped the boat, from the border-protection perspective. But in your personal view, Mr Jennings, can it be justified as an extraordinary or extra-political measure to stop the boat?

Rear Admiral (Retd) Robert James, Director, Enterprise Asset Management, Inc
My question is, why did the IISS choose to talk about security challenges from immigration rather than the good results from immigration?

Sir John Jenkins, Executive Director, IISS–Middle East
Well, I can answer that question. The answer is, I do not know because I did not formulate the session, I am just chairing it. But I can direct you to the person who will be able to tell you afterwards. So, on that note, the final comments and answers from our panel. Keep it to a minute each. That will bring us in bang on time, I hope.

Air Chief Marshal Agus Supriatna, Chief of Staff, Indonesian Air Force, Indonesia
On early detection, the Indonesian National Air Defense does around-the-year maritime patrol. So the Air Defense maybe find something on the sea, the maritime patrol, and so they report it to the Navy and they report to our government. Actually I do not know exactly about the early warning, but from the Air Force perspective, we do maritime patrol every day. Maybe the answer is not satisfied but in my perspective maybe, yes.

Senior Colonel Xu Qiyu, Deputy Director, Strategic Research Institute, National Defense University, People's Liberation Army, China
So, I try to answer this question as briefly as I can. I think there are three reasons. One is translation, the other is my poor English and the third one is maybe that is the different way of categorising. In China, when we categorise the immigration, for a very long time we categorise it legal or illegal in Chinese. So when we translate those legal or illegal into English, I know that is irregular immigration. It is so difficult to translate into Chinese. So in Chinese, it is almost the same. So when we translate it back into English, so I made a mistake. So the second reason, my poor English. So thank you.

Sir John Jenkins, Executive Director, IISS–Middle East
I do not think your English is poor at all, Colonel.

Gunnar Wiegand, Managing Director, Asia and the Pacific, European External Action Service, EU
I think there are migrants who come irregularly but they will be found out to have the right for asylum or they will be found out to have the temporary status as a refugee. And therefore they are then not illegal. So that is why you have the use of the term ‘irregular’. And, of course, legal immigration is a different concept because you know in advance who comes and for which purpose.

Since I did not get a question, I only say that we clearly see here the need to look beyond security only and to have a comprehensive approach. Here, security and economic developmental and internal domestic approaches, they all come together. We cannot look at this phenomenon, at this challenge only from one angle. And I agree with Sir [John] that there are also good results of immigration and we need, in all of this, not to see just the dangers but also the opportunities which exist for both sides. Thank you.

Sir John Jenkins, Executive Director, IISS–Middle East
Thank you very much. Tim Huxley is your man, by the way, if you want to ask him about the title of this session.

Peter Jennings, Executive Director, Australian Strategic Policy Institute
Yes, I have Tim to thank for being here as well, actually. I was asked one specific question, and all I can say is I just do not know anything about the legal case, but I am touched at your sense of alarm that money should never change hands in relation to these matters.

There are two points that I would make in closing. I guess one is simply to say I think people perhaps underestimate the extent to which what we are really talking about is an industry, a product of an international, organised criminal trafficking network. And, really, that discovery also points to a solution, which is the need for an international legal enforcement effort to actually break this business model and to prevent it from continuing to succeed. Fundamentally, that is at the heart of the problem we are talking about.

Finally, I think we have an element which has started to come into consideration much more sharply in the last 12 months or so, but is only going to complicate the refugee issue far more profoundly, and that is how it intersects into the foreign-fighters problem in the Middle East. And the management of those two things, I think, is going to make the refugee issue increasingly more difficult to deal with and increasingly harder to talk to our domestic populations about.

Sir John Jenkins, Executive Director, IISS–Middle East
Thank you very much. That brings it back to where I started, which is the Middle East, which is where I started, where I still am. Thank you very much, everybody, for contributing, especially to our distinguished panellists. That was a fantastic example of international cohesion, coordination, cooperation, the stabilisation, which sometimes is missing in the refugee issue and the migrant issue. But thank you all very much. Can I ask you please to give the panellists a very big hand for this fantastic discussion.

Enhancing Cooperation Against Jihadi Terrorism in Asia

As Delivered

Dr Tim Huxley, Executive Director, IISS–Asia
Good afternoon, everyone. Welcome to the fourth special session of this 15th IISS Shangri-La Dialogue. I am very pleased to introduce you this afternoon to an exceptionally strong panel of speakers, each of whom will make brief introductory remarks in order to provide a basis for the discussion which will follow. Our distinguished panellists in this session, first of all on my right, Tan Sri Dato’ Sri Dr Zulkifeli bin Mohd Zin, Malaysia’s Chief of Defence Force; and then on my immediate right, General Sir Nicholas Houghton, the United Kingdom’s Chief of Defence Staff; on my immediate left, Lieutenant General Glorioso Miranda, Acting Chief of Staff, Armed Force of the Philippines; and on my far left, Nelly Lahoud, the IISS Senior Fellow for Political Islamism, from our Middle East office.

Before asking our panellists to make their opening remarks, I would like to make a few introductory comments of my own. The attack in Jakarta in January of this year focused attention on the threat of Islamist terrorism in Southeast Asia. The region, particularly Indonesia, but also Malaysia and the Philippines, has been a source of recruits for the Islamic State in the Middle East. Islamist groups in the region with track records of violence, including the Abu Sayyaf Group in the southern Philippines, have affiliated themselves with ISIS. And as the Jakarta attack seemed to show, there is a local threat, not only from returning fighters, but also from jihadis who have been radicalised but for one reason or another have not travelled to the Middle East to fight.

But there are some big questions around this topic. How serious is the current terrorist threat in the region? How does it compare with the threat from Jemaah Islamiah in the region ten or 15 years ago? Do we really know how many Southeast Asians have gone to the Middle East to fight? How dangerous, really, is the threat from returning fighters? And what of regional states’ responses? Are they doing everything that might be ideal in terms of strengthening inter-agency whole-of-government approaches to counter-terrorism? Are they exchanging enough intelligence and the right type of intelligence among themselves, and with external partners such as Australia, the US and with European and Middle Eastern states? And perhaps most significantly in the context of this session and this Dialogue, what is the proper role of the armed forces in counter-terrorism in this region?

That is a long list of questions, but I hope that each of our panellists may be able to comment on at least some of those questions. So, I would like first of all to turn to Malaysia’s Chief of Defence Forces, General Zulkifeli. Thank you, General.

General Tan Sri Dato’ Sri Dr Zulkifeli bin Mohd Zin, Chief of Defence Forces, Malaysia
Thank you, Tim Huxley, the moderator, members of the panel, ladies and gentlemen. First of all, thank you for inviting me to present my views on the issue of Enhancing Cooperation against Jihadi Terrorism in Asia. 

A recent phenomenon that has afflicted the world is the advent of jihadi terrorism by groups driven by extreme religious ideologies to further their organisational interests and objectives. Jihadi terrorism is a consequence of integrating Islamic ideology with the idea of jihad, in a sense that extreme interpretation of Islamic texts contribute to the rise of violent jihad. Among the numerous jihadi terrorist groups in existence today, the Islamic State, or Daesh, is the most prominent and dangerous. Daesh boasts of affiliation with 43 other minor terrorist groups globally, where seven of these groups originate from Southeast Asia, such as the Jemaah Islamiah and the Abu Sayyaf Group.

Despite having a history of engaging religious extremism and radicalisation, Malaysia has shown great concern on the development of Daesh. This is evident from the total of about 200 suspected collaborators that have been detained by the Malaysian Police since 2013. The government has also managed to have foiled a number of attacks planned by these suspected terrorists, including the latest arrest last month, in May of 2016. On the same note, the government has identified more than 100 Malaysians fighting in Syria and Iraq under the auspices of the Katibah Nusuntara Lid Daulah Islamiyyah, or the Malay Archipelago Battalion of ISIS, which as an ethnically Malay Islamic State unit, of which we believe that about 20 Malaysian members of this group in Syria have died in a firefight, and six of which died as suicide bombers.

Ladies and gentlemen, in combating the jihad terrorism threat, the Malaysian Armed Forces has adopted the policy of strong inter-agency cooperation and pragmatic multilateral collaboration while adopting soft and hard approaches. In this sense, the measures taken are, firstly, developing strong inter-regional collaboration with the armed forces of ASEAN member states through the exchange of information and building of capacities. The military-intelligence exchange between Malaysia and other ASEAN member states and the conduct of the multinational counter-terrorist exercises, such as the one that was conducted last year in 2015 involving the militaries and police forces from 11 countries within and beyond ASEAN, are good examples.

Secondly, Malaysia is a member of the Saudi-led Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition comprising about 40 member states. This coalition, with establishment of a joint military centre in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, will formulate strategies in countering the threat of Daesh worldwide. This coalition will focus on the aspect of countering the Daesh ideology, information and media, and finance, and to build military cooperation among member states in countering the threat of Daesh. Ladies and gentlemen, in the aspect of the military cooperation of this coalition, the Malaysian Armed Forces involvement is in the areas of military training, exchange of information and intelligence, and the provision of logistics.

The third measures that have been taken is that the Malaysian Armed Forces is also cooperating with other government agencies in the country, particularly the Malaysian Police, as a whole-of-government approach in the conduct of joint patrols, especially in strategic areas in cities throughout the country, and the conduct of comprehensive border management by collaborating with neighbours such as Indonesia and Thailand to their respective regional border committees.

And fourthly, the Malaysian government has also adopted a number of means to project soft power in facing this threat, primarily the establishment of the Southeast Asia Regional Centre for Counter Terrorism in Kuala Lumpur to train, build capacities, research and increase public awareness on terrorism.

Ladies and gentlemen, taking a leaf out of that initiative, the Malaysian government has also organised the first international conference on deradicalisation and countering violent extremism in January of this year. This gathering of experts from within and beyond ASEAN was aimed to enhance cooperation between security agencies, share and analyse the best practices from the various deradicalisation programmes, identify the target groups who are vulnerable to extreme militant ideology and discuss the role of governments in rehabilitation efforts. Over and above these activities, the Malaysian government, including the Malaysian Armed Forces, in the collaborative effort to negate the influence of jihadi terrorism is establishing the digital counter-messaging centre, which wages war of ideas through the resourceful lines of persuasion among the various target groups. Another measure taken by the Malaysian government is to promote the practices of moderation, especially in the realm of religion, either domestically, regionally or globally. The establishment of the Global Movement of Moderates, or the GMM, by the Malaysian prime minister is a clear manifestation of Malaysia’s role in trying to combat or counter jihadi terrorism.

Ladies and gentlemen, to date, the measures taken by the Malaysian government have been very effective and successful, as we are able to stem the influence of Daesh in the country. Similarly, I believe that there must be a concerted and comprehensive initiative or effort by all ASEAN member states to detect, erase and monitor the sources of funding for the Katibah Nusuntara from ASEAN member countries. This will be able to isolate the terrorist group and suffocate them from their much-needed funds. Similarly, due to the real and present danger of Daesh, the government has recently introduced the Prevention of Terrorism Act and also the Foreign Fighters Act in order to better empower the enforcement agencies in combating the threat of terrorism.

That said, however, ladies and gentlemen, it is undeniable that Daesh will seek more innovative and unconventional means or methods to spread terror in this region. For that, enhancing cooperation is not an option but a necessity to ensure security, stability and the preservation of human security. Thank you for your kind attention.

Dr Tim Huxley, Executive Director, IISS–Asia
General, thank you very much for that very comprehensive yet at the same time succinct survey of the measures being taken by the Malaysian government, and particularly by your armed forces, in response to this contemporary challenge of jihadi terrorism in Malaysia. Now, I would like to ask the UK’s Chief of Defence Staff, Sir Nicholas Houghton.

General Sir Nicholas Houghton, Chief of the Defence Staff, United Kingdom
Thank you very much, Tim, and can I say how delighted I am to be here. Can I extend my own gratitude as well to our hosts, both to Singapore but also to IISS for providing us with this wonderful opportunity. Can I perhaps as a prelim say I do not pretend to be an expert in Southeast Asian counter-terrorism, and can I also say that what I have to say is not an endorsed national position. Indeed, it is only the product of today’s reflections, which is why if the translation is not too good, it is because I do not have a prepared script. But the translator has taken a photograph of my notes, so she may be not as precise as she would have hoped.

What I have to say does not deny the requirement that General Zulkifeli has outlined for enhanced security and intelligence cooperation. Not at all. But if I rush to my conclusions and then work backwards, my three conclusions to leave you with would be that the principal requirements for cooperation are those of establishing a shared understanding and to conduct coordinated action on the non-military aspects of countering terrorism. Secondly, it would be to avoid the potentially dangerous militarisation of an ideological problem. And the third would be to definitely not neglect the sovereign views of local partners.

I arrive at those conclusions through four steps: firstly, generic threats; secondly, the nature of terrorism; thirdly, the specific jihadi threat; and then just some assessment from a British North Atlantic view of how we are doing. Virtually every seminar such as this on security that you go to, the buzzwords are: hybrid, asymmetric, novel, non-conventional. The general conclusions are that the nature of threats today are transnational, trans-regional, multifunctional. The first thing to comment on from a military perspective is that the established military mechanisms for command and control are not currently appropriate. Military command and control tends towards a regional approach to the military resolution of a problem, and we collectively – and particularly, dare I say, were the Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs here – would recognise the shortcomings of the command-and-control architecture that we currently have. There is an old British phrase, that if all you have is a hammer, you define every problem as a nail. And I think that this is appropriate to some of our approach to the problem of countering terrorism.

My second point is that terrorism is not of itself a threat but is a threat mechanism, which undoubtedly has grown in potency. And it is now not just a threat to individuals, but to regional stability, state integrity, domestic security, as well as creating significant side effects, one of which is humanitarian crisis and a further one is probably the biggest concern, certainly within Europe at the moment, that of mass migration. So, I think to label it as simple terrorism in perhaps what we have historically viewed it is to potentially massively understate its potency.

Moving specifically to the jihadi threat, ISIS or Daesh, I think General Zulkifeli has very carefully outlined: at its heart it is an ideology that informs a powerful narrative that exists in the virtual world of social media, a battle of both information and perception, to an extent magnified by media commentary and the political responses to that commentary. So the principal battleground for this is the virtual world in which an ideology can be battled with and undermined. We tend towards, however, looking at what I would call the three physical manifestations of Daesh or ISIS terrorism. They are the existence of a caliphate, that area of land which covers the borders of both Syria and Iraq; then a growing number of franchises or affiliates – Libya, Nigeria, Somalia, and in Southeast Asia General Zulkifeli was just informing me of the Malaysian Archipelago – and these are affiliates which exploit fault lines rather than the terrorism being, ab initio, driven by those fault lines. And then the third physical manifestation is the projection of this terrorism into our domestic circumstances, which is the phenomenon, perhaps, that we most fear in much of mainland and continental Europe.

My final point, then, is how are we doing? And I would assess this in four ways, as it seems to me. Firstly is, I sense, from a UK perspective we are overly focused on the military dimension of the destruction of the physical caliphate. Why is this? I do think that there is a strong interplay between political statements and the desire for political headlines and political legacies, with media demands for statements on progress, and the military dimension of this being the most tangible and the most photogenic. The second, I would say, is that we have been to an extent distracted by the need to deal with the symptoms of the threat, of which migration, humanitarian crisis and domestic terrorism are the three most obvious. Thirdly, I would say, is that we have – and I am in pleasant, constructive friction with my diplomatic colleagues on this – perhaps laid insufficient emphasis on political stability and the routes to achieve it. And political progress, certainly in Iraq, Syria and Libya, lags rather than leads military action, and this is a dangerous sequence. And then fourth, I would say, there is at the moment insufficient coherence in that element of the campaign that counters the ideological basis. We have made some progress in closing down some of the access to social media, but in confronting the physical dimension of the threat first, before we have embarked on resolving the ideological basis, we run the risk of establishing the basis of a continuing and more insidious problem.

And so it is through that stages of observation and personal reflection – I would repeat, my own conclusions – that I think, amongst the residual, at least, principal requirement for cooperation is the shared understanding and coordinated action on the non-military aspects of countering terrorism; secondly, the avoidance of the dangerous militarisation of what is an ideological problem; and then, thirdly, our current tendency to neglect the sovereign views of the local partners who are most closely involved. Chair, thank you.

Dr Tim Huxley, Executive Director, IISS–Asia
Thank you very much, Sir Nicholas. I think you provided an extremely valuable perspective based on the UK’s experience. And it is going to interesting to see how much resonance that has in this region, but I think that is extremely useful, thank you very much. Now, General Miranda.

Lieutenant General Glorioso Miranda, Acting Chief of Staff, Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippines
Thank you, Dr Tim Huxley, the Executive Director for the IISS–Asia, distinguished speakers, fellow delegates, ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon. There is no doubt that the ISIS brand of terrorism is now one of the more serious and pressing security issues of our time. But as serious a threat as ISIS has become in Iraq and Syria, its spread to Southeast Asia needs to be framed within the conditions of our own peculiar environment.

To begin with, Southeast Asia is no stranger to terrorism. Since 9/11 attacks in the United States, and even before that, we have experienced a number of our own, from the 2002 bombings in Bali to the 2004 SuperFerry and 2005 bus bombings in the Philippines, just to mention a few. While one may argue that our region is susceptible, three things must be borne in mind. Firstly, ISIS and the terrorists in our region are not of the same mode, do not operate under similar conditions and do not share the same end goals but rather variety of end states. The JI (Jemaah Islamiah), in my opinion, is not ISIS – at least not yet. The Abu Sayyaf Group is not ISIS – at least not yet. And there is no ISIS affiliate with the capability to launch large-scale attacks in our capital. It must be acknowledged, however, that ISIS-advised groups do exist. Secondly, precisely because of our shared experience, our governments and communities have already formed best practices across a range of counter-terrorism efforts. Notwithstanding notable differences in our approaches, we are effectively addressing threats and impact with notable resilience. And thirdly, the sociopolitical dynamics within our states do not exactly host the same breeding grounds for radicalism to fester and spread its contagion.

The reasons for those displays of visceral hatred and violence that we often see in the Middle East are hardly visible in our region, given our democratic space, climate of religious tolerance and all-embracing cultures. Having said those, it is important to nonetheless realise that jihadi, ISIS-inspired threat lurks in our midst. Since early 2014, the Islamic State is reported to have made gradual inroads in Southeast Asia. The Malay Archipelago Unit for the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria was established in Syria in 2014. A language school has been set up in Raqqa, purportedly to indoctrinate Southeast Asian fighters in the IS ideology. In our region, in places like Poso, jihadi activity by self-proclaimed – I repeat, self-proclaimed – militants has been reported, along with the presence of Uighurs in the training camps.

Now, over in the Philippines, the spectre of ISIS has likewise become our pressing security concern, given the propensity of Abu Sayyaf, or ASG, particularly the Basilan-based group headed by Isnilon Hapilon, to seek ISIS recognition. On 9 April 2016, the attack of this group on our forces in Basilan resulted in the death of 18 of our troops and 38 on their side, including a foreign terrorist, reportedly an IED expert. On 25 April, following the expiration of its payment for the ransom, the ASG bandits beheaded Canadian John Ridsdel in Sulu and released its video online. Our condolence and apologies to the bereaved families. To the uninitiated, the execution might appear to have been ISIS-inspired. In truth, it was primarily driven by money. Still, the group’s aspirations for affiliation cannot be discounted for the simple reason that, if left unchecked, it could just become an affiliate. The ASG follows a ‘four A’ phenomenon: assimilate, associate, acknowledge and finally to be accredited. Firstly, they associate and assimilate with the thinking of IS; next, they get acknowledged for the terroristic activities; then they are recognised as affiliates; and, finally, accredit. This is, of course, one of the ways how the organisation grows, aside from the normal belief, or I would say, the normal active recruitment from ISIS themselves.

Now, where does that situate us? Against the movement of ISIS-inspired threat, it is important that we acknowledge, first, the need for cooperative convergence. Against the jihadist terrorism, exactly where should our cooperation lie? Let me venture or lead to what happens to be the right enemy’s living spaces. From our security perspective, the first critical area of cooperation lies in the tri-border maritime area encompassing the Sulu Sea and the Sulawesi Sea. This is an area that is as porous as it is perilous, and remains largely ungoverned. Over the years, it has become [the] preferred nautical highway of national criminals, militants and terrorists. This is where maritime terrorism occurs. As highlighted this year by ASG kidnappings, this area needs patrolling and policing, but this cannot be done by one country alone. It calls for regional and national cooperation.

Thankfully, the governments of Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines have responded to this call and decided to act, following the signing in Jakarta on 5 May 2016 of the joint declaration between the foreign ministers and chiefs of defence forces of these respective countries on the immediate measures to address security issues in the maritime areas of concern. The three armed forces now started work on the standard operating procedures for the conduct of trilateral coordinated patrols. On the sidelines of the ADMM in Vientiane last week, the same ministers agreed to step up collaboration, particularly in joint training. This approach, it must be stressed, is pragmatic and doable and should bode well, not only for our collective counter-terrorist efforts, but also and not coincidentally to address all other maritime-security issues.

The second area of cooperation lays in social media, in the use of information and communications technology – another critical living space. We know now that Islamic State-inspired terrorism feeds on our reactions of shock and fear, and at the same time on the twisted fascination of other groups to follow suit. And we understand now that their control of media content through which they conduct their cyber jihad, similar to the ungoverned maritime space, the open sites, the electronic boards and the potential cyber sanctuaries in the internet, must be painstakingly trolled for terrorist content by all concerned governments, agencies, multinational organisations, administrators and special units. The information communications technology (ICT) organisations in our region should share advanced software to track emotional inflection points in the World Wide Web. The sophistication of our cyber technologies should be brought to bear wherever the terrorists might be hiding. The capacities of our agencies for intelligence and surveillance, and even social advocacy, must be coordinated to initiate sustained or provide dedicated follow-on actions to constantly discredit jihadist claims, and altogether take out the air from them with no blogs made, no column inches given and no prisoners taken.

All this must not only find common lines in policy and strategy but in cooperative efforts. Last week, ASEAN defence chiefs approved the Philippine-sponsored cyber security working group under the ASEAN ADMM–Plus. This working group, which will be co-chaired by New Zealand in time for the Philippines’ chairmanship of the ASEAN summit next year, will provide the needed platform for the exchange of expertise and knowledge as well as promotion of practical cooperation in cyber security. Again, this is a step in the right direction and it is about time. An initiative like this could lead, among others, to the disruption of jihadist influence, even as its primary goal is to keep our cyber systems secure and resilient. Knowing, then, how actively engaged we must remain, I say that we must put our hands and ears to the ground and feel the nuances of the pulse of our communities so that in the end no one gets radicalised. However we do it, at the end of the day, the general public must be made aware of the ends of the ISIS-inspired propaganda and be guided at all times to never stay in the middle but stand weight against terrorism.

My friends, guests, let us not let the jihadists or ISIS-inspired to make terror the norm. Let us not allow ourselves, either, to make the use of counter-force the norm. Instead, let us use the application of our enhanced cooperation as the new normal. Thank you very much, and good afternoon.

Dr Tim Huxley, Executive Director, IISS–Asia
Thank you very much, General Miranda, for that excellent survey of Philippine policy and the work of the Philippine Armed Forces and other agencies in countering this threat. That is a very good and useful contribution, and I think there are a number of points we might come back to later.

Lieutenant General Glorioso Miranda, Acting Chief of Staff, Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippines
Just a brief comment to my colleagues here from the United Kingdom. I would say right now, as the Acting Chief of Staff, that indeed the terrorism problem is not entirely a military solution. That right now I can say, what we are undertaking in our region. As we speak right now there are operations going on, and in the same manner that I brief our cluster in the security briefing in [inaudible], and I explicitly stated that it is not entirely a military solution. You were right there.

Dr Tim Huxley, Executive Director, IISS–Asia
Thank you very much, General. And our final panellist is Nelly Lahoud, the IISS Senior Expert on Political Islamism, and I think Nelly will be able to put the discussion in a broader context. Thank you.

Dr Nelly Lahoud, Senior Fellow for Political Islamism, IISS–Middle East
Thank you, Tim, and thank you for inviting me to be part of this panel. I would like to preface my presentation by noting that I do not study closely Southeast Asian jihadism. I do not know the languages. But I do follow the jihadis in the Middle East; I follow their Arabic sources, and so my assessment today – or my analysis – is really looking at Southeast Asian jihadism through the lens of the Middle East and Daesh on that side.

Well, on the good side, 2015–2016 has not been a good year for Daesh. It has lost many of the cities it had captured in Iraq and Syria, and it looks like it is struggling in the crowded militant landscape in Libya. At the same time, ISIS managed to mount and inspire several terrorist operations outside of the areas it controls. Now, less than two weeks ago, that is the last public statement by ISIS’s spokesman, Abu Mohammad al-Adnani, and it suggests that ISIS may be facing at least three challenges. The first is that it is losing some key operational leaders by US airstrikes. Secondly, it is struggling to justify its territorial losses to its supporters. And thirdly it is unable, it seems, to maintain the momentum of foreign fighters joining its fight. I am happy to discuss in the Q&A about what he said specifically.

So how might ISIS’s change of fortunes affect jihadism in Southeast Asia? To start with, the number of Southeast Asians who travel to fight alongside ISIS in the Middle East is ranked among the lowest. Further, analysts who track jihadi activity in the region have cautioned against overblowing the jihadi threat, pointing to the incompetence of the enthusiasts who have been arrested by the authorities, and also to the poor training of those who executed attacks and failed to deliver the planners’ intended specular effect. Yet the same analysts are also worried that the situation may change if some of these ISIS fighters in the Middle East return home, or if ISIS directs its supporters to mount attacks in the region to make up for its losses in the Middle East. They also fear that the region may well witness more attacks, like those that targeted central Jakarta in January as well as the Philippine security forces in April this year.

Now, ISIS would certainly welcome any attack carried out in its name anywhere in the world. Lately, however, ISIS’s public statement, which I referred to earlier, seems to be stressing the group’s desire for its supporters to carry out attacks in Europe and the United States, and al-Adnani, whom I mentioned, is calling upon European and US jihadis to open the door of jihad specifically in Europe and the US. And in his words, he says, ‘However minor the operation you carry out in the midst of their abode’ – in other words, in Europe and the US – ‘be sure that it would be better and more important for us than the major operations carried out here’, i.e., in Iraq and Syria. Al-Adnani’s statement also suggests that some of ISIS’s supporters are – and I am quoting him – ‘refraining themselves from targeting so-called civilians, doubting whether, from an Islamic legal perspective, such attacks would be lawful’. So, if this restraint continues, and in view of the existing pro-ISIS sentiments among some in Southeast Asia, al-Adnani may well decide to single out Southeast Asia to rise up to the challenge in his future statements.

Now, what is the likely success of ISIS growth in Southeast Asia? So, ISIS does not enjoy a monopoly of a Southeast Asia jihad. Indeed, the landscape is saturated with militant groups, and many of them have taken it upon themselves to discredit the legitimacy of ISIS as a caliphate. But notwithstanding ISIS’s limited influence, its supporters have gradually built an ideological capital in the region. Indeed, some Southeast Asian jihadi leaders and ideologues were among the first to pledge allegiance to ISIS’s leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. And several groups in the Philippines and Indonesia have released videos to publicise their pledges, with some of them displaying their guns and showcasing their training camps to project their battlefield credentials. Also, there is an online army in place devoted to translating ISIS publications and promoting the group’s world view. The recent attacks in Indonesia and the Philippines, as well as the numerous foiled plots the last couple of years, reflect the desire of ISIS supporters to translate their ideological commitment into action.

Yet ISIS is yet to bestow upon its Southeast Asian supporters the designation of wilayah, or province, as it has done with others elsewhere, like in Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Yemen and West Africa. I was very interested in General Miranda’s ‘four As’, which is associate, acknowledge, affiliate, accredit, which I might use elsewhere. But I am intrigued, why has ISIS not reciprocated the love of Southeast Asians that have been pledging allegiance to it, and why has it not really bestowed upon them this wilayah? And that is intriguing. What could be holding ISIS back?

One possible explanation is that ISIS’s expectations are yet to be met. As noted earlier, Southeast Asian jihadis make up a very low percentage of ISIS’s foreign-fighter contingency, so ISIS may well deem it scandalous that a region that constitutes about 40% of the world’s Muslim population is delivering less foreign fighters than France. If this is a plausible explanation, and if ISIS enthusiasts cannot deliver a respectable number of fighters, then they may try to make up for this in terrorist operations, which would be worrying, of course. So, ISIS may well be destined to lose its territories in the Middle East, but as it does, the group will likely seek every opportunity to unleash its wrath on the rest of the world. Now that ISIS needs to project an even greater violent global presence to make up for its territorial losses in the eyes of its supporters, it may put in place a reward system in the form of wilayah for its Southeast Asian supporters if they deliver in blood currency.

So, what could states do in this region? Obviously, the other panellists are better placed than me to comment on these issues, but I will offer three remarks. I think the one is that, as others have noted, ISIS really does not enjoy monopoly here in the jihadi landscape, and the other jihadi groups should not be neglected while the focus is on ISIS.

Secondly, as others have commented, shared intelligence and cooperation between states is critical, and in fact it is in this region and beyond, as General Miranda noted, in some of the training camps we are seeing Uighurs, we are seeing Moroccans, we are seeing transfer of fighters from different countries, and in this respect ISIS, as well as other jihadi groups, are rather cosmopolitan, if you like. They do not differentiate between states, and they are willing to cooperate. And I think focused intelligence – it is very important, for instance, to look for facilitators, because facilitators – those, for example, who have facilitated the flow of foreign fighters to the Middle East – have done so remarkably well. Some of them have facilitated over 1,000 foreign fighters. And so these kinds of focused areas of intelligence would go a long way.

Third, I want to comment on this desire to counter the narrative to ISIS. I worry about more narrative. I think political leaders should not compete with terrorist groups on what is religion and, in this case, what is Islam. They should stick to the business of governance – good governance that responds to the needs of its populace and, particularly, the aspiration of its young people – is ultimately the best CT measure that states can do. Thank you.

Dr Tim Huxley, Executive Director, IISS–Asia
Thank you very much, Nelly. I think that was extremely useful to, as you put it, look at this issue from a Middle East perspective. And something you said, I think, raised a question that I would like to put to General Miranda and General Zulkifeli, and this relates to this issue of intelligence exchange. I would like to ask you, do you think that you are benefiting from the sort of intense exchange of focused intelligence that you would ideally like to have within the region? Are your Southeast Asian partners and your wider international partners exchanging intelligence which you find is useful? Maybe General Miranda, you could say something on that.

Lieutenant General Glorioso Miranda, Acting Chief of Staff, Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippines
Yes, I did not bother elaborating it, but ladies and gentlemen, we have a very intensive coordination as far as intelligence is concerned. There are those that we cannot declare, of course, with my partners in ASEAN, and also with the foreign intelligence, that we have spoiled a lot of, I would say, threats, so to speak. As you recall, we just hosted the APEC last year, and the visit of the Pope, and there were really a real threat into that particular activity worldwide, for that matter. But we were able to spoil it. Over and above all of this one is that in as far as the Philippines is concerned, the command structure of the Abu Sayyaf we were able to reduce to, maybe, I would like to quantify it as 85%. The remaining 15%, I hope we can finish them before 30 June for the assumption of our new president.

Dr Tim Huxley, Executive Director, IISS–Asia
Thank you very much. General Zulkifeli?

General Tan Sri Dato’ Sri Dr Zulkifeli bin Mohd Zin, Chief of Defence Forces, Malaysia
Well, we have been aggressively engaging other members of the ASEAN armed forces, especially in the intelligence aspect on Daesh. We realise that intelligence is very important, and we have decided to go one step further, not only exchanging intelligence bilaterally, but all ASEAN J2s, the military-intelligence departments, decided to sit down with all the ten members of the J2 and discuss about this problem and exchange at a multilateral level. That is done within ASEAN. That is a clear manifestation of how serious we are looking at the threat of Daesh. If we do not act now, there will be a possibility of the fighters coming back, returning into this region and starting to network with one another, and will form up something like the Jemaah Islamiah. And that would create some problems in this region – in the countries – which might affect the economy of that particular country or the region because of the instability that has been created.

So, we are, at the moment, happy with the intelligence exchange or the interface with member countries, and we are also going beyond the ASEAN borders to get the experiences where we are having cooperation with many other countries in Europe which is facing the threat of Daesh, and also in the Middle East we are doing that. And we exchange this information with other members of the J2 of ASEAN member states, with our police and so on. So we have done a lot, but we wish to do more. We wish to do more. Thank you very much.

Dr Tim Huxley, Executive Director, IISS–Asia
Thank you very much, General Zulkifeli. We now have just over 30 minutes for questions and answers, and points from our delegates, and hopefully some discussion.

Fleur de Villiers, Chairman of the Trustees, IISS
Thank you. It will just be a quick question, and actually reprises a question that I asked in the plenary this morning, but I think it was perhaps misunderstood. A very senior member of the Singaporean administration said to me the day before yesterday that the greatest fear that they had was the imminent threat of terrorism in Singapore. And he said one of the problems that they faced was that although they regularly caught fighters intending to go to the Middle East and then returned them to their home country, the home country did not incarcerate but released them. And the country in question was Indonesia. So, that suggests that in this sort of web of cooperation, which you have referred to, has pretty large holes in it. To what extent can they be blocked?

Dr Tim Huxley, Executive Director, IISS–Asia
Thank you very much, Fleur. I suspect that part of the answer to that question is the difference in legislation between countries in the region, but we can come back to that. 

Fleur de Villiers, Chairman of the Trustees, IISS
Tim, that is a symptom, not an answer.

Professor Charithie Joaquin, Professor and Chief, Academic Affairs Division, National Defense College of the Philippines
To General Zulkifeli, I notice that you used the term Daesh in your presentation earlier, and I also remember the Malaysian Defence Minister also used the term Daesh instead of what the others had used, such as ISIS, ISIL or IS. Does this have any significance in your strategy for counter-terrorism? Thank you.

Shafqat Munir, Research Fellow, Bangladesh Institute for Peace and Security Studies
Thank you, Chair. I would like to compliment all the panellists for their very good presentations. I am Shafqat Munir from Bangladesh. I have a particular question to Sir Nicholas. I think one of the challenges that we face in our part of the world – South Asia, and there are quite a few South Asians in this room – is we are still trying to fashion a proper process for greater inter-agency coordination. So I was wondering if the United Kingdom offers any particular lessons which could be useful for Bangladesh and the wider region? And I think I see, we are very fortunate to have four out of the five FPDA chiefs of defence staff in this room. So I was also wondering if you could highlight some of the confidence-building measures, or the CV-related conversations that are happening under the rubric of the Five Power Defence Agreement. Thank you.

Piet de Klerk, Ambassador-at-Large; Special Counterrorism Envoy, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Netherlands
I would like to thank the panel for four fascinating presentations. I have a quick comment and a question. The comment is that I do not know anybody who sees fighting terrorism as a military problem, but the military component in this case is bigger because of the territory Daesh occupies. And I feel great concerns among politicians and military about the fact that this kinetic phase is over and the problem has not been solved. The question is: nearly all of presenters referred to earlier terrorist movements in the region, and my question is, are there thoughts about the difference between this phase of Daesh, or Daesh and earlier terrorist movements? Is it their international links, is it the use of social media, is it their greater cruelty, or you see other factors in which this phase of fighting terrorism is different from earlier phases? Thank you.

Prashanth Parameswaran, Associate Editor, The Diplomat
Thanks a lot. My two questions are for General Zulkifeli. First of all, I was wondering, regarding Malaysia’s role in the Saudi coalition that you stated, you mentioned there are various ideological and financial initiatives within that. I was wondering if you could be more specific, if you could, about Malaysia’s role within the Saudi coalition, how we are contributing and the like. And secondly, Malaysia is also part of the counter-ISIL coalition with the United States and a number of other countries there, and part of Malaysia’s efforts with the United States is the setting up of a counter-messaging centre that I think you mentioned as well. Could you maybe update us on what the status of that counter-messaging centre is, and what are some of the opportunities and some of the challenges that Malaysia has encountered when setting this up? Thanks.

S K Tripathi, Former Chief, Research and Analysis Wing, Cabinet Secretariat
Thank you, Mr Huxley. I am Sanjay Tripathi from India. First of all, I would like to compliment all of the panellists for an excellent presentation. What I gather from these presentations, that so far the trust has been on military solutions, and a lot of success has been achieved through international cooperation, intelligence sharing, etc. But again, I will like to emphasise that as long as the radicalisation of Muslims continues, the problem is likely to continue with up and downs on the ground situation. But I think the problem at ideological levels – I would seek the comment of the panellists – is a must for long-term solution, both in the cyberspace and on the ground. In cyberspace, there are a number of sites. One can destroy those sites, but there is hardly any site which counters the arguments given by the jihadists. So, progressive Muslims need to be encouraged to have sites which will religiously counter the arguments. Similarly, on the ground, I will say the holy book is the same, but it is the preacher in the mosque or teacher in the madrassa. If there is a radical element, he will interpret it in that manner, and if he is a progressive Islamist, then of course the interpretation will be different. So on the ground as well as in cyberspace much more needs to be done in this area. This is what I feel, and I will seek your views on that.

Dr Tim Huxley, Executive Director, IISS–Asia
Thank you very much. Well, we have six questions there. So maybe I can ask our panellists to respond in reverse order, starting with Nelly?

Dr Nelly Lahoud, Senior Fellow for Political Islamism, IISS–Middle East
Thank you. I will answer regarding the ideological, and why is ISIS different. On the ideological side it is different: it wants to build a state. The jihadis before, they want to reject the world order of nation-states; they want to bring down the unjust world order, but they do not want to build one of their own. So if I were to really put it succinctly, if we look at what al-Qaeda wanted to do, it was a movement that is idealistic that ‘we are prepared to die for the cause’. ISIS wants to kill for the cause, and the difference is important other than the state. On a practical aspect, it is less sophisticated in terms of carrying out attacks. So they really jump for opportunities and so on. We saw, for example, in the Indonesia attack, had they been better trained they could have caused more casualties. You could say the same thing about the attacks in France. They got to a stadium where thousands of people were there, and out of six operations, all they got were just under 120 people. So the sophistication is not there, but that makes them unpredictable and so on.

With respect to the ideological battle, I want to go back to my point earlier, this countering narrative. I do think it is a problem to keep making more narrative than already is. When far-right groups carry out terrorist operations in the United States or in Europe, we do not see Western countries mobilising their Christian theologians to teach them about peaceful Christian teachings. Why is it that somehow – and I realise that there is a great deal of good intention on the part of Western countries in terms of wanting to counter the narrative – but I also worry that Muslim-majority states are falling for these good intentions by Western countries and non-Muslim countries, as if they really need to re-examine what Islam is, and so on. So that is why I do not think that having more narrative is helpful. And those who are being mobilised to join jihadi groups, religion is the means towards this but it is really not the actual cause. These are not people who are eager to start with theological lessons and so on, so that is why I am a little bit more cautious on the ideological narrative.

Dr Tim Huxley, Executive Director, IISS–Asia
Thank you, Nelly. Could I ask you one specific question? In looking at the ideology of some of the groups in Southeast Asia, it is apparent that an end-of-time narrative is quite important. How important is that in the overall ideology of the Islamic State in the Middle East?

Dr Nelly Lahoud, Senior Fellow for Political Islamism, IISS–Middle East
It is there tangentially, but not really that strong. The title Dabiq obviously has this apocalyptic aspect. But in the statements of its leaders, they have not really focused as much on this. I know that it is part of what people hear, ‘Join the fight’, but that is not the only thing. I think the real issue at the beginning, why people flooded, is that I think Daesh’s success … was its success at the beginning. So if you want to think about it in terms of, if religion was their motivating factor, they would be forgiven if they thought initially that God was fighting on their side, because the incompetence of their enemies and of their adversaries was so shocking that they were winning – I mean the fall of Mosul and other cities. So it seemed as if they were unstoppable, and so, yes, God was on their side, but now it seems that God might have changed his mind. So for those who have actually joined the fight along these lines, if this is the demographic, then maybe they are reconsidering this, and this is actually evident in al-Adnani’s last statements, because it seems that they are struggling with foreign fighters at the moment.

Lieutenant General Glorioso Miranda, Acting Chief of Staff, Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippines
Well, I can only speak in the context of our region, and I hope to speak specifically on Southern Mindanao. Indeed, jihadists or jihad are not new to us. In as far as my personal recollection is concerned, obviously I was involved, this has been declared in 2000 during the offensive, and indeed in all the aspects, in all the corners, as we do the offensive jihad has been declared, and they shouted it from every corner. And at the end of the day, it failed to gain any support or ground. So therefore, I would say that jihad has no place in as far as the context of Philippine terrorism is concerned.

Now, respective to the persistence of having themselves affiliated or accredited with ISIS, I do believe that this is a desperate move on their part, because as you can see, they are waning in one way or the other, and so they would like to get other support or associate themselves, have it accredited for a more internationally recognised, so to speak, organisations, one of which we are speaking of right now, the ISIS or Daesh, no matter how you call it.

Now if I may, back to the military solution, definitely I am saying while indeed the best cards that we have right now is the military, and as far as Philippines is concerned, but we believe, and I do believe, that it is not entirely a military solution. We are combating here the society. We need to establish or strengthen our governance. It is an inter-agency, so to speak. At least at this point, I can only speak within the context of our local environment, so with this I would like to urge other countries to support us in this particular thing. It is the development of the society, they are the host; the al-Qaeda, the Abu Sayyaf, they are the virus. We eliminate the host, we educate the host, and so therefore the virus will not thrive. Thank you very much.

General Sir Nicholas Houghton, Chief of the Defence Staff, United Kingdom
Thanks. Not all of the questions were personally to me. I think, just on Fleur’s question, even though it was not particularly directed at me, I think I rather agree with Tim. I mean, you described it as a symptom, but it is a fact. Domestic law differentiates in countries, as does it in the United Kingdom, and the differentiation of what is a threshold of evidence for legal proceedings and incarceration is quite difficult, and it has gotten us into plenty of trouble with many of our Arab friends. I do actually think that that is a problem, and I am not certain how you bring around a sort of international standard of domestic law for the purpose of treating returned terrorists. I think it is perhaps bigger than you might have indicated.

Just a UK perspective on the term Daesh – and actually I have used both Daesh and ISIS in what I have said – from a UK perspective, the government position now is to use Daesh, and even though – and understand that I am not an Arabist – even though the formal translation is Islamic State, the nature of the word Daesh comes with a sort of an overtone of – John, help me out – of something that is downtrodden. And so there is an element of the counter-narrative, if you like, that Daesh is a more pejorative term, and that is why I think, now, the British government has been – and I do not know whether General Zulkifeli will comment for himself.

But the process for greater inter-agency coordination – I agree, and I think perhaps there is more that we can pass out on this. I certainly think that within the counter-information, counter-finance, the seamless nature of intelligence from our overseas intelligence agency to our domestic and the sharing of that is now a far more refined process. The degree to which it is refined internationally is still a work in progress because there are different levels of competence, but I think that certainly within Europe there is a very advanced desire to bring the professionalisation of sharing intelligence to a very much better and more refined level. You mentioned the FPDA; the FPDA clearly is not a military alliance, it is an arrangement. It does not touch at all on the issue of countering radicalisation or extremism. If it leans into anything it is more a collective desire for mutual and collective security, and the support of the international rules-based order. But no part of its agenda extends into this particular area.

And the phase that Daesh is in and what is different, I do think in terms of phases it is turning now into more of a pure terrorist than a conventional phase. I think actually, as was indicated, the physical caliphate is being destroyed. It has lost 40% of its territory. I would agree with the fact that it is therefore losing some of its irresistible appeal, because the sense of irresistible momentum is being reversed. But if you now look at some of the techniques it is using most recently, dare I say within Baghdad – the delivery of vehicle-borne IEDs to terrorise the population – it is more now into a terrorist rather than conventional phase, and I sense that that will continue. I do not see the long-term survival of the caliphate because of undermining its economy and undermining elements of its message, and I think that the physical grinding of that bit through conventional military means will ensue.

And then the final one, counter-messaging: well, I would just absolutely agree with that. I do find myself – although I have seen lots of nodding heads … because the business about indulging in a counter-narrative – now, I do not necessarily say this is something that, sort of, the UK government should do, other than in that element of the counter-narrative, if you like – is domestically delegitimising some of our domestic population. That is part and parcel of our government strategy. But to deny the fact that there is an ideological dimension to Daesh, I think, flies in the face of most of the mainstream thinking. But I would buy into the point that things like the physical destruction of the caliphate undermines it, and certainly undermines the attraction of it from a recruiting perspective. But I would still go back to my point that we need to separate out the declining potency of Daesh from the irreconcilable nature of some of the underlying problems, part of which is ideological and part of which is, frankly, political. Because if you actually look at Iraq, Libya, Syria, even once Daesh has gone, the underlying political state of those countries is so fractured that that is a more significant, potentially long-term problem.

General Tan Sri Dato’ Sri Dr Zulkifeli bin Mohd Zin, Chief of Defence Forces, Malaysia
Thank you very much. Sir Nicholas, thank you for answering, but I would like to add. We take a position of using Daesh rather than ISIS or ISIL, but basically Daesh is in Arabic, which means ad-Dawlah al-Islāmiyah fīl-ʿIrāq wash-Shām, so the acronym is Daesh. And it just so happens that Daesh is a word in Arabic which means a group of bad people who would like to impose their will on others. So, that is Daesh.

And on the FPDA, we have transcend into, because we realise that terrorism is a threat. We are now embarking on exercises, training, on counter-terrorism among the FPDA members. The Malaysian role in the Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition is that we realised we will be able to benefit from this coalition in terms of what is the counter-narrative. You see, in order to provide the counter-narrative on the narrative of the Daesh, there is no better country than the Muslim countries which get together under this coalition. And to counter all the narratives of the misrepresentation of the Islamic texts, it is under this coalition that we will be able to get the Muslim country member states to get together, and we have the – I would say – authority to do that, and we must package it up as such so that it will attract the younger generations. And of course why we are in there is that we will be able to share the experience, the knowledge, the information and the intelligence that we get from this part of the world, because I personally think that with the existence of the Katibah Nusuntara, probably the ISIS or Daesh grand strategy is to establish a sub-caliphate within this region, comprising southern Philippines, Indonesia, Brunei, Malaysia and southern Thailand. I would not know. Singapore would be right in the centre. And just imagine, for a small state, if we have got this threat, what will it do to the prospect of the economy of that particular country? Foreign direct investment will not come in unless this is clearly no longer a threat.

So these are the things that we are very concerned of. The establishment of the Jemaah Islamiah caused quite a substantial problem within this region. Well, we work with other countries, too, in Europe, in France, in the US on counter-terrorism. It is just basically sharing of expedient information and courses of action to be taken.

The counter-messaging centre is being established. We are now looking at a few other counter-messaging centres that has been established in this war, and we would like to replicate that in Malaysia to cover this region. And on the madrassa and so on, yes, it is acknowledged that this was discussed under the coalition. You see, in Muslim African states, their law of madrassa does not come under the purview of the government. It is privately run and financed, and it is subjected to extremist religious teaching. So what we have done in Malaysia is that we have taken over this madrassa under the government, where the government will provide better scholarships and start to teach academic subjects which will be relevant for them, besides their religious teaching, so that they can progress and find a career in the future. If a madrassa has 100 students and it is all religious teaching, you will not be able to get jobs. My country does not need 1,000 imams, so we have got to look into this. And under this coalition, one of the things is that we share experience, and there will be countries who are willing to provide support and aid in order to bring this madrassa under government control where it can be regulated, where it can be assured that the proper Islamic teaching can be done. So those are the benefits. There are many more benefits but that is what I would like to share with you. Thank you very much.

Dr Tim Huxley, Executive Director, IISS–Asia
Thank you very much, General. Now I know Nelly would like to come back and join in the discussion again. Yes, of course.

Dr Nelly Lahoud, Senior Fellow for Political Islamism, IISS–Middle East
Thank you, I do want to address one point. I was not trying to suggest that ideology does not matter. That is what I do for a living, so my job is also at stake here. But I do think it is very important to understand how ideology matters, why it matters and, very importantly, when it does not matter. And I think in this respect – this is very important – so when we are talking about violent radicalism, sometimes the idea of having theologians, enlisting them in that debate, this may not necessarily be helpful. Based on my general readings of ideological texts and so on, I have come to the conclusion that many jihadis – and I am not talking about the ideologues here, but I am talking about the lower-level jihadis – they join jihad not because they want to become better Muslims, but they become more Muslim because they want to join jihad. So really it is the adventure here that is more important rather than the religion. I have been told that the anti-smoking campaign in the 1960s was not successful until the anti-smoking campaign began giving young people the opportunity to be radical. If you were to ask me what is most productive for countering the jihadi narrative, I think more radicalism is probably more productive so long as this radicalism is not violent. So let us give the young the space to be radical without being violent, and maybe they will turn away from religion and other matters and away from Daesh and other groups. Thank you.

Dr Tim Huxley, Executive Director, IISS–Asia
Thank you very much, Nelly. Well, we had a good discussion. I am afraid that we are only a few minutes away from our time limit now, so I am going to take the executive decision that we will need to close this session soon, I am afraid, without the second round of questions. I apologise to those who would have liked to have made points or asked questions, but we really do not have time to give everyone a proper go, and then to have more responses from the panel. But I would like to ask our panellists, are there any of you three gentlemen who would like to have the last word, or the penultimate word?

Ladies and gentlemen, just a couple of quotes on what went on. It is not a big argument. Islam is 1,437 years old. Islam did not burn people, did not throw people off buildings, did not go to Aleppo, did not go to Palmyra, did not go to Babylon and destroy the ruins that were there. Very simple and very easy: if the scholars did not say it, the scholars did not need to say it. What people need to see is what the Prophet Muhammad and all the Khalifas that came after that. So let us end at the very end of the Turkish or Ottoman caliphate. They did not destroy Palmyra, they did not destroy ruins, they did not burn people. They did not, they did not, they did not. Islam did not. So let us please not link Daesh to Islam. I beg you, do not. Go back to history, look at what Islam is doing in history. They did not burn, they did not kill the way Daesh is killing. They did not ruin, and they did not destroy buildings like Daesh did. This is one point.

Second point I would like to make is, Dr Lahoud, you were absolutely right. Why did the spokesman for Daesh, Abu Muhammad al-Adnani, say that we are losing people? It is because this message is getting there, that the Prophet did not do that, that the Khalifas after him did not do that. That is the trigger, that is what they are hearing, that is what they are listening to. And just a small quote on what you said about why is there not a wilayah in Asia? A wilayah needs money, number one. Wilayah needs a different space, where in that country people are fighting each other. It is not happening here in Asia. Wilayah needs an Arabic-speaking person. Very simple. One quote I would just ask, and probably Sir Nicholas would take it back and answer you, and I would let you think about this. Why is it that Daesh was not attacked in their money business – oil? Not in Raqqa, not in Iraq. The oil installations were not hit. That is why they were spending money. They were able to buy people, they were able to buy wilayahs outside of Iraq and Syria. Beiji was not hit until last year, after the Paris attacks. Why? Militarily, why? Why did you not hit Daesh in Beiji? Why was it three days after Paris attacks? Thank you, sir, for mentioning the importance of not neglecting your partners and your friends and allies who are closer to the region. Thank you again, General, for yielding your time for me. Thank you.

Dr Tim Huxley, Executive Director, IISS–Asia
Thank you very much. I think that is a good note on which to end this session. Thank you all very much for participating, and thank you most of all to our four panellists. 

Managing South China Sea Tensions

As Delivered

Adam Ward, Director of Studies, IISS
Good ladies and gentlemen, I would like to call this session to order. This special session is devoted to the subject of Managing South China Sea Tensions. My name is Adam Ward, I am Director of Studies of the IISS; I am going to be chairing this discussion. I think this topic, if nothing else, is going to be a great antidote to jet lag, or brain ache. It has been a long day already but I think this will get us crossing the finish line with some tempo.

Now, the South China Sea disputes have, of course, assumed a certain dominance in regional security preoccupations, as discussions at the Shangri‑La Dialogue so far have made very clear. The disputes themselves are highly complicated, they are intricate, they are historical, they are often lacking in clarity but their wider strategic significance is, I think, all too clear.

At the opening IISS press conference yesterday a question was posed by a journalist as to whether this region really faced a risk of major conflict. And in reflecting on that question, one can point to some of the necessary ingredients of conflict risk, many of which do appear to converge on the situation as we see it in the South China Sea.

We are looking at a set of zero‑sum territorial and sovereignty disputes, prosecuted with some vehemence; nationalist impulses that demand satisfaction and, in their absolutist character, tend to preclude negotiation and compromise; a militarisation of the disputes by various claimants, putting in place capabilities and postures intended to deter, but also providing, if necessary, the ability to coerce in a wider regional context of rapid and advancing military modernisation across the board; an action–reaction dynamic which resembles the features of a classic security-dilemma trap, where bilateral and multilateral negotiations have yielded no significant results and where the validity and legitimacy of outside third‑party mediation and arbitration is not universally accepted; where claimants and other parties see themselves as having to uphold an inviolable principle, whether it is national sovereignty or whether it is freedom of navigation, as well as urgent practical interests, whether that is domestic political legitimacy or credibility with allies; where regional security institutions have failed, so far, to impose themselves meaningfully on the problem but in which the whole, rather existential question of the future shape of the regional order is seen to be, centrally, part of the stakes, as are a wide set of international norms and institutions hitherto considered to be universal in their applicability and pressures to all.

So these are, indeed, all necessary ingredients of conflict risk but, happily, they are not sufficient ones. They can be overridden, provided that a degree of strategic restraint is present. And in this session, we should discuss how that restraint can, practically and pragmatically, be produced. In an Adelphi book on the subject of the South China Sea produced by the IISS some years ago, some of the components of that restraint were alluded to but that might help. One of those is the clarification of claims, which, as I have noted, are often complex, convoluted and a destabilising factor in their own right. One could ensure that national militaries are not given an overly privileged role in the setting of policies and in the shaping of national action. It is important for political leaderships to work to constrain nationalist forces, not fuel or placate them, and it is important for all leaderships to properly contextualise the disputes, setting them in the wider, longer-term context of strategic interests over the long term.

Now, it is clear that, as a principle, it is incumbent on the largest and most powerful countries to demonstrate a degree of leadership and forbearance in view of all of the stakes involved, but it is also incumbent on the smaller countries not to act in a way that might be judged to be provocative or to make excessive demands of others to demonstrate their credibility on certain issues.

Now, those are some principles but there may be more; the question is how, operationally, to enforce strategic restraint and risk management. It will have political dimensions, it will have an economic dimension, a military one, certainly a legal one. What are the instruments, the mechanisms and the operations by which restraint, in this part of the world, on these issues, can be institutionalised?

So those are some of the questions that I think we should address ourselves to today. We have an excellent panel to guide us through this subject. We still start with Senior Lieutenant General Professor Dr Bui Van Nam, who is Vice Minister at the Ministry of Public Security in Vietnam. He is somebody who has a background as a political scientist. He has been a Party chief for the northern province of Ninh Bình and he is now at the Ministry of Public Security, having also a background in important intelligence responsibilities.

Then we will hear from Major General Yao Yunzhu, from the Academy of Military Science of the People’s Liberation Army in China. General Yao has been a frequent and a steadfast participant to the Shangri‑La Dialogue and in the Fullerton Forum, and her interventions and comments are certainly always compelling and interesting to listen to.

On Friday, we had a launch of an IISS report on the role of the European Union in Asia and particularly Southeast Asian defence and security matters, and therefore we can see that Dr Michael Reiterer, who is the Principal Adviser on Asia at the European External Action Service, leapt into the breach of the most sensitive issue in this part of the world with alacrity already.

And the final speaker will be Robert Beckman, who is Director at the Centre for International Law at the National University of Singapore and he is head of its programme on oceans law and policy.

So we have a diverse group of people, with important perspectives. Vice Minister Nam is going to make his remarks in Vietnamese; you should therefore don the headset if you do not speak that language and select channel number one in order to hear his talk. We have asked the speakers in each case to make roughly eight minutes or so of introductory remarks and then we will move over to the Q&A. Thank you very much and Minister Nam, over to you.

Lieutenant General Professor Dr Bui Van Nam, Vice Minister, Ministry of Public Security, Vietnam
First of all, I would like to express my sincere thanks to the Director of the IISS for inviting me to this Shangri‑La Dialogue. I highly appreciate the agenda of this dialogue which covers in-depth and practical regional security and defence issues.

Ladies and gentlemen, the issue of the South China Sea is, in some ways, hyper‑critically important to international maritime and aviation routes. As a result, peace and security in the East Sea are essential to the peace and security in the region and the globe at large. However, the situation in the East Sea has been evolving with complexity and tension which may, if without being properly managed and resolved, amplify latent risks of instability, conflicts, infringing upon sovereignty, interests, politics, security, economy and trade of stakeholders. If a conflict is the case, the stakeholders will all be losers, which each of us would not desire.

In this connection, the unilateral actions have been altering the status quo of the East Sea, running counter to the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) and international law, raising tensions, eroding trust and confidence, and threatening peace and security.

The current situation has itself posed an urgent requirement on the related countries to refrain from and stop all unilateral acts, pursuing non‑militarisation, dialogue and negotiating joint management of the dispute. This will formulate the COC, faithfully respecting international diplomatic progress and legal proceedings, constructively taking measures to build strategic trust and promote preventive diplomacy.

We are all actively welcoming and supporting all legal, positive efforts and actions by all countries involved to contribute to peace and security in the region, freedom of navigation, maritime safety, submarine safety under the seas, maritime environmental safety in the seas, aerial safety and cyber security in the air. We are strongly committed to actively working with other ASEAN and EAS countries to ensure regional security through such effective regional and international forums as the EAS, ADMM, ADMM+ and ARF and to display our consensus among ASEAN countries as well as the central role of ASEAN in East Sea-related issues.

All stakeholder parties should actively seek practical tools to restrain the risks of collision on the sea, for instance: establishment of hot lines, agreement on the codes of conduct on unexpected emergencies and unforeseeable incidents, and the most recent proposal of joint marine patrol by naval and law enforcement forces of ASEAN countries. We lay emphasis on the conformity to the established rules to practically prevent arm clashes on the sea, on the air over the sea, and in the water under the sea (including the incidents related to seabed, marine environment, operation of military submarines).

All parties involved should attach more importance to the international cooperation mechanisms and models in less sensitive areas and activities on the sea, for example: marine scientific researches, marine environment protection; response to disasters, natural calamities and joint marine search and rescue; joint coordination to deal with such emerging types of marine crimes in the region as piracy, sea robbery, human trafficking, people smuggling, illegal migration, etc.

We are supportive of information sharing and exchange in a proactive, vigorous manner among ASEAN countries and with such relevant parties and countries as the US, China, Japan, Russia, South Korea, Australia and India, with the ultimate aim to maintain peace and security in Southeast Asia and the Asia-Pacific.

Lastly, management of East Sea tensions is a significant issue that requires all countries, both inside and outside the region, and appeals not only governments but also scholars, researchers, experts and specialists to work together, act jointly in a substantial and sincere fashion towards the construction of a peaceful, sustainable and prosperous region. Thank you for your attention.

Adam Ward, Director of Studies, IISS
Thank you very much. You did not use up all of your allotted time, which I think is impressive. But I think you mentioned the importance of freedom of navigation, ASEAN-centred institutions, the importance of instruments like codes of conduct and you alluded to a number of areas where regional cooperation might be possible. General Yao?

Major General Yao Yunzhu, Senior Fellow, Academy of Military Science, People’s Liberation Army, China
Thank you. Many friends have told me that I would be on the hottest seat this afternoon, at this session on the South China Sea. And for the whole morning I have been listening to the plenary speeches and the most frequently used phrase is rule‑based international order, rule‑based maritime order and the freedom of navigation, the freedom of overflight. So it has been the hot topic in global media, freedom of navigation, and a catchphrase in government policy statements recently, but I have a few points to offer.

Firstly, when we talk about freedom of navigation in the South China Sea, we have to be very clear that there are several kinds of disputes in the South China Sea and there are very different disputing parties. And they may or may not have anything to do with freedom of navigation. The first kind of dispute is over islands and reefs, the land features and related territorial and other maritime rights. These disputes are among five nations and six parties; by six parties, I mean Chinese Taiwan. They have overlapping claims over land features and they have conflicting claims over related fishing rights and underwater resources which have, in the past, triggered confrontational activities between and among fishermen and the law-enforcement forces of the claimants. These are territorial disputes which are irrelevant with freedom of navigation.

The second kind of dispute is over whether foreign military ships and aircraft should carry out reconnaissance and surveillance activities against a coastal state in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of that same coastal state. In the South China Sea, such disputes are primarily between China and the USA. The USA’s intelligence‑gathering activities are growing in frequency and in density in the air, on the surface and underwater in Chinese EEZ for more than a decade. Even though China and the USA each have different interpretations of the relevant articles regarding EEZ rights, the disputes are mainly about military reconnaissance and counter‑reconnaissance. They have in no way impeded shipping or any flow of goods in the South China Sea. In the morning sessions I heard a lot about the importance of the South China Sea as international waterways and the huge amount and the percentages of goods and shipping over the South China Sea, and that is related with freedom of navigation but this has nothing to do with the kinds of disputes so far I have mentioned.

The third kind of dispute is over the freedom-of-navigation operations recently conducted by US warships and military aircraft which sail within 12 nautical miles of some land features, even the Nansha and Xisha – that is, the Spratly and Paracel – islands, or fly over them. This is a dispute between the USA and almost all the South China Sea claimants, including China, Vietnam, Malaysia and Chinese Taiwan. The freedom-of-navigation operations are aimed to challenge the coastal states’ ‘excessive maritime claims’, as phrased by the Pentagon official papers. And in the particular case in the South China Sea, the freedom-of-navigation operations are aimed to challenge the request for prenotification and preconsent before transiting territorial waters or doing military exercises in the EEZ.

In addition to the above‑mentioned coastal states neighbouring the South China Sea, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Indonesia all have made the similar request in their respective national laws. So let me talk about laws; we have different laws. And the USA has carried out freedom-of-navigation operations not only in the South China Sea but also in the Mediterranean, in the Red Sea, in the Caribbean Sea and such disputes exist between the USA and coastal states all over the world. Apparently, the USA and those coastal states interpret freedom of navigation in very different ways. The USA, as of today, has signed but not ratified the UNCLOS, the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, which laid the foundation for the current, rules‑based maritime order. Therefore, the question is, who has the right to impose an interpretation and to take responsibility to enforce that interpretation of the international rules and norms?

I will very briefly speak about China’s approach to the three kinds of disputes. To solve the territorial disputes, China advocates peaceful talks and negotiations through bilateral frameworks and China had successful experience with that. In 2000, China had solved its territorial EEZ and continental-shelf issue in the Tonkin Gulf with Vietnam through negotiations. China and the Republic of Korea (ROK) have started negotiations on maritime demarcation and so far they have had two rounds of talks. Based on such successful experience, there is no reason why China cannot solve its territory disputes with other claimants in the South China Sea.

For the second kind of disputes, the reconnaissance and the counter-reconnaissance, China is strongly opposed to the USA’s military activities in the Chinese EEZ and has requested a halt to all of them because such activities are not to satisfy pure human curiosity; they have a military purpose and they show hostilities to a coastal state by a maritime power and the coastal state might take these activities as a kind of battlefield preparation. China wants the due regards to its national security, which is written in UNCLOS, the rule-based due regards. I do not think, whatever it means, it does not mean what the USA is doing up there. In the meantime, to avoid collisions and close-ups, the Chinese military have set up crisis-management mechanisms with its US counterparts, and two years ago some memoranda of understanding (MOUs) were signed on the rules of behaviour for the safety of the air and maritime encounters, so that whenever they meet, they operate in a safe and a standardised manner. However, so long as these activities continue, the possibility of crisis exists.

For the third kind of disputes, China has said many times that freedom of navigation in the South China Sea is not in trouble at all. The USA-defined freedom of navigation is for warships not to take the broad [inaudible] waterway but to sail in the territorial waters and to do all kinds of military things in the EEZ of coastal states, without prenotification and preconsent. Whether it should be the rules, norms to do so is not for the USA to say, it is for all the relevant parties to discuss and to agree to. I do not think any state has the right to impose its own understanding of freedom of navigation as a universal rule and to label those who do not agree as a default violator of freedom of navigation, or even a violator of the rule-based international maritime order.

Lastly, just one small thing, that is, China is the largest stakeholder in the freedom of navigation in the South China Sea. China is the largest trader; it moves 90% of its trade over the sea and 86% moves through the South China Sea. China is the largest crude oil importer; 90% of its oil is shipped over the sea; China is the largest shipbuilder and has the largest shipping fleet in the world. I just cannot think of any reason why China should impede freedom of navigation, especially in the South China Sea. Thank you.

Adam Ward, Director of Studies, IISS

Thank you very much for that very careful presentation. It would be interesting to see whether other panellists share your sense of the way in which these various disputes need to be categorised in that triumvirate way, and I am sure there would also be interest in the room in hearing China’s attitude towards the forthcoming ruling in the Court of Arbitration in the Philippine case; if it goes against China, how and by what means will China demonstrate that it does not regard such a ruling as legitimate? And would that include activities in respect of the Scarborough Shoal, would it include the declaration of an ADIZ in the South China Sea? So you might just prepare yourself for a question along those lines in a little while.

Dr Michael Reiterer, Principal Adviser, Asia and the Pacific, European External Action Service, European Union
Well, thank you very much. I think it is my pleasure to talk about the position of the European Union. I think it is significant that we are invited to take the floor and I take it as a recognition that it is also recognised that we have a stake in the security of the region, because I am convinced that security has become indivisible.

I must say, for me, it was interesting because, when I was a student, at the beginning of the 1980s and studying international relations, international law, I had to deal with something very new and that was UNCLOS at the time. And what I learned at the time was this is the codification of the existing law of the sea, that land dominates the sea is the principle of UNCLOS and that was established after long and tedious negotiations. I also learned that sea was not exclusively a domain reserved for littoral states but, according to different zones but then especially to the high seas, it was the common heritage of mankind, including its use. I learned about the freedom of navigation and overflight for all and the need to jointly manage shared resources. I learned that UNCLOS was not about sovereignty and – for lawyers, very important – that UNCLOS brought a new and innovative approach to dispute settlement in making it compulsory.

Now, 35 years later, I find myself working for an institution with 28 member states which have all signed UNCLOS, and – the European Union (EU), which has signed UNCLOS – and collectively, the EU disposes of the largest EEZ in the world, at 380% of the landmass of the EU.

So just, perhaps, also to recap, subscribing to legal regimes, adhering to international law and supporting its implementation through due legal processes, through diplomacy, makes the essence of EU foreign policy. In addition to these reasons of principle, the EU is the largest economic trade and investor worldwide, on aggregate, and is therefore deeply involved in and with Asia. The trans-Pacific trade already, for some time, outperforms the transatlantic trade for the European Union, so we have a large share in the five trillion trade passing, annually, through the South China Sea. Economic, financial and political engagement leads, necessarily, to security engagement and, as I said at the beginning, security has become indivisible. I think it is useful to recall that element, and therefore the EU has a material interest even in an area which appears – only on a superficial view – far apart. And I think what also makes an interest in the collective interest of nearly everybody in the room, UNCLOS is applicable worldwide. I have sometimes the view, or the impression, that we look at it a little bit myopically, as if UNCLOS would only play a role in the South China Sea. I think we have to step back a little bit and see that UNCLOS gives rights and duties worldwide because it is a worldwide treaty under the UN regime, and that might perhaps help us a little bit to have a more distant view.

In preparation for today’s meeting, I looked through quite a few statements and declarations in which the EU was involved in the last few weeks or months and there I have seen a high degree of consistency; some of you might think, ‘For once’, but here I am convinced. There is a consistency in all the statements in advocating the following principles: focus on the rule of law; asking for the clarification of the base for any claims in accordance with international law; advocating dispute settlement by diplomatic or judicial means, including arbitration, and if you go down that route you also have to accept the outcome. If we get into a system, if you only accept the outcome if you like it, well, the lawyers amongst us know that is not the case because if you decide, normally, the win–win solutions are a little bit difficult. And the EU is always advocating self-restraint. It underlines the importance of confidence‑building measures and conflict prevention, conflict management and is ready to offer mediation and it has always encouraged finding a solution in the region in encouraging that China and ASEAN find, as quickly as possible, a legally binding code of conduct.

All that, I think, we have encapsulated very recently in a declaration which was published by the high representative on 11 March as a statement of the EU 28, which means that all 28 member states of the EU are behind that statement and the principles of that statement.

In preparing, I had already written down, a few days earlier, that we have a sort of policy of principled neutrality, so I am joining the principle here. But, coming from a neutral country myself, neutrality does not mean that you do not have an opinion. On the contrary, I think in our case it means having a very strong opinion on the need to pursue and implement the rule of law, while being neutral on the outcome of a procedure because that is up to the judges to decide. And also, as I have said from the very beginning, UNCLOS is not above sovereignty, so we do not take a view on the sovereignty involved, because sovereignty issues can be decided by another court – in The Hague, the International Court of Justice – but that you can only get once both parties agree; that is a big difference between UNCLOS and another regime, but if you sign up to UNCLOS, you sign up to the whole of UNCLOS.

Well, if you think that is the usual European approach, a lot of words and no deeds, well, I think it is not true because, also, if I look at the use member states have made of UNCLOS, it is quite impressive. I have quite a long list where member states of the EU have made use of UNCLOS, have made use of the dispute-settlement procedures. We have also sought from the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea the advisory opinion on illegal and unregulated and unreported fishing. The EU is engaged in the UN to shape ocean governance. Within the context of the G77, there is talk about biodiversity and beyond national borders, which has a link with the marine environment, which is also a very important feature. We have developed EU regional sea-basin strategies, which I think could also be relevant in this area. And all that, I think, is neatly encapsulated and put together in the maritime-security strategy, which was published in 2014 and, in order not to remain just a strategy, it has also an action plan which goes with it.

I would also like to underline that the EU practises the joint management of shared resources, especially through what we call our common fisheries policies, which comprises the protection as well as the exploitation of species, which is notorious for not respecting national borders.

Therefore, the EU is also ready to share this experience and contribute to related capacity‑building, like we have already done several times in high‑level dialogues with ASEAN. And there the EU is ready to engage also if the issue is sensitive. And I think we have shown that in the past, in a completely different context when the EU, together with ASEAN, was engaged in the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR).

The EU is part of various networks in Asia, like in the ASEAN Regional Forum, and we have signed up, in 2012, to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation, I think, which also gives us, in addition to the political, economic and financial interest, which I have tried to explain, another legal stake in dealing with that issue in addition to being signatories to UNCLOS.

So, based on the European experience in integration and peacebuilding, the EU advocates and performs a law‑based, cooperative diplomacy without the threat or use of force and that is certainly something which we would continue. And I think this is also one of the features which is missing here in that area, and we are very happy to contribute according to these principles because I think, as we are convinced, that as there is no overarching security structure here in Asia, this principle can make a contribution and we are ready to help along these lines. Thank you very much.

Adam Ward, Director of Studies, IISS
Thanks very much indeed for that description of the characteristics of UNCLOS, EU attitudes towards it and the way in which it has in fact been used by the EU in the recent past and how that might in fact be transferred to practices in this part of the world. Robert Beckman, please.

Robert Beckman, Director, Centre for International Law, National University of Singapore
Thank you very much. It is my pleasure to be invited to the Shangri‑La Dialogue and it is an honour to be on this panel.

I do not have any prepared remarks, so I will respond to the remarks by the other speakers. First, with respect to territorial sovereignty, I would disagree with my colleague from EU in one respect. UNCLOS does have something to say about territorial sovereignty. UNCLOS says the land dominates the sea; UNCLOS says you can make maritime claims from land territory and that includes islands, and it defines an island as a naturally formed area of land surrounded by and above water at high tide. Therefore, if you accept UNCLOS, you cannot claim sovereignty over low‑tide elevations, you cannot claim sovereignty over seabed and you cannot claim sovereignty over the water, except in the territorial sea surrounding an island. So, in that sense, sovereignty claims are governed by UNCLOS.

What is not governed by UNCLOS is how to determine who has the better claim to an offshore island, or to a piece of territory; that is governed by principles of international law that cannot be raised in a dispute under the UNCLOS dispute‑settlement mechanism. Like in the Pedra Branca case, between Singapore and Malaysia, two states can agree to go to an international forum and ask them to determine who has the better claim to sovereignty.

Now, the second point is the status of features under UNCLOS, whether a particular insular feature, or a geographic feature, whatever you want to call it, is an island entitled to a 12‑mile territorial sea, a 200‑mile economic zone and a continental shelf. That is an UNCLOS provision and that is something on which a tribunal can rule, on the status of a feature and the entitlement of that feature to a maritime zone. That is not in any way excluded from the dispute-settlement system, and that is being dealt with in the Philippine–China case.

Another issue that we should understand is the economic-zone concept. The economic zone is one of the critically important compromises in the Law of the Sea; as the name suggests, it is an economic zone. It gives a state not sovereignty but the sovereign right to explore and exploit the natural resources in the zone between 12 and 200 nautical miles. In all other respects, the rules on the high seas on jurisdiction and freedoms apply in the economic zone. It is true, in exercising freedoms a state must have due regard, but it does not say due regard to the security interests of the coastal state; it says due regard to the rights and obligations of the coastal state under the Convention, because the security interests of the coastal state stop at the 12‑mile limit. The waters beyond 12 miles, the economic zone, the argument would be – and I think an argument I would support is – that the military uses are perfectly permissible. That was the understanding under the Convention. That includes reconnaissance activities.

Now I will come back and I will criticise the Americans. I am a former American, by the way, I am a Singaporean now. I un‑friended the Americans a few years ago. On freedom-of-navigation operations, in this respect I agree with Major General Yao in many respects. This is really not about freedom of navigation and overflight; why do we not be honest on what we are talking about? This is about the freedom to conduct military activities, high‑seas freedoms beyond the 12‑mile limit, and it is about the freedom to exercise navigation rights within the 12‑mile limit. So it is not just overflight and freedom of navigation, it is navigation rights and high‑seas freedoms, including the right to use the high seas for military purposes and the economic zone for military purposes.

So I think part of the confusion is Americans use the term ‘freedom of navigation’ as a term of art and they have a special meaning to it, but in Asia and many other parts of the world, people have different meanings for what freedom of navigation means. It might mean a vessel to navigate on the high seas, but we are talking about reconnaissance, or other military operations, not freedom of navigation as such. So I think a clear understanding – and it is very interesting to me, listening this morning, I wonder how many of the states that have made statements that they agree with freedom of navigation and overflight have the same understanding of those terms as the Americans do.

The final point I would make – and I think China always makes the point and it is a good point – is that the state that is not a party to the Convention on the Law of the Sea, that in practice may comply with the law of the sea convention more than the states that are parties, but the fact that you are not a party makes it very difficult for you to be the one to tell all the parties how they should interpret the Convention. And I know the difficulties of the domestic politics in the USA and why they are not a party, despite the strong urging of the military and other rational people, but it is hard for me to explain when all my students and others ask me, ‘Why is the United States not a party?’ It is because of domestic politics. But sometimes other states can say they have not clarified their claims because of domestic politics, so when we use domestic politics as a rationale for not doing things, then both sides can play that game. So it hurts the USA tremendously when they cannot.

Now, your freedom-of-navigation (FON) operations, those who complain, I say be careful what you wish for because if they do become a party, then you may not have to do FON operations to enforce rights, you may be able to bring a state whose laws are not compliant with UNCLOS before an international tribunal. It would actually give you one more major weapon in your arsenal to challenge activities that are unlawful.

How am I doing on time, am I over or am I okay?

Adam Ward, Director of Studies, IISS
You are okay. Could you make that point again, please?

Robert Beckman, Director, Centre for International Law, National University of Singapore, Singapore
The point about if the USA were to become a party to the Convention on the Law of the Sea, one of the problems now is it does not have access to the dispute-settlement mechanisms because only parties can invoke the dispute-settlement system and Part XV. If you were a party and you believed that states had laws that were inconsistent with the Convention on the Law of the Sea, now you make diplomatic exchanges or protests and then you do an FON actual operation to challenge, but you would have another very important weapon. You could say, ‘Either amend your laws or try to enforce them or we will bring a case against you in UNCLOS’. And you would be able to, then, perhaps, have a legal order. Of course, the risk would be, the tribunal may not interpret the law the way you see it but I think that many times they would. And you would be able to challenge the so‑called excessive maritime claims.

The final point I will make on this and FON operations in the South China Sea: you are actually not challenging excessive maritime claims in as much as you are trying to pre‑emptively challenge potential excessive maritime claims because, as far as I read the Chinese law and practice, they have not claimed a territorial sea from any feature in the Spratly Islands; they have not claimed an economic zone from any island in the Spratly Islands and they have not claimed a right to control airspace above any island in this, because their own law says that claims of territorial sea are measured from straight baselines and there are no straight baselines for the Spratly Islands. So it is a bit complicated as to exactly what is going on. And as I interpret US action, you are sailing through waters to pre‑empt a state from making a claim which you believe would otherwise be excessive; nothing wrong with that, but I think we should understand what we are doing.

The last point I will make on FON operations is that the message is sometimes quite garbled, especially when you call it freedom of navigation, because you are doing more than that. And therefore your message should be clear because, by the time it goes through the press, the reader gets very confused as to exactly what you are doing and it appears that all you are doing is exacerbating the dispute and perhaps you have a purer motive, if we assume that.

In terms of managing tensions, I think international law can help manage tensions, right? We could do many things. Clever lawyers can put anything in a document and it is law, if it is a treaty signed by two treaty states. But one way to reduce the tensions would be for everybody to agree to allow freedom of overflight through the disputed islands and over the disputed islands, without prejudice to your underlying claims. Another one would be to retain the status quo on occupied features for the foreseeable future and have everybody stay a particular distance away from any island that is occupied by another power. This would reduce the risk of incidents at sea, where one vessel is getting too close to a feature occupied by another. So there are various incidents that can be done; we can set aside the sovereignty disputes; we can also set aside the maritime claims and work towards joint development and other cooperative measures. If the political will is there and people are willing to act in good faith, nothing is impossible, right, but there has to be trust and there has to be political will.

My final point I will make, in terms of FON, in the long run, I urge my colleagues from China to think about the fact that in the long run, the state that you have the most common interest with, on so‑called freedom of navigation, is the USA. Because the current rules on use of the ocean for military activities are the result of lobbying at the Third Conference on the Law of the Sea by the Soviet Union and the USA because they have to move their navies around the world freely and they insisted on a regime with straits passage and archipelagic sea-lanes passage and economic zones that would enable the navies to do what navies always do. And as the next major maritime power, with global maritime interests, it does not make sense to me that you are challenging the system that will favour you. So I would think that one through and I think there seems to be a gap between the time your interests change and your policy changes. Thank you very much.

Adam Ward, Director of Studies, IISS
Robert, thank you very much indeed for those fascinating technical perspectives and also for the practical recommendations. We now have some time to hear from everybody else. If you would like to make an intervention, as I sense a number of you do, please put your name board up vertically and then I will call you. We will try to get through as many as possible.

The first person to catch my eye was Bonnie Glaser.

Bonnie Glaser, Senior Advisor and Director, China Power Project, Center for Strategic and International Studies
Thank you to the four speakers for excellent presentations. I have a few questions for General Yao. First question, very brief, is whether China would be open to a Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea (CUES)‑type agreement that would establish protocols between coast guards in the region. I know that initiative has already been tabled by some countries, including Singapore. Is that something China would be open to? Why or why not?

Secondly, in March there was the incident where there were about 100 fishing boats, I think, in Malaysia’s EEZ. China’s foreign ministry referred to those waters as China’s traditional fishing grounds, and under UNCLOS there is a provision under which, if a country’s fishermen have fished in what is now another country’s EEZ they can raise that issue and negotiate a bilateral fishing agreement; it is up to that state as to whether to permit it. So why has China not raised this with Malaysia bilaterally? The fact that it does not suggests, of course, that China sees that it has historical rights in those waters, so that is an example of China not taking advantage of some of the possibilities that UNCLOS provides.

And then the third simple question is about the ongoing debate in China about the definition of the nine‑dash line, the nature of what China’s claim really is. And I wonder if you could comment on whether you think, as we stand today here in 2016, does ambiguity still serve Chinese interests? What is it really going to take before China will be able to forge a consensus, domestically, on what the definition is of China’s claim? Thank you.

Professor Carlyle Thayer, Emeritus Professor, Australian Defence Force Academy, University of New South Wales; Director, Thayer Consultancy
Thank you, Mr Chairman. In light of Bob Beckman telling us that China has not passed into legislation baselines around any feature in the Spratlys, therefore there is no defined territorial sea or EEZ, my question is this: could General Yao please tell us, what is the legal status of China’s declaration of a military alert zone, or military security zone, when foreign military aircraft, not just American foreign military aircraft but from Australia, which is a signatory to UNCLOS, pass through or over that particular area, or when a People’s Liberation Army Navy warship tells a plane that its security is endangered by a routine flight in international airspace? So what is the legal basis, since China has signed UNCLOS, of these Chinese declarations? Thank you.

Major General (Retd) Luo Yuan, Executive President and Secretary General, China Strategic Culture Promotion Association
Thank you, Chairman, I have a comment to make. This morning Secretary of Defense Carter mentioned the word ‘principle’ 38 times. I would like to ask whether the principles are consistent or double standards? I have several pictures to show you. The Philippines has completed the construction of [inaudible] of a military airport on a South China Sea shore.

Adam Ward, Director of Studies, IISS
I am afraid that nobody in this room is able to see it in any precision or detail, so if you could just simply summarise the discrepancies as you perceive them very quickly and then we will move on.

Major General (Retd) Luo Yuan, Executive President and Secretary General, China Strategic Culture Promotion Association
It has begun to send citizens to live on some of the islands’ shores. It has also changed the South China Sea into the basin of the Philippine Sea. How is the USA applying these principles in these cases?

Reinhard Bütikofer, Member, European Parliament, European Union
Thank you, Chair. My name is Bütikofer, I am serving on the China delegation of the European Parliament. The European Parliament has adopted a resolution calling on all parties in the South China Sea to abide by the ruling that is coming up. Now, I understand that China does challenge the applicability of UNCLOS as regards this arbitration and I would like to understand better, from Ms Yao, why do you believe that arbitration under UNCLOS does not apply to the status of features in the South China Sea?

Adam Ward, Director of Studies, IISS
Thank you. I think we will return to the panel and give General Yao a chance to respond to some of the questions posed to her. I think there was something for Robert Beckman as well, and the others can pitch in as they deem relevant.

Major General Yao Yunzhu, Senior Fellow, Academy of Military Science, People’s Liberation Army, China
All in the audience, I think, are more professional than me, because you ask very specific legal questions; and I have been serving 46 years in the military and I have been a soldier and I think in logic, in strategy, but if you ask me these detailed questions, you deserve an answer and I will give you a soldier’s answer, which might not be so professional.

CUES‑type agreement among coast guards, right, Bonnie? My good friend Bonnie always asks good questions to me. I think China should be open; I do not think there is any reason for China not to. If the navies of nine ASEAN countries can agree to CUES, and maybe I think that would be included in the code of conduct (COC) discussions.

And the second question now, on the 100 fishing boats, I have no knowledge of that event but you said that China should have raised this question publicly and tried to use legal means to assert its fishing rights. It is just sometimes not the ASEAN and the Chinese way to take a dispute to a public platform and to push each other into respective corners. So if it has not been made public, it might have more room to get solved quietly. I am not sure, actually it is the first time for me to hear that event; I do not know that.

And on the ongoing debate on the nine‑dash line, I think, yes, it is an ongoing debate. If it is an ongoing debate, it is ongoing and it means that we are still debating; but ambiguity, is it still in China’s interest? I can give you my personal opinion. I think it still serves China’s interest and also the interest of other claimants in the South China Sea because the ready excuse is domestic politics, as my Singaporean colleague has mentioned, a ready explanation, but also I think it is not only domestic politics, it is just for China and other claimants to have more room to manoeuvre and to have more room to compromise. So I still think that ambiguity might be a good thing for China as well as for other claimants.

And the military alert zone; military alert zone is a military term in Chinese PLA and it is on the standard operational procedures. When you are guarding a piece of land, a territory and you find something dangerous, you give warnings and there is a certain distance that is considered to be an area that warning should be issued.

The ruling of arbitration: I think in 2006 China has submitted a written statement to the UN, saying that China would exclude itself from arbitration procedures on certain issues and that submission of statement is in accordance with Article 298 of UNCLOS. If you think that if China has signed into UNCLOS, it has to accept all the rulings, then why there is such an article in UNCLOS? Is it a loophole in the law system? If it is, we should try to gap up that loophole.

Maybe I have answered all the questions, thank you.

Adam Ward, Director of Studies, IISS
Thank you. Robert, did you want to come in?

Robert Beckman, Director, Centre for International Law, National University of Singapore
Yes, I am not sure any of the questions were directed to me but I will answer, I will comment on a few.

Military alert zone – I have no idea what it is but I think that it is one of the issues that should be discussed in the bilateral discussions between USA and China and brought within CUES, if possible. I would like to comment in particular on the Philippine case and the 298 declaration; I think there is a lot of confusion in the press on this. Any state that ratifies the Convention on the Law of the Sea has accepted the compulsory procedures for dispute settlement; it is consent in advance, there need not be consent for a particular dispute. Malaysia brought a case against Singapore, invoking the dispute-settlement system, without Singapore’s consent, for example. Bangladesh did against both Myanmar and India.

The 298 declaration allows a state to exclude disputes on particular categories, including the provisions on delimitation of maritime boundaries and military activities. However, if the state that has made such a declaration believes that the case raised against it should be excluded, or at least some of the issues should be excluded, it is not its right to say the court does not have jurisdiction. It has a right to challenge the jurisdiction of the tribunal on the grounds that this is really a dispute about maritime boundaries but the Convention on the Law of the Sea is very clear, the tribunal decides whether the 298 declaration is valid or not, not the state objecting to jurisdiction. And therefore I would argue – and the tribunal, in this case, has found – that it has jurisdiction over issues such as the entitlement of particular features, the status and entitlement to maritime zones of particular features. It has also decided that it has jurisdiction, or it may have jurisdiction, over the issue of whether China’s historic rights continue after UNCLOS in the economic zone of other countries and that decision is therefore binding on the parties, if they decide that issue. This is where I disagree with China’s official position. Thank you.

Adam Ward, Director of Studies, IISS
Thank you very much. I do not want to discriminate against anybody in the room who is not seated at the table, so if anybody at the back or on the sides wants to make an intervention, or ask a question, just raise your hands, if that is the case.

Mr Singh, please.

Mr Singh
Thank you, Mr Ward. General Yao, that was an impassioned narrative that we heard in your presentation about China being the victim in various types of disputes. Truly, in a soldier’s uniform and soldier’s words, as you said, it sounded very convincing but let me give you just one example, because of shortness of time.

It is said one must practise what one preaches, or intends to preach. Now, you have been criticising and blaming the USA for doing reconnaissance and enforcing or forcing you to do counter‑reconnaissance, which is not a very healthy thing; nobody wants to see anything of the sort after the Cold War got over.

How about your own case when, in December 2013, you sent a strategic platform into the Indian Ocean, after announcing it – which was never done during the Cold War, by the way. And in 2014, you sent a conventional submarine. And when we asked you as to what was the reason for sending in a conventional submarine to disturb peace, the answer from the Chinese was that this submarine had gone in support of an anti‑piracy mission in the Gulf of Aden. Since when has the science of submarining permitted the luxury of looking at fishing boats and pirate skiffs from underwater is not known to me. Firstly, it is a waste of expensive platforms; everybody understands what submarines are supposed to do when they go into other waters, which you call far seas. They are supposed to do reconnaissance, they are supposed to collect intelligence data, they are supposed to acclimatise themselves with the other waters, unseen, because stealth is an intrinsic characteristic of a submarine.

And the last point I wish to make is that – I have asked this question in many international fora where Chinese are present; I have not got a convincing answer: what is the principle on which the nine‑dash line has been made to float in the water, if land dominates the sea? And how is it that it never got promulgated before 2009? I know that in 1947, or 1949, it was promulgated but what happened during the UNCLOS? Secondly, kindly give Indians and the British the chemical composition of that paint which sticks on water, because if you were to give it to countries like the UK and if at all they would like to take a cue from you, they would pull out the 1914 map of the British Empire and the entire world would be covered in 1,000 dashes. India would use only 50 dashes from the island of Socotra to Malacca, claiming the sixth‑century practice of collecting toll, and the rest of us would have to go to the Arctic and Antarctica.

Dr Chikako Ueki, Professor, International Relations, Graduate School of Asia-Pacific Studies, Waseda University
Thank you very much, Chairman. I have a question for General Yao as well. You mentioned three kinds of dispute but I think you did not mention about the reclamation of the islands, which I think is probably a source of concern for many of us, and there have been statements from the floor in the plenary session but it is not just China, other countries are doing it also. But I think the magnitude and the scale of the airstrips that are being built, I think, are the concerns and that is why so many of us are here in this room, not just because of the details of the law but because of the changes that are being made on the ground, or in the sea, or whatever. So I would like you to comment on that, please. Thank you.

Thank you, Mr Chairman. I would like to make several comments and questions. First of all, I just would like to congratulate Major General Yao for a very clear presentation. I totally agree with you in the way you classify the matter in the South China Sea. People tend to see the South China Sea as a very simple story but it has different layers.

However, I just would like to add to the first layer of the South China Sea dispute, which is the territorial dispute. To me, the South China Sea not only has the dispute over the Spratlys, it also has the dispute over the Paracels and the Scarboroughs and, to that extent, I just would like to seek your update on the Chinese effort in settlement-zone dispute over the Paracels and the Spratlys.

My second point I would like to make is that, thank you for speaking for Vietnam on the matter of freedom of navigation, more exactly it is innocent passage in the territorial sea. However, I would like to clarify a little bit that in the national legislation of Vietnam, although there is a provision on prior notification, but if foreign vessels fail to notify they still enjoy the innocent passage through territorial sea of Vietnam. And the reason why we have that provision, we would like to facilitate safety navigation and to that extent, we do not think that Vietnam have a dispute over innocent passage with USA and it had been mentioned in our statement of the spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

My third point, it is a question that I would like to address to the two experts on the Law of the Sea in the panel. Although Major General Yao already admitted that there is some ambiguity on the nine‑dash line, but perhaps we can presume that still the nine‑dash line can serve for a maritime claim of China, so I would like to seek your comment on the effect of a maritime claim of a country prior to UNCLOS, how it comes into effect once that country has already signed and fully become a member of UNCLOS. Thank you.

Dr Ren Xiao, Professor and Director, Fudan University
Thank you; a couple of comments. Firstly, according to the relevant bilateral agreements between China and the Philippines, the two governments commit themselves to find a solution to the problems through bilateral talks and negotiations. And on the basis of this, my understanding is that the two countries should try to find a solution through what they agreed upon beforehand.

Second, China has some of its own experience. China used to have a number of land territorial disputes. China shares borders with as many as 14 countries and China had territorial disputes with most of them. Over the years, China tried to work with the neighbouring countries and solved most of those territorial disputes with its neighbouring countries, with only two left. And those resolutions are effective and enduring and sustaining.

In that sense, for China, it is possible to find a resolution with a neighbouring country, to solve the dispute between China and that particular neighbouring country. So, for China, it is possible to do so. And also, another experience is that perhaps we should allow more time for the relevant parties to find our way out and also, just by the way, China is not familiar with international arbitration, so that also partially explains China’s preference for bilateral negotiations.

And finally, I think it is a fact, perhaps unfortunate, that an arbitration ruling will not help with solving the problems in the South China Sea. Thank you.

Janet Dyah Ekawati Gibson, Independent Defence Consultant; Co-founder, Srikandi Adjirajasa Nayyotama
Thank you. I am Janet Dyah Ekawati from Indonesia. First of all, thank you for all speakers, your presentations were very wonderful. This is not only for General Yao but since you mentioned the code of conduct, I hope this is not a normative question but ever since we are heading towards the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) ruling, some have wondered and questioned, is the code of conduct still feasible? Do we still need it, can we realise it and will it still work? So my question is, to all speakers – of course, for General Yao, this is your personal opinion, so waiting for your soldier‑type answer, perhaps – do you think that the code of conduct between ASEAN and China on the South China Sea will remain relevant for everyone? Thank you very much.

Antonio Morales, Ambassador of the Philippines to Singapore, Philippines
Thank you. Thank you very much, Mr Chairman. I just have a few comments to make on the presentations made. With regard to the bilateral negotiations, it is true that the Philippines and China went into bilateral negotiations, but the fact that 20 years of bilateral negotiations did not lead to any resolution of the disputes and, in fact to the Philippines’ point of view, resulted in the deterioration of the situation prompted the Philippines to seek arbitration. And if our Chinese friends will read the ruling of the Arbitral Tribunal on the issue of jurisdiction, there is ample evidence that would show that in fact we have gone through bilateral negotiations.

On the issue of a peaceful resolution, we agree with China that this should be done peacefully. In May 2014, the Philippines concluded with Indonesia a maritime-boundary delimitation on the sea that we share together and it shows that a peaceful resolution to a negotiation is possible. But, as pointed out by General Yao, when we have different interpretations, the question arises as to which interpretation should prevail and, in the Philippine view, the differences in interpretations could only be resolved through a third‑party body competent to decide on the issue and that is why we brought it to the Arbitral Tribunal.

On the comment that this is not an Asian way, I think, before bringing it to the public, the Philippines invited China to join in the arbitration and there is ample evidence that Asian countries have resorted to this, as pointed out by Professor Beckman. Thank you.

P S Suryanarayana, Editor, Current Affairs, Institute of South Asian Studies, National University of Singapore
This is again addressed to General Yao. This morning, the Indian defence minister echoed almost word for word what the US defense secretary had said on freedom of navigation in the South China Sea; and recently the two leaders, Modi and Obama, had issued a vision statement on the South China Sea, where the two countries agreed to cooperate and coordinate their strategies for stabilising the South China Sea. I want to know, as a military officer, have you seen any evidence of India joining hands with the USA in trying to stabilise the situation in the South China Sea? If so, we would like to know the details and, if not, do you think it is just an empty balloon? Thank you.

Adam Ward, Director of Studies, IISS
Thank you very much. We have to end this session punctually at 6.30; that gives us ten minutes. I want all of the panellists to have the opportunity, in that time, to make some of their remarks. Maybe the burden of the work is on your shoulders, General Yao, in that respect. But let us do it in reverse order to how we started. So can we begin, please, with Robert? I think there were some direct questions posed to you.

Robert Beckman, Director, Centre for International Law, National University of Singapore
I am not sure how many were posed to me. I think Lanxin asked a question on the maritime claims and the nine‑dash line. I think this will be one of the issues to look for in the arbitration decision, when the award is issued. As I understand the Philippines’ case, they have asked the tribunal to rule on the extent to which China’s historic rights would continue after China ratified UNCLOS, insofar as they are claiming historic rights in someone else’s economic zone. And I think the Philippine argument is we have sovereign rights and therefore you gave up any historic rights when you ratified the Convention, but we will see what the tribunal rules on that. And I think that would take care of the nine‑dash line, to that extent.

Whether China then says we actually claim the islands inside the nine‑dash line, that would be another option. But my own view is, I do not think that the deliberate ambiguity is any longer in their favour and they will not be so ambiguous once the decision is announced.

There was one other issue on the tribunal. On maritime boundaries, we must keep in mind there are two things that the Arbitral Tribunal cannot rule on. One of them is who has a better claim to any of the features. Sovereignty is not an issue of the Law of the Sea. The other thing, China has excluded disputes on maritime boundaries. Now, that is different from the status and entitlement of features, but the tribunal cannot draw any boundaries. If the tribunal finds that some of the islands are entitled, in principle, to an economic zone, it cannot engage in boundary delimitation because that is excluded by China’s declaration.

Whether the code of conduct is still relevant, I guess, and ASEAN centrality is still relevant: I think what has changed from the time the code of conduct was put on the agenda is that the whole issue of the South China Sea has been much more internationalised than it was at the time. And therefore, in addition to a code of conduct, you probably need some kind of arrangements with other powers that clearly have an interest in the matter.

Dr Michael Reiterer, Principal Adviser, Asia and the Pacific, European External Action Service, European Union
Well, just briefly, I think I would pick up on the code of conduct, the question which was asked, because if you bother to read the 2002 declaration, I think this is very relevant. I always have it on my desk; I even have it with me. The part that is concerned, ‘Undertake to resolve the territorial and jurisdictional disputes by peaceful means, without resorting to the threat or use of force, through friendly consultations and negotiations’, and so on. If you read through that, it is relevant and if it were to be applied, I think we would have less of a problem. The same applies for the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation, which I have mentioned, where you find all the principles which are mentioned here and which actually are already undersigned by all the countries in Southeast Asia and by parties out of the region, like China, or the European Union.

So, I think there is a lot of material, actually, already at hand and I sometimes wonder if we could not make better use of that. And if we could have, I think, a thorough discussion of how to make use of all the principles, rules and regulations to which we are already bound, would that not be an innovative step in order to try to find the solution?

Major General Yao Yunzhu, Senior Fellow, Academy of Military Science, People’s Liberation Army, China
To Mr Singh’s many questions, the Chinese submarine going to the Indian Ocean is part of the fleet to replace the flotilla which was already in the Gulf of Aden for more than three months. It is part of the flotilla to replace an existing flotilla to do the anti‑piracy and escorting and sea lines of communication (SLOC) missions. China has, according to Indian national law, prenotified the Indian government and China has said it is not against any party. And a submarine, going with a flotilla to do the escorting of the anti‑piracy operation, is not China’s invention. A European country, also, in that international effort – I forget exactly, maybe it is Denmark …


Major General Yao Yunzhu, Senior Fellow, Academy of Military Science, People’s Liberation Army, China
… had done the same thing before. So China has not set a precedent.

On your comment on historical rights, I can just hope an Indian could have inherited the 50‑dash line from the British Empire in 1947, when your country declared independence.

And on, my Japanese friend, the reclamation of land in the South China Sea, is it a criticism against the reclamation itself or the scale and the speed of the reclamation? China is very capable of doing things now; it is always doing things in the faster pace, especially in infrastructure construction. So, if it is rule‑based construction, it is rule‑based, it is legal; then what we should criticise are the practices of the reclamation itself, not the speed and the scale of the same thing.

And what else? Thank you to my Vietnamese friend for correcting me on your national legislation. So you ask for notification but you actually do not care whether you are notified or not; I will remember that.

To my Indonesian friend, on the DOC, is it still relevant? I think it is still relevant, China is very serious about the agreement it has signed into and China had great regards to the DOC. I think you mean DOC, not COC, which is still under discussion.

Janet Dyah Ekawati Gibson, Independent Defence Consultant; Co-founder, Srikandi Adjirajasa Nayyotama
I did mean COC.

Major General Yao Yunzhu, Senior Fellow, Academy of Military Science, People’s Liberation Army, China
You mean COC? COC is still under discussion; it has not been concluded yet and China’s position on COC is that China supports the discussion, the negotiations of the COC but China’s views and interest should be taken into consideration when the COC is negotiated.

On the Filipino question about arbitration as the last resort, I do not think that the Filipino government has consulted the Chinese government before it submitted its arbitration case to the tribunal. And before the Filipino submitted the arbitration case, I think we had bilateral as well as multilateral agreements on friendly negotiations, peaceful means, to solve the disputes between us.

And India joining hands with the United States, do I see the Indian military joining hands with the USA? I do not, actually. And you say, well, the Indian military join hands with the USA to stabilise the South China Sea. Can anyone do that? Can any country stabilise the South China Sea situation by joining hands with the USA and doing something military in the South China Sea? I doubt it.

I think that is maybe all of the questions.

Adam Ward, Director of Studies, IISS
Thank you very much. Vice Minister Nam, would you care to make some concluding remarks, please?

Excuse me, Mr Chairman, I think Major General Yao just forgot one of my questions, sorry.

Adam Ward, Director of Studies, IISS
Well, if you are not going to specify the question, then you might just have to ask her after this session. Vice Minister – or do you –

Major General Yao Yunzhu, Senior Fellow, Academy of Military Science, People’s Liberation Army, China
Your question about Paracel/Xisha islands, right? China’s official position is that Paracel is undisputed Chinese territory.

Lieutenant General Professor Dr Bui Van Nam, Vice Minister, Ministry of Public Security, Vietnam
I am very grateful for feedback and comments on our presentation and the number of speakers. Other feedback and comments focused on Major General Yao. Some feedback for Major General Yao: quite convincing, but we need more discussion and talk and deep analysis. Any problem related to the sovereignty in this sea, Vietnam will be working very closely with the other countries, especially ASEAN countries; we have a lot of things in common and similarity. We need to continue to build trust and continue to find our physical solution to create the stability, peace and security in this region. Thank you for your attention.

Adam Ward, Director of Studies, IISS
Thank you very much indeed. Tomorrow we move from Managing South China Sea Tensions to the session The Challenges of Conflict Resolution with the French Minister of Defence, the Deputy Minister of Defense of Vietnam and Admiral Sun Jianguo, Deputy Chief of the Joint Staff Department of the Central Military Commission. We look forward to seeing you there, but in the mean time please join me in thanking our speakers for the presentations this afternoon.

Identifying Common Security Interests in the Cyber-Domain

As Delivered

Dr Eneken Tikk-Ringas, Consulting Senior Fellow for Future Conflict and Cyber Security, IISS
Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for joining the Cyber Session of the 15th Shangri-La Dialogue. We are going to be looking into common security interests in the cyber domain. My name is Eneken Tikk-Ringas. I am Senior Fellow for Future Conflict and Cyber Security at IISS. I will be chairing this session.

With me today on the panel, you will find Mr David Koh, who is Chief Executive of the Cyber Security Agency and Deputy Secretary of Technology of the Ministry of Defence in Singapore; Mr Santosh Jha, who is Joint Secretary, Policy Planning and Cyber at Ministry of External Affairs in India; Ms Qing Yu, Deputy Director-General, Bureau of Cybersecurity, Cyberspace Administration of China; and Mr Sean Kanuck, who is just recently Former National Intelligence Officer for Cyber Issues at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence in the US.

How we are going to proceed with the session is, I will open and give the floor to each panellist for about five minutes of opening remarks, after which we are going to go into Q&A. Those of you, again, who are trying to participate in the Q&A, please note that the microphones are available around the table.

Now, to frame this session, while cyber is definitely not a South China Sea, then ICTs – information and communication technologies, politically labelled as cyber, are one of the new technologies that is transforming how we function and how we fight. Cyber domain remains a land of crouching tigers and hidden dragons while we learn and only start to normalise ICTs in our understanding of military capabilities, national security and development. However, ICTs are going to be normal. Smart cities, nation building and contemporary conflict all have a common aspect or element of cybers in them. Freedom of information, I trust, is the new freedom of the seas.

I have asked the panel to offer their opening comments on the role of cyber in high defence politics, on opportunities and challenges of regional cyber security and defence cooperation, how to reconcile the inevitably different national priorities and capabilities in defining and pursuing common security interests as well as what is the new normal, when it comes to cyber conflict, and we will proceed in the order of the agenda. I offer the floor first to Mr David Koh. Thank you.

David Koh Tee-Hian, Chief Executive, Cyber Security Agency; Deputy Secretary (Technology), Ministry of Defence, Singapore
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, thank you very much. My fellow panellists and I will share our views on cyber security, and I am sure that we will all agree that there are some common security interests. Of course, we may not always agree on what these interests are or how we can achieve win–win solution.

Let me give you an example. I have two hats that I wear. I am the Chief Executive of the Cyber Security Agency in Singapore in the Prime Minister’s Office and, in my spare time, I am also the Deputy Permanent Secretary for Technology in the Ministry of Defence. I get to see both the civilian and the military sides of cyber in Singapore, and these two sides do not always agree, even in a small country like Singapore. I find myself in the unusual position of disagreeing with myself on occasion, when my two official capacities disagree with each other. Thankfully, I am generally on good speaking terms with myself and these disagreements can normally be resolved.

At the international level, given that we all come from different countries and are at different stages of economic development, different levels of internet connectivity and have different views and cultures, then obviously different views on how this area of cyber security can be best managed are to be expected. Nevertheless, even if we do not agree on everything, there is obviously an urgent need to come together to establish platforms for discussion, to agree on the rules of the road, so to speak, and set some common goals that we can all work towards. This is because of the clear and present threats that we all face in the cyber domain.

In the next few minutes, I will briefly lay out Singapore’s perspectives in this area and how this relates to the global situation, and I will conclude by sharing some possibilities that we can explore together so as to build a more open and secure cyber domain for everyone.

Singapore is an open and globalised economy. Last year, our total trade was more than two times our gross domestic product. We have benefited tremendously from the rise of the internet. It has fundamentally changed the way that we communicate and conduct business. We have a well-developed info-com infrastructure that powers much of our physical as well as digital economy. Many Singaporeans are also digital natives, and we have one of the highest internet penetration rates in the world, at 82%. Our mobile-phone penetration rate is an astonishing 150%, which means that many people, including myself, have more than one mobile device.

However, such pervasive interconnectivity also poses significant threats to our computer systems and our critical information infrastructure, CIIs. Across the Southeast Asia region, FireEye reported that 29% of their customers were targeted with advanced cyber threats in the first half of 2015 alone. As we become more connected and more interconnected, our dependence on info-com technologies increase, and the potential risks of disruption increase correspondingly. We cannot count on just luck to protect Singapore against these attacks.

When a cyber attack occurs in Singapore, the impact will not be only felt locally or within Singapore, but we think globally as well. Singapore’s historical role was to be a transit point, a hub for the world. Today, Singapore is a financial hub, a shipping hub as well as an aviation hub. A successful attack on us could affect global payment systems or commercial aviation traffic and air-traffic control systems, and disproportionate effects on our trade and banking systems as well, on these similar CIIs in other countries or within the region. This is because we are now all linked through what we will call supranational critical information infrastructure. These are the networks that transcend national borders and link together critical systems such as financial systems, international aviation and telecommunications.

Against this backdrop, no country can achieve cyber security on its own. We need to recognise the urgency of the issue and start working together to take action, based on our common security interests. As our cyber interdependence increases, so must our ability to protect our critical infrastructure and these supranational critical infrastructures.

How can we protect ourselves? I would like to offer three proposals. First, we must establish platforms for discussion so that we can build trust, facilitate cooperation and reduce the chance of miscalculation between countries. Here I unabashedly promote the inaugural Singapore International Cyber Week, which we will be organising from the 10–12 October this year in Singapore. Aside from marking the 25th anniversary of the GovernmentWare exhibition and conference, the event will incorporate the ASEAN Ministerial Conference on Cyber Security, as well as an ASEAN Cyber Crime Prosecutors roundtable meeting to facilitate discussions on regional as well as global cyber security issues. My own prime minister, the prime minister of Singapore, will deliver the keynote address, so please attend.

Secondly, we should aim for fair and inclusive rules of the road, such as agreeing on how best to manage or govern the internet that is used by everyone in this world. It is a global commons. Singapore also advocates a cyberspace where behaviour is governed by social responsibility and consensus building, so that cyber security can be an enabler of smart technologies that improve the lives and provides economic opportunities for all of us. These are views which are common in ASEAN.

Finally, we must set aside common goals to work towards, such as combating cyber crime. In this area, Singapore plays a facilitating role as the voluntary lead shepherd under the auspices of the ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Transnational Crime and, on a global front, Singapore hosts the Interpol Global Complex for Innovation, which supports international cyber-crime-fighting operations, and we hope that more countries can join us in fighting this growing trend.

There are many initiatives beyond what I have mentioned, but if I try to give a comprehensive list we will be here until dinner. Singapore recognises that we can play a useful role in the cyber domain by fostering discussions on our common security interests, and we hope that all countries can join us together in our International Cyber Week in October, so that together we can begin the conversation to build an open and secure cyber domain. Thank you.

Dr Eneken Tikk-Ringas, Consulting Senior Fellow for Future Conflict and Cyber Security, IISS
Thank you very much, Mr Koh, for this call for an interdependent security cooperation in this field. With this, the floor is yours, Mr Jha.

Santosh Jha, Joint Secretary, Policy Planning and Cyber, Ministry of External Affairs, India
Thank you. As I mentioned to my co-panellists, that I am the only non-expert on this panel. I am more a policy planner and I also handle global cyber issues in the Ministry of External Affairs. Let me try to present more of a perspective from the point of view of how we are looking at these issues, and how internationally we are building cooperative elements.

It would be an obvious thing to say that the potential threat, the existing threats in the cyberspace are amongst the most serious and complex challenges facing the twenty-first century. How do we address this? As I mentioned, there are more questions in this case than there are answers to provide and, be that as it may, I would try and address this from the perspective of how my government, or how we in India, are looking at this issue.

First of all, even as we are putting a lot of emphasis on expanding the digital domain through programmes like Digital India, there is a growing awareness in India that international cooperation is very, very important for securing the cyberspace as it grows more over a period of time and becomes more preponderant and we become increasingly dependent on it. This is naturally an imperative, given that India has become the second-largest internet user base in the world. The potential for expansion is exponential. We hope to add another billion in India alone in the next five to ten years. We are therefore working with a number of countries in developing areas of cooperation. Let me enumerate some of them.

First, cooperation in cyber-security capacity-building. We plan to create a pool of 500,000 cyber-security professionals in India in the next five years to serve as a bulwark for global cyber-security efforts. Second, sharing cyber-security best practices, sharing information on malicious threats, attacks and activities through a network of servers around the world, and we are signing a number of agreements in that regard, focusing on research and development (R&D) and cyber-security product development in close cooperation with partner countries. Incidentally, this was a focus of the upcoming framework agreement that we will have with the United States – developing cooperation on mitigating threats to ICT infrastructure.

We are also involved in building frameworks of close cooperation between law-enforcement agencies and institutions, including finding better ways to deal with challenges such as accessing and sharing electronic evidence located beyond our territory to address cyber-crime issues. This has a particular resonance in India because our experience in this regard at present has not been the greatest, and there is an international cognition that the mutual legal assistance treaty (MLAT) arrangements that cater to this are clearly inadequate, and there is a requirement for tweaking it and using innovative ways to create a system that can provide an effective response to this problem.

At the broader international level, we favour promoting a culture of restraint through building norms of responsible state behaviour and confidence-building measures (CBMs). This is important, as only a culture of restraint can help deal with the proliferation of cyber threats that we are seeing. While doing all this, we are cognisant that bilateral and international frameworks that build bases for cooperation are extremely underdeveloped and inadequate to meet the challenges we confront. The main reason for this is the trust deficit among different countries and different geographies which inhibit genuine cooperation between countries around the world. We are therefore focused on finding solutions to this problem of trust, and have upscaled our participation in processes like ICANN, IGF, the UN-GGIM, to which I have been nominated as an expert.

We are also promoting cooperation within ARF, SAG and BRICS, and hope to do so also in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, once we obtain its membership formally. We advocate more representation and participation of developing countries in cyber governance structures globally, and would like to see greater transparency and accountability of these structures to the broader global community. This will be an important CBM and contribute to addressing the issue of trust deficit that has hobbled cooperation internationally.

Let me briefly mention the approach we follow in the domestic domain. In India, we have taken a holistic approach to cyber security. Even as we support the multi-stakeholder model of internet governance, we believe in a multilayered approach and would like a clear delineation of the role of different stakeholders. This has been an area where international discussions have been one of avoidance. We think that greater clarity at the global level on respective role of stakeholders, especially of the state, can help strengthen cyber-security efforts around the world.

Further, in India, we are clear that when it comes to national-security issues in the cyber domain, the role of the state is a paramount one. In playing this role, the state must, however, work closely with other stakeholders, especially the private sector. For this purpose, a new position of National Cyber Security Coordinator has been created to implement the cyber-security policy of 2013, and his express function is to coordinate between different actors and stakeholders in India. Broadly speaking, we have created two different groups within the government to ensure this. One is to evolve a whole-of-government approach, a process that is headed by the National Cyber Security Advisor, and a second one, which is headed at the most senior level, where we interact with the industry, the private sector, the civil-society representatives to develop a broader multi-stakeholder approach to our issues related to cyber security.

Overall, we recognise the value of international cooperation to secure the interest of an open, secure and inter-operable internet. We seek cooperation from other countries to build our own capacities, which we believe would enable us to make a greater contribution to global cyber-security efforts. That, in essence, is my opening remark. Thank you.

Dr Eneken Tikk-Ringas, Consulting Senior Fellow for Future Conflict and Cyber Security, IISS
Thank you for, what I would say, outlining even more clearly the civil–military nature of both the opportunities and threats that ICTs entail. With this, I will give it to Ms Qing.

Qing Yu, Deputy Director-General, Bureau of Cyber security, Cyberspace Administration of China, China
I am from China Cyberspace Administration. I am very happy to be gathering in Singapore with you. After the development of the internet for 20 years, China, in leveraging internet development to better people’s lives and to develop the economy, we have achieved a great achievement; especially since the 18th Congress, China has implemented the strategy of strengthening the country through internet, and the National Big Data strategy and then to promote the development of the internet, this has become a leading force for China.

At present, China has 700 million net users and we have 4.23m websites, and .cn national top domain name is number one in China. And in the top global internet companies, China has four, and each year our transactions on the internet exceeds 3 billion RMB. And, we are also facing a lot of security problems. The Trojan virus is spreading in the internet, fraud, hacking, IP violation is all existing, and there are some hackers that are stealing users’ information, and to harm national and personal welfare some criminals will try to organise terrorist activities in order to threaten national and personal security. Internet is an inter-developed world. You have me, I have you in it. China is facing this security issue, which is not avoidable for other countries either, and we think we have to really strengthen the four areas so that we can keep the security of the internet.

First is to secure net users’ rights. We have to secure that development, and it has two bodies and two wings. Worldwide, the violations of IP and personal privacy have become a social disaster. In facing all these threats, we have to work together to crack down on all these attacks in order to secure the rights of our people and to maintain the cyber peace. Secondly, we have to respect the cyber sovereignty, and this is the basis President Xi Jinping in the Second International Cyber Conference raised four principles, and also five proposals of cyberspace common body.

Sovereign equality enshrined in UN Charter is the basic principle in contemporary international relations. It covers all aspects of state-to-state relations, so also includes cyberspace. China respects the rights of individual countries to independently choose their own path of cyber development, cyber regulation model, cyber public policies. China will not engage in cyber hegemony, will not interfere in other countries’ internal affairs. Cyberspace is the common space of activities for mankind. The future of cyberspace should be in the hands of all countries. Countries should step up communications, broaden consensus and deepen cooperation to jointly build a community of a shared future in cyberspace, certainly to encourage dialogues and interchanges to come up with cyberspace regulations commonly accepted.

The nature of the internet is about sharing information and it is about communication, it is about honest sharing. Internet cyber security is about openness, it is not about a closed system. Only when there is an open environment, then the countries among themselves will be able to cooperate, will be able to interact, and will be able to innovate their technology. When we are able to achieve this, the level of cyber security will be enhanced. Countries should work together and stop the abuse of information technology. Countries should also work together based on the principle of mutual trust and mutual respect to build an open, peaceful, cooperative cyberspace.

Fourthly, it is about countries sharing the responsibilities to help the developing countries and the people to enjoy the benefits of internet. Currently, developing countries are home to 80% of the world population. Now, two-thirds of these people in the developing countries do not have the access to internet. We must be able to help them to have access to the internet and help them break free from poverty. China is willing to work together with the international community to increase our financial and technical support for these developing countries and to further build up the infrastructure of IT so that people in developing countries are able to afford and to have access to the internet service and more people in the developing countries will be able to enjoy the benefits of the internet. Thank you.

Dr Eneken Tikk-Ringas, Consulting Senior Fellow for Future Conflict and Cyber Security, IISS
Thank you very much for sharing with us some immediate national-security concerns and cooperation priorities, seen from a Chinese perspective. With that, Sean, the floor is yours.

Sean Kanuck, Former National Intelligence Officer for Cyber Issues, Office of the Director of National Intelligence, United States
Thank you very much. It is a pleasure to be here and I would like to thank IISS for the invitation and Singapore, our host country. As indicated earlier, for the last five years, I led cyber-threat analysis for the US intelligence community. However, I have left government, so I just want to underscore that my comments here today will be in my personal capacity. My comments will also differ a little bit from the other panellists in that my professional approach to this is in threat analysis and in the security dilemma rather than in the policy-proposal process, so I would like to address it from that perspective of describing what we have seen happening in cyberspace rather than necessarily the normative policy side of how to get to where you want to be, and that will be an interesting part of the rest of the discussion we share together.

This year our director of national intelligence testified in his worldwide threat assessment to our Congress that many actors remain undeterred from conducting reconnaissance, espionage and even attacks in cyberspace because of the relatively low costs of entry, the perceived pay-off and the lack of significant consequences. I really cannot think of a more succinct, accurate and realistic description of the cyber-security dilemma we all face globally and especially, as well, here in the Asia-Pacific region.

I do not think we need to make the case any longer about cyber security as a priority. In fact, it has been the first topic that our director of national intelligence, in that threat briefing, for the last four years, and both Africa and counter-terrorism would come earlier if it had been alphabetical.

I offer two reasons for that prioritisation. First, cyber and ICT, information and communication technologies, are a part of every security issue that is going to be discussed and of concern to the people at this summit, whether it is how extremists communicate, fundraise and proselytise or recruit new adherents, whether it is how conventional military armaments are employed, whether it is how countries seek to pursue political influence, domestically and abroad, or how companies economically compete. These are all dependent on ICTs and cyber security is paramount to pursuing all of them.

Cyber concerns and cyber attacks are also an increasing threat in their own right. Looking back in recent years, we have seen attacks on Saudi Aramco, Sony Pictures and, even more recently, the Ukrainian power grid. Notably, these are all private institutions that were targeted. That should bring pause to us all, because in this growing geopolitical conflict, where non-lethal and potentially temporary or reversible means of exerting course of influence are becoming more appealing, particularly because there have not been significant consequences today for those who have chosen to use them.

Once again, our director of national intelligence in 2015 talked about low- and moderate-level attacks as being even more appealing and problematic than a hypothetical cyber Armageddon. Many nations and non-state actors seek to intervene in each others’ affairs and coerce behaviour below the threshold of international armed conflict. Much discussion has gone into what constitutes an armed attack under international law. What is even more interesting to a strategic analyst is how do you deal with the issues, geopolitically, when they are intentionally designed to operate below the threshold, where certain UN Charter principles, Article 24 or Article 51, would take effect?

Turning to one of Eneken’s other questions, about where is the common interest and what does cooperation look like, I will offer two policy-proposal thoughts. First would be a genuine commitment to international law-enforcement assistance, whether under mutual legal assistance treaties or other bilateral and multilateral fora, whether it is Interpol or others, but a real, sincere effort to do trans-border criminal investigations and provide assistance along the lines of how well many nations cooperate on child pornography online but to extend that to other areas of cyber concern.

Second would be to build a security architecture that is based on four key principles that would actually make it realistic and practical. It would have to be transparent, meaning the rules would have to be publicly stated and known to everyone. Secondly, it would need to have universal applicability. That does not mean it would need to be symmetric. I offer the nuclear model of a non-proliferation treaty where some countries were identified as haves and others were identified as have-nots of certain capabilities, but every country knew which category they fell into and they knew what other expectations they could put on every other country under the universality of those rules.

A third factor would be enforceability, and this is probably where we lack, internationally, the ability right now to enforce any of the norms put forward in the UN group of governmental experts. In fact, I would offer that many of those norms that are being proposed in many of the international bodies are also being breached, sometimes by organisations and countries involved in some of those very discussions.

Last, we would need to seek a stable equilibrium, some system that would incentivise the participants to want to support that structure and be a part of it rather than viewing opportunities for asymmetric advantage by defecting from such a security architecture.

One of the other questions we were asked in preparation was: what do military capabilities look like in cyberspace and what are the appropriate responses to their development and use? I would offer that the dual-use nature of ICTs makes it nearly impossible to identify or define cyber weapons. Instead, I think you need to turn to the effects to which they are purposed. That actually answers the second question, then, because if you were basing it on an effects-based doctrine, then your answers are, you would be entitled under international law and UN Charter provisions to respond however you would to other actions that would yield similar effects. Therefore, my legal analysis would not actually even involve the word ‘cyber’. It would involve effects of actions perpetrated on a victim, and then standing principles of international law could be applied.

An interesting observation we have made is, the normative discussions to date that have been successful seem to focus on limiting civilian targets in peacetime, certain things being identified as impermissible targets of cyber activity, whether it is national computer emergency-response teams or other critical infrastructures. Yet we have never heard, to my knowledge, any country voluntarily declare that it wanted to forgo any offensive cyber capabilities. We have seen countries do that – Brazil, South Africa – in the nuclear model. We have not yet seen that in the cyber model. That leaves an analyst, once again, thinking that successful future discussions probably lie more in what would be akin to Geneva law, rather than Hague law, protecting civilians and civilians’ infrastructures rather than looking to prohibit the proliferation of capabilities or the use of those capabilities under any circumstances, particularly because it would be technically so difficult to limit such proliferation.

I will leave you with three very quick thoughts about how I think this region, and any region, can pursue the common interest of inter-operability in cyberspace that will yield those economic and social benefits you all seek.

First, I think you need to think globally, not nationally and not even internationally. The value of economics lies in the free flow of information and products, limiting the transaction costs of that; that is what I mean by thinking globally. Secondly, focus on information, not cyber. What is important is what these critical ICT structures carry, the value of that information to industry and governments. If you read the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation documents and treaties, they take that sort of a focus, and it is actually, interestingly, a focus that the United States took back in the 1990s.

Lastly, I encourage you all to think about risk rather than security. Perfect information security is nigh impossible. Any armour, infantry or artillery officers in the room know that you would not expect a military engagement where you would not expect to lose any of your units. Instead, you would plan on resiliency and reconstituting to pursue your mission. That is the way you need to think about cyber, because we are all living in a world of continuous bombardment of malware and other endeavours to degrade capabilities. Collectively, you can pursue transnational law enforcement and collectively you can pursue security in your region by thinking globally about information risk. Thank you.

Dr Eneken Tikk-Ringas, Consulting Senior Fellow for Future Conflict and Cyber Security, IISS
Thank you very much. Thanks for anchoring why cyber is a common security concern, what are some of the priorities and options for regional cooperation. Thank you also for tabling clearly the prospect and the concern of low-intensity conflict, alongside with the challenges we already have around use of force and armed attack in cyberspace.

With this, I would open the floor to comments and questions. At this session, also, your comments and questions will be on record, please. Those of you who want to ask a question or comment, give me a sign by taking your name tag, then please identify yourself briefly before asking your question. If you have a specific panellist you want to ask a question to, please point it out as well.

Michael Raska first, thank you.

Dr Michael Raska, Assistant Professor, Military Transformations Programme, S Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University
Thank you very much for excellent presentations. It is very interesting to see the different visions and different strategies directing in cyber security. My name is Michael Raska, I am an Assistant Professor at the S Rajaratnam School and I teach a class on information and cyber conflicts. I have a couple of questions for David. This semester I had a group of Singaporean students. We discussed Singaporean cyber strategy, the evolution of it, and one of my homeworks that I give them is to rewrite or possibly propose a Singaporean cyber strategy. One of the points was to add cyber defence as a pillar of Singapore’s total defence, and I was wondering whether this is something you are discussing or whether this is something that is on the table?

My second question is also for David. China’s idea of cyber sovereignty, the different conception of virtual sovereignty and physical territory and the convergence between physical and virtual sovereignty – how does Singapore perceive the concept of cyber sovereignty, or perhaps ASEAN as a whole? Thank you.

Carl Bildt, Former Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Sweden; Member of the Council, IISS
Carl Bildt from Sweden, but I am also, as a matter of fact, heading an independent global commission on internet issues that is going to report in a couple of weeks.

Some questions primarily on China, which I think is interesting to listen to their presentation. Primarily, if you could perhaps be somewhat more explicit what you mean by – it was alluded to previously – the principle of internet sovereignty. Internet, by its definition, tends to be very borderless, and if we look at the future of the global economy, it is going to be driven by the digital value chains, by the free as possible flow of data and information, information of different sorts, and that is going to be key to the economic development, including the economic development of China which is now turning outwards with e-commerce, with investments and other things.

Then the risk, of course, with the internet-sovereignty language, is that it takes us back in time and invites the suspicion that it is a question of too many restrictions and too many walls, and that will be to the detriment, of course, of the country itself that imposes it, but also to the detriment of the development of the global economy. China, in the Chinese political and economic debate at the moment, one of the guiding or most popular concepts is the One Belt, One Road, saying that the world needs one infrastructure, one belt and one road. I would argue that the world needs one net, including China. The question is whether the concept of internet sovereignty, as is being formulated, whether or not the implementation of that would risk splitting the one net into several nets, to the detriment of the economic development and security, also of China, at the end of the day.

Dr Fen Hampson, Director, Global Security and Politics, Centre for International Governance Innovation
Fen Hampson. I co-direct the Global Commission on Internet Governance. In other words, I work for Carl Bildt. As Carl said, the Commission will be delivering its final report at the end of this month.

My question is a China–US question and it has to do with the cyber agreement that was signed last year to curtail or curb cyber espionage, particularly in the industrial sector. How well is it working? I would be interested in both China’s view and the American view. Is this a prelude to deeper cooperation? For the others on the panel, is this an agreement that should be multilateralised? It is a bilateral agreement, and yet the principles or the norms that it is promoting are really ones that every country should adopt.

William Saito, Special Advisor, Science and Technology, IT Strategy, Government of Japan
More, perhaps, comments than questions. I agree that this internet is definitely a global commons, but what is interesting here that I want to point out, and I am curious about the panellists, that there are really only two types of organisations now on the planet, ones that have been hacked and ones that just do not know it yet.

Through that, one of the things that I am concerned with, and – sorry, so coming here on behalf of the Japanese government – and the concern that I have here is how cyber, and we use this term, and it has rapidly evolved even in just the last few years from becoming a logical threat to a completely physical threat. We now have, since 2011, any conflict, wars and such, have always had a cyber component here, and so it is very concerning that – this is not some data erasure, IP theft necessarily, but that I would not be surprised if at next year’s Shangri-La Dialogue cyber becomes an even more clear and present danger there – that aspect, because in governments we have lots of silos, and the physical guys tend to be in different ministries from the logical guys. There is that aspect of this.

I like the points about how offence and defence is really a loose definition by many, many countries, and so this causes a lot of problems on that issue. Then there is the whole cyber-weaponry issue, and I have a case in point here, is the Wassenaar agreement, and the ability to be exchanging information that we all talk about, yet the potential of this being treated as a cyber armament and being restricted, this is an area that obviously needs to be addressed and remedied pretty quickly.

Another issue, since we have these governments here, that I am curious is, we tend to treat cyber as traditional threats, or traditional, as I call them, ABC threats. So, ironically, the atomic threat, the biological threat and the chemical threats were actually easier, to a certain extent, for countries to measure, to audit, to monitor and so on, but this D threat, digital, is definitely difficult because of its lack of sovereignty it respects and so on, and really because the biggest issue here is it is just another risk. I do not think there is such a thing as cyber risk. It is another risk compounding on other risks, yet governments tend to want to pigeonhole this into a cyber thing when it should be treated differently.

I am proud to say that Japan was hosting, just last month, the G7 presidency, and we had brought this up, and to see how cyber security was brought to a greater prominence than past G7 summits. However, through this I think that the bigger point here is, and listening to the panellists, the very nature of definitions seem to be very different, and what we mean by that. I am curious again, and not to pick on China, necessarily, but the concept of cyber sovereignty and then it sounds somewhat almost mutually exclusive to the openness concepts that you have, and then to further that, China is now proposing draft legislation in its cyber-security laws where you have requirements from companies that do business in China, that do not sound very open or sound somewhat one-sided, and so I am curious how that gets reconciled with a China sovereignty, yet from a logical perspective, how it really is not.

Dr Eneken Tikk-Ringas, Consulting Senior Fellow for Future Conflict and Cyber Security, IISS
Thank you. I will take another round of comments and questions shortly. For now, before I give the floor to the panellists to answer the questions in the order of initial appearance, I will just remind you of what openings we have on the table. Sovereignty came up several times, so I would ask every panellist to comment on that. Then China–US cyber agreement: is it working, should it be multilateralised? Then a number of openings from the comment on global commons, cyber–physical tech nexus, cyber armament, cyber–traditional threat. Please pick your favourite.

David Koh Tee-Hian, Chief Executive, Cyber Security Agency; Deputy Secretary (Technology), Ministry of Defence, Singapore
Thank you. First, on the issue of Singapore’s national cyber-security strategy, actually, my office is one year old, and we are actively working on a national cyber-security strategy, and if I complete it on time the plan is for my prime minister to launch it in October of this year.

For those of you who are not familiar, Singapore has a concept of total defence, and the aspects of total defence, from the physical perspective, include civil defence, military defence, economic defence, psychological and social defence. This is the traditional concept of total defence for the Singapore nation. There are, actually, discussions on how cyber will fit into this, and some people have mooted the idea that, potentially, it is a sixth pillar. I personally do not like the idea because the logo that we have for total defence is a hand; it has got five fingers. It will look a bit deformed if we have a sixth finger sticking out.

However, on a serious note, the idea of cyber is that really, the sense that we have is that it transcends each of these dimensions, and some people are thinking that it forms a base layer as a sort of enabler for all of the five aspects that we have discussed. This is something that is going on. I am not totally sure what form it will take, but it is clear that cyber is intimately linked to the whole concept of defence, and from that perspective – not just from military defence, but from the defence of the independence of the entire nation.

How we see cyber is really that it is borderless, and we cannot defend or deal with the cyber threat or cyber issues within any national borders, or, as some of you have said, within a regional border. It needs cooperation. In fact, bad actors deliberately function at the boundaries, across the borders, and where our jurisdictions defer, and they exploit these differences in order to take advantage of our national systems. If we continue to think in these [inaudible] types, then we are just falling into their trap. This underscores, in my opinion, the need for us to work together, to safeguard, deal with these bad actors.

Singapore is intimately aware of this. We are a trading nation; we are an open nation. As I said, we are totally reliant, historically, on trade, and we continue to be reliant on trade, and now in the digital realm as well. We cannot survive in isolation, and all the more so in this new realm of a cyber world. When we look at the logical threat, as some of you have put it, it transcends borders and it needs us to work together.

This moves on to the last point, where we believe that there is a need for a conversation on the norms of behaviour in the cyber world. Some of you have brought up the point about US–China agreement. We believe that the conversation should be expanded and other nations should be invited to discuss, because this is really about a global commons. Cyberspace is not between one country and another, or two countries, it actually involves everyone. Regardless of your level of sophistication, your level of influence in the world, we believe that everyone should participate in this and discuss how best we can manage the challenges that we face in cyberspace. Thank you.

Santosh Jha, Joint Secretary, Policy Planning and Cyber, Ministry of External Affairs, India
First, on the norms, there is the UN group of governmental experts that had had four rounds. We, a country expert, participated in the first three. The fifth one has been formed; we are going to participate in it. The norms are getting developed, and it is not that the US–China came up – it was a contextual norm in the relationship that they had between the two countries. I am not supposed to reveal it, but the fact is that between India and the US we have agreed on a more elaborate set of norms, including the one that US and China have.

However, the problem on developing norms is that first, as a colleague from the US mentioned, it is limited to peacetime norms and the discussions, when it gets into the use of force, the threshold, the proportionality, the distinction aspects, is somewhat one of avoidance. By this time, one should be clear that the slow pace of the four groups that have formed at the UN and the kind of norms that they have developed and the level that they have achieved, is quite unambitious, to say the least. That is because of the larger trust deficit that exists. There is a sense that a narrative of the cyber exists which seems to make people nervous, particularly those who do not sit on the high table of governance. That is why it is important to build trust. If you want to get norms that are effective, that will work, I think a degree of broader distribution of governance paths is necessary across the world. I would find it very difficult to agree that when you talk about the multi-stakeholder model, the democratic norms, you cannot have norms that are democratic on the internet and the structure being governed by undemocratic means.

The other point that comes to mind when you talk about cyber is that the manner in which the cyber grew, which was private-sector led, particularly even in India, which was the manner in which it has grown has been entirely – to say because of the absence of governance in the cyber or the IT world, which has allowed it to expand to the extent that it has. However, when you get into these aspects of security, you cannot allow this degree of autonomy that has existed in the digital economic domain, and I am simply uncomfortable with the idea of allowing big companies and corporations to dictate terms when it comes to cyber security. They must come out with constructive solutions, they must participate in the processes, but they cannot be developing offensive capabilities, as some people are propagating. I mean, that would be the worst thing to happen, after nuclear proliferation.

One more point on this aspect is that if you look at cyber, a lot of it can be understood through conventional understanding. It is not that different. It is different, definitely, but most of the assumptions that had held in the past will hold in the cyber domain as well. It is only the degree of honesty that you come to the table to talk about it or the dishonesty that is inhibiting real results. If you tell me that I should say that there is no sovereignty in cyberspace because there is a new anti-sovereign movement in certain parts of the world, and using cyber to foist it on everybody, it is something that needs to be looked at really honestly.

As far as India is concerned, on the sovereignty aspect, I think we are very clear. Sovereignty is absolute, whether it is cyberspace or anything else. If you are talking about jurisdiction, it is different, but sovereignty, when it comes to a country’s domain, is absolute and it is limited by the constitution. Somebody pointed out to me that there is an arbitrary use of sovereignty, and that is not sovereignty. Sovereignty is defined in the constitutions. It has to be exercised through a legal process by using the authority that has been vested in the sovereign, through legal means.

This is a debate that is going on, sovereignty in cyberspace, among the international community. I am sure the UN group will also address it. However, I would think that most countries think that today jurisdiction can be exercised on the basis of the location of infrastructure, and that has a notion of sovereignty in it, although I am quite uncomfortable with the idea of infrastructure location, because increasingly we are finding the infrastructure might be located not in the territorial limits but in the high seas or in thin air.

You would have to discuss this issue. It is an underdeveloped theme, I would think, internationally. The international frameworks are non-existent, virtually. In the case of cyber crime, there is the Budapest Convention, which is amongst the best that you can have as an international framework on any aspect of cyber. We are, at the moment, clearly scratching the surface because there is clearly a lack of honesty in discussions on cyber issues. Thank you.

Qing Yu, Deputy Director-General, Bureau of Cybersecurity, Cyberspace Administration of China, China
Thank you. I will use Chinese to answer the questions. First of all, some experts talked about sovereignty issue. China’s understanding is that national sovereignty is a right for the state. It is a very important symbol, whether you are independent, so we believe that the UN Charter is a very important principle for all of us, which covers all the areas of interactions between countries. So we believe that this principle applies to cyberspace and we believe it is very important to have the base of cyber sovereignty when we are talking about security. We have to really acknowledge such sovereignty and to respect their model of management, public policy, and also we should all participate in the management of cyberspace.

Talking about all the countries, we have different developmental levels and different capabilities. This is what we see in cyberspace. However, each country has the same rights in cyberspace, so we should have dialogue to solve any issues. Some experts talked about information free flow, and I want to remind that for carrying information it is very important to talk about infrastructure, and China is drafting a cyber-security law, which is a very important factor to secure the national sovereignty and infrastructure. How can we secure that and share that so that we can provide better services?

We believe that a safe, stable and prosperous cyberspace is very important to any country and to the global development. In this domain nobody can independently develop or exist on their own, and so we believe this is a global space we must share with each other, so we have to manage it and supervise together. If we have any issues or challenges which cannot be solved by ICT technology, we have to face them together in order to face the challenges. We believe that we have to build a bilateral, transparent system and the purpose is to benefit the entire humankind. Thank you.

Sean Kanuck, Former National Intelligence Officer for Cyber Issues, Office of the Director of National Intelligence, United States
Thank you. I will try to touch on a few of the questions, starting with Mr Bildt’s question about sovereignty and inter-operability. I think you have to think about inter-operability on three levels, the first being physical connectivity, which all but maybe a couple of nations want to be physically connected. The second is technical functionality, and here the example of railway gauges, historically, is very good. The Russian Empire intentionally used a different rail gauge than parts of Europe. It inhibited free commerce, but it provided some degree of security in slowing armament shipments and logistics eastward.

Today, I think technical standardisation is very broad and there are commercial solutions, even where different rail gauges might be used in cyberspace, so I do not think the impasse is technical functionality anymore. I think it is at regulation. I think there are a number of nations who are seeking to put up the cyber analogue of tollbooths or customs houses to regulate what goes through, and I think that is where the real issue of sovereignty and inter-operability lies, and that is where policymakers and sovereign states determine what they think the right balance is.

Turning to your colleague from the Commission, whose name placard I could not see, regarding the US–China agreement from September and its possible broader applicability, I will offer that late last year, a very similar statement was included in the G20 joint statement from the leading politicians, so I think it is gaining wider acceptance as a potential norm. Regarding the US–China agreement and how it is going, I am not going to speak directly to that, because I think that is more appropriate for sitting US policymakers or sitting Chinese policymakers. I will simply observe that I see much fewer cyber-security private-sector reports alleging the kind of activity that they had alleged Chinese actors were doing historically. I think it is a matter of intense bilateral negotiations between the two countries, so I leave it to them to explore it, and what you hear from the two governments would probably be your best indicators of how each of them sees it going.

Mr Saito, we have heard the concept of global commons mentioned a couple of times. I must respectfully disagree with the applicability of that concept. I think it is a misnomer. Whether you are a political economist, like Elinor Ostrom, the Nobel Laureate who discussed collective-action problems and public goods, if you look at cyberspace it simply does not meet her criteria for what is a commons. If you are an international lawyer and you are familiar with Mr Brownlie or Mr [inaudible] work about why the high-seas portion of the Law of the Sea, or outer space or Antarctica, are commons, those legal criteria are simply not met by cyberspace.

Why do I say that? Because every fibre-optic cable, copper telephone wire, smart device in any of your pockets, satellite transponder, microwave relay tower – those have all been built by someone who will insist on a property-right interest in them and seek a sovereign to defend that property right. I do not think we are actually discussing a global commons in either the political-economy or the international-law sense. I think we are discussing something that is a transnational resource that people have vested interests in, and working on global inter-operability is what will matter.

I would also like to bring up a point that Mr Saito raised about the ABCs and the D. I think comparing cyber security to previous models of arms control explored for other aspects is very useful, both to compare it and to distinguish it. And one observation I will offer to this group is, cyber is very unique in that the platforms you would use to deliver, for example, a nuclear retaliatory threat – in that case it would be ICBMs, strategic bombers, submarines – historically was completely distinct from the technical platforms you would use for monitoring, signalling and reconnaissance. In the nuclear analogy, that would have been spy planes, overhead satellites. In cyberspace, I will offer, those two types of platform functions are not bifurcated, and until you are able to do that, you will be in a security dilemma where anyone trying to prove information will have to risk compromising their own retaliatory assets in order to prove that they were themselves a victim. That is a fascinating security dilemma, compared to previous models.

Lastly, I would like to reference what my co-panellist Mr Jha said about the heretofore modest accomplishments of some of the international groups. I wholeheartedly concur with what he has said, particularly regarding the trust deficit to date, which hearkens back to what I said about deterrence not working in cyberspace so far, but I would also like to add that part of that impasse is based on fundamentally different objectives by some of the sovereign nations coming to those discussions. Some of the Western nations focus on protecting the pipes, critical-infrastructure protection. Some other nations, most clearly Russia and China, focus on the content that is transiting through those pipes, the information that I referenced in my opening comments. If you have even permanent members of the UN Security Council coming to the table with fundamentally different objectives, it probably is not surprising that the accomplishments to date have been modest, which is again why in my opening remarks I talked about looking to some aspects akin to Geneva law to find some of that low-hanging fruit, the common interests that you all absolutely share, and building on those premises; building from the bottom up, because high security politics have not worked thus far because of competing interests. Thank you.

Sir Stewart Eldon, Senior Adviser on Defence and Security, Transparency International; former UK Permanent Representative to NATO
Thanks. Stewart Eldon. I used to be a diplomat and I hesitate to intervene as a rank amateur in this area, but I would be really interested to hear the panel’s views on where the balance should lie between the legitimate inviolability of personal and commercial information and the requirement of states and other actors to ensure the security of whatever it is they wish to ensure the security of.

Mr Koh does not have to answer this, but I wonder whether this might not be one of the areas in which he disagreed with himself. For Mr Kanuck, if you were to try and project classic just-war theory into the cyber realm, where would the concepts of proportionality, collateral damage and the requirement of reasonable success fit into the very interesting scenario you sketched out?

Thank you. I am not an expert on internet cyber security, but I am very confused. The panellists have used different concepts. Someone used ICT at the beginning, and then internet, and then cyberspace, and sometimes used digital economy. What are the relations between those different concepts? Which one is universal, which one is a galaxy, which one is a sort of system? I am a bit confused. Maybe in official documents, also different governments, the use of different overlapping or particularly different meanings.

Secondly, about sovereignty and global commerce, the sovereignty means this infrastructure is sovereign, located in different countries, different companies, but the information space is global commerce. Even in the global commerce, who provides the information? Like this morning, the Secretary of Defense, Mr Carter, mentioned about that security is like oxygen, but who provides the oxygen? It is not on the planet. I do not know. If this is a global commerce, who provides this global commerce for everybody? If it is provided by somebody, how can you guarantee that they do not abuse this power, like in the Snowden case?

Another question about sovereignty and human rights. In the humanitarian intervention, Syria told us that human rights is more important than sovereignty. According to the human rights in China, we have 700 million netizens, which is the European and American netizens put together. According to the principle of equal human rights, China should have the rights double European or Americans’ rights in cyberspace. I do not know whether it is a principle of human rights or sovereignty.

Lastly, you mentioned about One Belt, One Road. It is more than one belt or one road; it is not one world, one dream, the Olympic Games. There are many roads. It is like [inaudible] said that everything started from one, one principle is two, two principles is three and there are three principles to everything, so that you should read in my book, and the last one I show to you later. Thank you.

Rahul Roy-Chaudhury, Senior Fellow for South Asia, IISS
Thank you. Rahul Roy-Chaudhury, IISS. I have two questions for Mr Jha. The first is that you mentioned in passing the Digital India Programme, which is a flagship programme of the Indian prime minister, seeking to transform India through greater connectivity, etc. To what extent do you think the awareness in India of cyber-security issues is able to keep pace with Digital India and the movement forward on this?

Secondly, in your comments you mentioned the lack of honesty in cyber discussions. You also mentioned earlier that the relationship with the United States, particularly on cyber issues, was encouraging. I was wondering if I could ask you to give us a sense of the countries that India has a useful bilateral cyber dialogue, especially as you have been leading on these dialogues for the Indian government over the last two years or so? Thank you.

Professor Leif-Eric Easley, Research Fellow, Asan Institute for Policy Studies; Assistant Professor, Ewha University
Yes, thank you. Leif-Eric Easley, Ewha Womans University and the Asan Institute in South Korea. I would like to ask about the DPRK. To Ms Qing, I understand that there is actually some US–China cooperation on dealing with North Korean cyber threats. I would be very interested if you could enlighten us a little bit on that subject. For Mr Koh, I also understand that there are concerns about North Korean citizens building their knowledge and capabilities and also operating from ASEAN countries, and if you could please enlighten us as to what you and your colleagues are doing to monitor and address that cyber-security issue. Thank you very much.

Abdul Mutalib Bin Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Setia Dato Paduka Haji Mohd Yusof, Permanent Secretary, Media and Cabinet, Office of the Prime Minister, Brunei
Thank you. Invisible name plate again, but Abdul Mutalib from Prime Minister’s Office, Brunei Darussalam. First of all, I think, a big hand and congratulations to all the panellists. Very quickly, one quick comment and one big question, maybe. Perhaps I would like to dedicate that to Sean Kanuck, and the other one to my two-minded friend, David Koh. Very quickly, I think we should all recognise the fact that yes, I do concur that it is indeed a cooperation, there needs to be cooperation, and we cannot do it alone to address cyberspace security and in the cyber domains particularly. That, I concur with David Koh.

Then I would like to tie it up with Mr Kanuck’s point on global thinking; I particularly like that. However, if I combine this too, I would like to walk back again, especially to David Koh. We do have different sets of developments in countries and, as you correctly pointed out, you are just one year in setting up your institution with the new agency, and my question is just simple, perhaps Sean and David can answer this. Before we go out there and do cooperation and think globally, can you just share a bit on your experience or your thinking on how you actually align together and put on the same page on policymakers as well as practitioners? I am so glad that policymakers are here today, as well as practitioners, and I really like Sean’s points on industry–government initiative that you mentioned earlier on, in the 1990s in the United States, as you mentioned, but perhaps you can elaborate that further? Thank you.

Colonel Lü Jinghua, Associate Researcher, Academy of Military Science, People’s Liberation Army, China
Thank you. I am Colonel Lü Jinghua from the Academy of Military Science, People’s Liberation Army. I am very glad to be here, because actually when I tried to choose a session, whether to do the maritime dispute or this one, I think I made the right choice, because everyone is speaking in a positive tone. We all believe that cyber security or cyber risk or cyber challenge, whatever the term, we all think is a common concern for every country and we all want to cooperate, but where to start?

My two questions are about two cooperative areas. The first is about a mechanism. Everyone knows that there is no well-recognised norm in this brand-new domain, and there are several different suggestions. The two noteworthy ones are the multilateral model and the multi-stakeholder model, and the multilateral model, which is advocated by China, is always criticised because everyone thinks China is trying to exercise governmental control over this domain. However, look at the panel today. All the speakers are from the government. It shows how major a role government can play in this area, so I hope that all of the speakers can say something about the multilateral, and the difference between the multilateral and the multi-stakeholder model.

Another question is very simple and it just goes to Mr Kanuck. You said something about information sharing, and we know that attribution is the most difficult problem in this world, and your country is the most advanced one in attribution technique. So I want to know, if there are some new cyber attacks, will you share attribution techniques with other countries and, if not, what is the reason?

I like Mr Kanuck’s formulation between pipes and content. The US and the West tend to focus on the pipe, and China and Russia and some other countries focus on the content. It helps us to see the difference but, at the same time, I think the reality is a little bit more complicated. China also cares about the pipes, and also the US, to some extent, also cares about the content, for example, child pornography and maybe terrorist information, so I think there is relativity there.

My question is another one. Like in the real world, in the cyber world we also have the strong and the weak. In the cyberspace, how can we protect the weak and the vulnerable? The weak and vulnerable, they are in a very difficult state. They can cause political turmoil if information is flowing as freely as we desire. Thank you.

Anyway, this takes off from the point a while ago of the importance of platforms. As you may know, the defence ministers of ASEAN in their meeting, just last May, approved the establishment of the Philippine proposal for a cyber security working group. I was just wondering if I could hear some thoughts on how do you want this platform or see this platform evolving, especially because I am also a little bit confused, because they need to have a clear delineation of responsibilities or roles as far as various agencies and stakeholders are concerned, and yet there is also a sense that cyber security underpins everything, so it has to be cross-cutting. If you could clarify that, thank you.

Dr Eneken Tikk-Ringas, Consulting Senior Fellow for Future Conflict and Cyber Security, IISS
Thank you. With this, I will give it to the panellists for two-minute wrap-ups on their selected points.

David Koh Tee-Hian, Chief Executive, Cyber Security Agency; Deputy Secretary (Technology), Ministry of Defence, Singapore
Thank you. I want to go back to one of the first questions, I think, on a balance between personal and commercial information and privacy versus states’ responsibility to ensure security. My perspective is that there are, in some respects, almost no absolute rights. Perhaps, to put it another way, rights come with responsibilities. How nations deal with challenges like this, I think, is a function of the history, the culture and the circumstances that they operate in. I think this is Singapore’s perspective, and even in countries like in Europe there would be not, to my understanding, absolute rights. For example, in some countries, Holocaust denial, Nazi views are frowned upon and illegal.

In Singapore’s context historically, and the reality today, is that we are a multicultural, multi-religious society. We do not take this for granted, so consequently there are strict laws against hate speech, which will stir up religious tensions, so we actively manage this and this is something which is essential. From that perspective, security, in certain circumstances, trumps the need for privacy, and whether the personal or commercial entity, this is a function which individual nations would have to decide on, based on, as I said, the unique circumstances in history, culture and the realities that they live in.

Some of you have asked about how I see ASEAN functioning, and bearing in mind that there is a need for awareness of the different levels of sophistication, development among the ten ASEAN member states. Firstly, Singapore has begun action. We have co-partnered with the United States Department of State to organise ASEAN confidence-building measures last year, and this year, again, we will be working with them on an exercise with ASEAN member states on building awareness. Ultimately, we believe that confidence-building measures and capability building within the ASEAN member states is something that is necessary.

How to work together? I think that there are both aspects of multinationalism, multilateralism as well as multi-stakeholders which are involved. I look at it that cyber is not a domain that is purely for the nation to deal with. There are other stakeholders; the industry, academia, policymakers all have a role to play, and we need to have a common understanding, common goals and then work towards that in a collaborative, positive manner. Thank you.

Santosh Jha, Joint Secretary, Policy Planning and Cyber, Ministry of External Affairs, India
Very quickly, the easy question from Rahul, which is the countries that we have cyber dialogues with. We have about 11 countries. If I remember right, it is the US, UK, France, Germany, EU, Russia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Sweden, Australia and Brazil. We are starting one with ASEAN very soon. We are negotiating two agreements, one with Russia and the other with the US, which is almost final, on cooperation in cyber. The one with the US is a unique one, because it is probably the more far-reaching one. The dialogue is focused on generating cooperation, which I outlined in my opening remarks, so all of those are the high priorities.

Just a very quick 30-second remark on the political differences and the difference in political systems that was mentioned as a reason for the lack of trust, but at the same time, systems that are similar – no system can be identical – also had problems. The great example is cyber-crime cooperation, the difficulty in accessing electronic evidence across countries. We have very low levels of compliance with US companies. The sovereignty is shifting to the companies here.

Additionally, on the sovereignty question, how you put that question. If you put it on the privacy side, then Europe can have data protection, but it is also a trade benefit for them: on the one hand, it is a non-tariff barrier for countries like us, but at the same time it sounds like a very democratic measure, but it is an assertion of sovereignty. It is very difficult to understand; when people talk about sovereignty, probably they do not mean the sovereignty – they are talking about specific countries, two of them, that generally is referred in that context.

The question of just war: I do not think there is an answer to it yet, and that is precisely because I think technological solutions do not exist at the moment. We are talking in the lethal autonomous weapons system also, the same problem, and probably we will have a solution to it in future where distinctions can be made and we can have a framework to address it.

Very quickly, on the multilateral versus multi-stakeholder model, I think it is a bit of a useless debate, actually, because when you are talking in the UN, it is multilateral, naturally, but when you are talking within your country or in the broader internet-governance community, then you will have the entire society of yours participating, and it is not just the government, government just is one of the stakeholders. And that assertion, that realisation is one of the reasons why India went ahead and endorsed the multi-stakeholder model of internet governance. Of course, democratic norms, openness of internet, inter-operability – our preference for these principles was also behind it.

Qing Yu, Deputy Director-General, Bureau of Cybersecurity, Cyberspace Administration of China, China
Thank you. I would like to address in two areas my opinion. Firstly is, internally, in China, what we are doing, and we are exploring a road to manage the cyberspace with Chinese characteristics. We believe that freedom is our target but order is our method. If you want to have freedom, you must have order, so we are seriously managing the cyberspace and we crack [down] on crimes in order to protect our citizens and to protect our young people to develop healthily, and this is our road. Our principle is to rule by law so that we can balance order and freedom. This is the first area.

Second area is international cooperation, and we believe, globally, those who violate IP and privacy and cyber crimes are the issues that we need to cooperate with every other country, and also terrorism is a disaster for everybody, so the key important factor is we have to face together a way, of course, against all these cyber crimes, and we would like to set up an international convention to crack down on terrorism and to keep the security of the cyber domain.

Lastly, I want to say China is open and this is our strategy and policy. Since opening up, many years ago, we will not close down. This applies to our cyber domain. Thank you.

Sean Kanuck, Former National Intelligence Officer for Cyber Issues, Office of the Director of National Intelligence, United States
Starting with Sir Eldon’s question about just-war theory, jus ad bellum and jus in bello, once again, I would have to revert to effects-based reasoning. On proportionality and collateral damage, it would be the best effort of an ex ante analysis of what would be the likely result. I obviously understand that the reasonable success parameter is very difficult with unpredictable technologies, especially when defensive structures are changing every day, to know what impact you will have is very challenging, whether it would be more or less than you intended, so that uncertainty conjoined with most operations occurring clandestinely, makes all of that analysis incredibly difficult. However, I offer we do have standards of how we do it in other areas in effects-based reasoning. That is what I would strive for, but I realise it would be a tall challenge.

Regarding the definitional question, cyber is actually an engineering term from the 1940s, and then a fiction-literature term from the 1980s. I do not like it. The internet is a limited portion of what we generally talk about as cyberspace. I personally prefer ICT, which is also the terminology used by the UN group of governmental experts, so I would offer ICT as probably the most encompassing and the preferred term used internationally.

Sir, you also asked who provides the global commons. Again, I do not think it is a global commons, but if you ask who provides that capability, I think it is companies like Facebook, Apple, Google, Cisco, Huawei, ZTE, Alibaba, Alcatel, Deutsche Telecom, NTT, etc. The important thing? I have listed a bunch of companies. That should matter to all the sovereign representatives in this room.

The question about cooperation, how do we align together, I think you need to find the strategic common ground first. Look at the history of outer-space treaties. All those rules, including the 100-kilometre Karman line, the non-militarisation of satellites, those rules all came about because during the Cold War the nations who could put satellites up felt there was a strategic benefit to having satellite overflight to reduce the nuclear threat. Start with the common strategic interest, and you might find common ground for future laws or norms.

The reference to 1990s I made was actually to US policy discussions about information warfare, focusing on information content. That leads us quickly to your comment about industry and sovereign governments, which actually is the multi-stakeholder discussion that others have spoken on. My government favours the multi-stakeholder approach; they have articulated that broadly.

To Ms Lü, about attribution, I am no longer in our government, so I will not be involved in any of those decisions about what does not get shared; that is a policy decision. However, I offer there is increasingly wonderfully abundant information from private-sector companies, whether they are US cyber-security researchers, whether it is 360 from China, whether it is Kaspersky from Russia. I think we are all benefiting from a very robust global cyber-security sector, and that is shedding light on a lot of activities that various sovereigns have been doing over time. However, I will not comment on what will be shared in the future because I personally have no way of knowing.

Finally, to Mr Jha, absolutely agree with you that both China and the United States care about both the pipes and the content. It is a matter of degree, and in the United States we either benefit from or are limited by, whichever political position you take, our First Amendment. We probably have the least restrictive information controls, but that is in our political history and our constitution, and that is something that each country decides its own balance. However, you are absolutely right, everyone looks at both issues; we just find the balance in different places. I think I am going to stop there. Thank you.

Dr Eneken Tikk-Ringas, Consulting Senior Fellow for Future Conflict and Cyber Security, IISS
Thank you. Having a session where questions do not end is a luxury problem, and having a panel that is able to answer all those questions is a privilege, so thank you all for joining this panel and please join me in thanking the panellists before we adjourn.

The Challenges of Conflict Resolution

The Challenges of Conflict Resolution: Jean-Yves Le Drian

As Delivered

Dr John Chipman, Director-General and Chief Executive, IISS 
I would like to open this morning’s session to thank, on behalf of all of you who were able to attend, President of the Republic of Singapore Tony Tan; the staff of the Astana and Rajaratnam School of International Studies for having been our excellent host last night at dinner at the Astana. It was a splendid occasion, and personally I want to add a special word of thanks to President Tan for his very warm remarks made on the occasion of the 15th IISS Shangri-La Dialogue. As most of you know, he was the Minister of Defence of Singapore in 2002 and the person with whom the IISS most closely worked to make possible the first Shangri-La Dialogue, an experiment in defence diplomacy that has now happily been transformed into an institution of defence diplomacy.

This morning we have two plenary sessions: one on the challenges of conflict resolution, the other on pursuing common security objectives. As is traditional at the IISS Shangri-La Dialogue, we allow the ministers to interpret liberally the exact titles of these plenaries. They are really made as an opportunity for them to give personal expression to their thoughts on the defence and security priorities in the region as seen from the perspective of their countries.

We are very delighted to have a representative from Europe, from Southeast Asia and from Northeast Asia at this morning’s plenary. I will ask them all to speak in the order in which they appear in the programme, introducing them briefly now.

First to speak will be Jean-Yves Le Drian, the Minister of Defence of France, who has been a very loyal and persistent participant in the IISS Shangri-La Dialogue since he was first appointed Minister of Defence by President Hollande, coming to his first Shangri-La Dialogue only a few weeks after he took office as Minister of Defence and since then has come on a very regular basis and ensuring that the French delegation, in general, was always very strong and committed.

We are equally delighted to have Senior Lieutenant-General Nguyen Chi Vinh, the Deputy Minister of National Defense of Vietnam. We find it particularly important to have Vietnam at this year’s Fourth Plenary owing to the great interest that attaches to Vietnam’s role in the region, one that has been highlighted also through the visit that President of the United States Obama paid to Vietnam, which resulted in part in the announcement to relax the previous arms embargo held against that country.

Finally, we are delighted to welcome for his second consecutive appearance at the Shangri-La Dialogue Admiral Sun Jianguo, the Deputy Chief, Joint Staff Department of the Central Military Commission of China. I enjoyed the opportunity about a month ago to meet him in the Ministry of National Defense in Beijing and we had an hour of substantive discussions on the importance of the Shangri-La Dialogue to China’s own defence diplomacy, and I am delighted that he is here to present the perspective from the People’s Republic of China on these questions.

Now that the room has so elegantly and quietly settled and I have your full attention, could I please invite Jean-Yves Le Drian, the Minister of Defence of France, to take the podium?

Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister of Defence, France
Thank you, John. My good friend, the Minister of Defence of the Republic of Singapore, esteemed colleagues, ladies and gentlemen, I would like to start by thanking the International Institute for Strategic Studies for the excellent organisation of this, the 15th Shangri-La Dialogue, and the government of Singapore for its warm hospitality. It is an honour for France to be present at this key security summit in Asia. And, on a personal note, as John has just mentioned, this is the fourth time that I have had the pleasure of speaking here, and I am pleased to have ensured the continuity of French attendance here, reflecting both our interest and involvement in security issues in the Asia-Pacific.

France is a European power, but it has geographic and political territories in Asia and Oceania. Today, 85% of our exclusive economic zone, which covers 11 million square kilometres – making it the second largest in the world – is located in the Indian and Pacific oceans.

Over 1,600,000 French citizens live in this zone, and we have a permanent military presence of 8,000 personnel, who are responsible for the protection and security of French territories and for monitoring our exclusive economic zones. These forces are also involved in local relief efforts, the fight against trafficking, state operations at sea, and joint defence activities across all domains with our various allies and partners.

Asia lies at the heart of this area, and is a hothouse for economic and population growth and technological innovation critical to global prosperity. Yet Asia also has its vulnerabilities.

So, as a minster of defence, for me the issue of stability in the Asia-Pacific is not a theoretical one. It is a concrete issue, which occupies a large part of my ministry in the areas of strategic planning, monitoring regional developments, dialogue with our partners, intelligence activities, planning and operational management.
To examine conflicts in the Asia-Pacific, and their resolution, is to raise the question of what conditions are needed to create stability in this region. I see two key conditions for stability, which I would like to address: order and change.

Stability requires political order. This order is the result of a historical process that has shaped the legal and political architecture, institutions and arrangements that ensure a sustainable framework for human activities. However, this order is not set in stone. It can evolve. That is why the second condition for stability is, paradoxically, change, or more precisely adaptation; that is to say, the way that change can take place without generating catastrophic instability. Certain elements must all be in place in order for change and stability to go hand in hand. There are three that I feel are essential.

Firstly, the rule of law. This element is particularly important with regard to regional maritime issues. The principles of freedom of navigation and overflight, to which France is deeply committed, represent a crucial issue. Last week, the heads of state and government of the G7 underlined their commitment to maintaining a maritime order based upon the principles of international law, as reflected in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). This issue is of the utmost importance, and not only for the stability and security of the region, because, if the Law of the Sea is not observed in the China seas today, it will be in jeopardy in the Arctic, the Mediterranean and elsewhere tomorrow. In order to keep the risk of conflict contained, we must defend the Law and defend ourselves with the Law.

This is a message that France will continue to convey in international fora. It is a message that France will continue to support, by operating her ships and flying her aircraft wherever international law permits and as determined by operational need. Several times a year, French naval vessels pass through the waters in this region and they will continue to do so. For example, since the start of this year, our navy has already been deployed three times to defend our national-security interests, to implement our defence partnerships, to contribute to regional and international peace and security; that is why we guarantee that these deployments will continue regularly.

Secondly, dialogue and the peaceful settlement of disputes, backed by strengthening trust, are essential measures. Now, more than ever, it is necessary to establish dialogue between countries that oppose competing land claims. On this point, France – like many countries present in the room today – regrets that work on the Code of Conduct for nations in the South China Sea has not made any significant progress in recent years.

Finally, I believe that the third crucial element in managing change is steadfastness. We must stand firm against actions that undermine the foundations of the international order, stand firm against the rejection of the law and of dialogue. To those defence ministers from countries whose armies are engaged in a large number of foreign theatres: I can tell you that this steadfastness has a price, but we have no choice if we want to maintain order and security. This determination, which is primarily political, applies to transnational terrorism, which not only affects the Levant and Europe, but is also affecting Asia. This determination also applies in Asia with respect to North Korea, whose actions are a threat to international peace and security.

For France, the direct result of this principle of steadfastness is reliability. We have been a steadfast ally to the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, against the backdrop of the 2014 crisis triggered by Russia, playing our part in the so-called reassurance measures and, in future, in organising a forward presence in the east. Likewise, we stand alongside our principal partners in this region of the world: India, of course, which has been our leading strategic partner in Asia since 1997; Malaysia, which is a historic partner of ours in Southeast Asia; of course Singapore, an acknowledged centre of stability in this part of the world; and also Australia. Our cooperation with Australia in the field of defence is set to increase considerably in the coming years and decades, both in the naval domain and beyond. I would add in this regard that the strengthening of our defence relations with Australia builds on a growing convergence of interests, as evidenced by our joint presence in a large number of theatres of operations.

In this globalised world of ours, there are no local or regional challenges; there are only common challenges of varying intensity. France, by providing itself with the means to defend itself, and by taking on an ambitious security role, intends to contribute to maintaining stability in the Asia-Pacific. In order to be effective, this contribution must be designed to complement the actions of our partners, in particular India, Australia, the United States, Singapore, Malaysia and even Japan, among others.

We also wish to develop new partnerships with all the ASEAN countries. As a matter of fact, this very afternoon, I am going to Vietnam to strengthen our cooperation on defence.

France is a country of the European Union, and the conditions that I have cited – that is, respect for the rule of law, seeking dialogue and steadfastness when this rule is violated – are at the heart of responsible multilateralism which, in France's view, must be the hallmark of the European Union's action. It is for this reason that the situation in the China seas, for example, directly affects the European Union – it is not just in the interest of our economies that the freedom of maritime traffic needs to be respected.

Why shouldn't the European navies, therefore, coordinate to ensure a presence that is as regular and visible as possible in the maritime areas in Asia? I will shortly explain this proposal in detail to my European colleagues, and I hope that at the next Shangri-La Dialogue we will be able to assess the effects together.
Our long-standing ties with our Asian partners are being further strengthened and, on this basis, France will continue to support regional security in all its dimensions.
France is well placed to know that when international crises occur, they directly affect our security.

In this regard, the Indo-Pacific region has an opportunity to be globally protected from open conflicts. France will therefore play its part in our collective responsibility to preserve and strengthen the stability and security of this region.

Thank you for your attention.

The Challenges of Conflict Resolution: Senior Lieutenant General Nguyen Chi Vinh

As Delivered

Dr John Chipman, Director-General and Chief Executive, IISS
Minister, thank you very much for citing the importance of the primacy of law, the centrality of dispute resolution and the need for firmness – firmness that can often have a price – and for describing the diversity of defence relationships that France enjoys in this region, the diversity that France is building on shortly also as a consequence of your visit to Vietnam. So with that preface, it is a pleasure to invite the Vice-Minister of Vietnam to take the floor.

Senior Lieutenant General Nguyen Chi Vinh, Deputy Minister of National Defense, Vietnam
Dr John Chipman, ladies and gentlemen, one and all, I would first like to bring you greetings from Vietnam's Defense Minister, General Ngo Xuan Lich, who owing to work commitments is unable to attend the Dialogue today.

I would like to thank the organising committee and the host country, Singapore, for inviting me to attend the Shangri-La Dialogue this year and to speak at this plenary session.

Ladies and gentlemen, the Asia-Pacific region has an increasingly important role as a driving force for development in the world economy. Southeast Asia, with the birth of the ASEAN Community, has become a positive factor, with broadening integration, increasing linkages, binding interests, and as the centre of existing and emerging regional security structures. Peace, stability, cooperation and development continue as the leading trends.

Nonetheless, the regional security situation continues to have latent complicating factors that cannot be discounted, such as terrorism, nuclear threat, territorial and border disputes, maritime security and increasing non-traditional security challenges. Intra-regional disputes and differences are the cause of much unease, and though not yet at the point of open conflict, they display potential indicators that need forecasting, prevention and timely resolution.

Such a situation comes from differences in interest, ambition and strategic competition unfolding in a negative direction, in disregard of international law. It is inconsistency between words and actions – a dispute-settlement style of inequality and double standard. Furthermore, it is an imposing demeanour and an insular, egoistic pursuit of interests, without thought to the interests of other countries, regional interests and the international community. These negative and unfathomable displays, these differences and disputes are taking place; if not settled effectively and with full responsibility, for peace and stability, [they] will lead to the threat of conflict.

In the context of globalisation and the strong development of science and technology, if a conflict arises – on whatever scale, whether of greater or lesser intensity, local or global, intra-state or inter-state, ethnic or religious, political or economic, environmental or cultural – the peak of which is military conflict, the consequences will be great and unfathomable, not only for those directly involved, but also for the region and the world.

Ladies and gentlemen, no nation, whether large or small, wants a conflict to happen, so why do these regional security challenges still exist and have a tendency to increase? Why is the subject of preventing and resolving conflict preoccupying the attention of all nations? And this is the subject of this plenary session today. It is because there are still differences in common perception of interest, lack of confidence in international strategies and failure to abide by international law. Besides, structures for cooperation and diplomatic and legal instruments are still neither strong enough nor truly respected, nor have they been promoted sufficiently and effectively enough to settle disputes, differences and conflicts.

In such a context, we need a more practical and dialectical outlook in our development cooperation and settlement of disputes, differences and conflicts. In a modern world, not only is there development cooperation, but there are also disputes and differences; not only are there favourable opportunities, but there are also challenges and even threats. Therefore, we need both to endeavour and cooperate to settle differences and develop together, for the common strategic interest of each nation and of the whole region. Here is an indispensable law of the modern world that no nation can stand outside of. In a multipolar, multifaceted world, if we want to have peace and prosperity, we cannot achieave it without trying hard; but in order to obtain our goals, we cannot stay away from cooperation.

The point I want to emphasise to you today is that all nations must cooperate and endeavour to settle differences, to prevent conflict, to increase cooperation for mutual development, to build confidence, respect of legitimate interest, and at the same time endeavour openly to find a common voice and common interests in the settling of disputes and differences.

But whether cooperating or fighting, the first thing is that all must be done with a spirit of equality and respect for the principles of international law, considered as a standard by which the parties involved settle disputes and differences, minimise threats of conflict, perseveringly and calmly resolve by peaceful means, and under no circumstances use armed force or the threat of armed force.

Every nation bases itself on the national interest of its own people to cooperate and develop as well as to settle disputes and differences, seeing that as a basic criterion, a top priority in building and protecting its own nation and also in its international relations. But the national interests of a people need to be looked at objectively and appropriately, have a sound basis, and be based on a harmonious relationship vis-à-vis the interests of other states and of the international community. They must avoid unilateral imposition and failure to respect the interests of other states as well as stable peace for the region and the world.

Strengthening cooperation in multilateral organisations, such as cooperative mechanisms of the United Nations and regional security structures such as the ARF, East Asia Summit, ADMM and ADDM–Plus, is crucial in settling disputes and differences and checking the threat of conflict. In this, solidarity, the role of the centre, direction from ASEAN and the responsibility of member nations and related states, especially large countries, need to be valued, for peace and justice.

The Shangri-La Dialogue today is a representative proof of the spirit of cooperation and the struggle to settle differences, to prevent conflict, and to maintain an environment of peace and stability for the region and the world.

Ladies and gentlemen, in the context of such a complicated situation, Vietnam is determined to preserve its independence and autonomy – seen as its highest principles – both cooperating and endeavouring to develop as a country and settle disputes and differences. Vietnam relies foremost on its own strength to protect the national interest of its people and does not go with one country to oppose another. At the same time, it is open and transparent, respecting the voice and interests of the community in security issues common to the region and the world.

On the issue of the South China Sea, today Vietnam and a number of ASEAN countries have declared their ongoing sovereignty in disputes and differences with China. The problem does not just stop there, but brings with it actions of unilateral imposition, changes to the status quo along with the threat of militarisation to create a deterrent strength; negative impacts on aerial, maritime and submarine security and safety; environmental destruction; and obstruction of peaceful maritime labour activities. It brings with it the involvement of other states both within and outside the region, and if not settled in time will lead to a weapons race and strategic confrontation with critical and unfathomable consequences.

Vietnam policy: a resolute, persevering endeavour to protect the integrity of territorial sovereignty, to protect shipping and airline security and safety by peaceful means on the basis of international law (including the 1982 International Convention on the Law of the Sea, declarations of the parties of ASEAN and China on conduct on the South China Sea) and sincere discussions so that a Code of Conduct between South China Sea parties can soon be signed.

Meanwhile, Vietnam continues to strengthen cooperation with China and the countries involved, to build and reinforce confidence, to find common points in strategic interests, and at the same time to struggle openly with a constructive spirit. Only in this way can a solution be found that the parties involved might accept, one in accord with international laws and norms, and also to be welcomed by the international community as a positive contribution to peace and stability in the region and in the world.

Ladies and gentlemen, we in Vietnam have been through many wars for the liberation of our country, to win independence, freedom, peace, unity and territorial integrity. Because the people of Vietnam have a strong spirit of patriotism and love for peace, they are ready to sacrifice all for national independence and freedom. Besides, Vietnam's just cause has always received the support of the international community and the people of the world. War may be far behind us, yet today, even at this very minute, every family, every human being, every inch of the soil of Vietnam, must still bear the long and onerous consequences left behind by war.

Therefore, the highest objective that we always aim for is peace: peace in freedom and independence, peace in territorial sovereignty and integrity, in the warmly clothed, full-bellied happiness of the people; and at the same time a striving for the peace, security and stability of the region and the world.

Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to conclude my speech at the Dialogue today with the immortal words of President Ho Chi Minh, great leader of the people of Vietnam, a world-renowned man of culture: ‘More than anyone, the people of Vietnam are eager for peace to build their own lives. If you want peace, you must rely on principles of equality, mutual non-interference in internal affairs, mutual non-invasion, and mutual respect for national territory, integrity, sovereignty and independence. The people of Vietnam firmly believe that each and every conflict in this world can be solved by peace. They believe that all countries, regardless of their different social regimes and different forms of awareness, can all live in peace too.’

Thank you.

The Challenges of Conflict Resolution: Admiral Sun Jianguo - English

As Delivered

Dr John Chipman, Director-General and Chief Executive, IISS
Mr Minister, thank you very much for your words of caution that unilateral actions in the South China Sea could result in future in a regional arms race, and also for your pledge, against the background of Vietnam’s tragic recent history of war, to stretch everything to solve issues diplomatically as much as possible. Thank you very much for those remarks. It gives me now great pleasure to invite Admiral Sun to take the podium. Admiral Sun, the floor is yours.

Admiral Sun Jianguo, Deputy Chief, Joint Staff Department, Central Military Commission, China
Honourable Mr John Chipman, ladies and gentlemen, hello. Please excuse me, my throat is a little hoarse as a result of the continuous discussions over the last two days.

I am delighted to come to Singapore to once again join the Shangri-La Dialogue, and I express my sincere gratitude to the London International Institute for Strategic Studies and the Singapore government for their very kind invitation and for providing such warm hospitality. I take this opportunity to hope that we can all share in the work of China and China’s military in devoting their efforts towards strengthening security in the Asia-Pacific region, promoting the policy of regional security governance and putting the activities into practice as advocated.

Today’s world stands firmly at the centre of unprecedented historic transformation. The world is multipolar; economic globalisation is deepening development. All of mankind benefits from this mix; fates are mutually linked. All countries in the Asia-Pacific region rise and fall together. The population of this region makes up 40% of the population of the world, the overall economy of this region accounts for 57% of the global economy, and the overall trade volume totals 48% of the global trade volume. It is the fastest-developing economy in the world, it possesses the greatest potential and it is the region most actively working collaboratively.

Every country in the Asia-Pacific region joins hands to advance together. Countries in this region jointly strive for self-improvement. The construction of the ASEAN Community was a significant milestone of progress, and regional cooperation formed a comprehensive, multilevel, solid structure.

Countries in the Asia-Pacific region share a common weal and woe. Generally, the security situation in the Asia-Pacific region is stable; however, strengthening the military alliance, strengthening military deployment on behalf of the region would bring with it dangerous factors. The security situation in the Korean Peninsula and in Afghanistan is still very grim; things get heated when territorial sovereignty is challenged and maritime disputes arise. Terrorism, internet security, nuclear proliferation and other threats are on the increase.

The culture of each country in the Asia-Pacific region is mixed. Here in Singapore, in other ASEAN countries and everywhere in the Asia-Pacific region, a multicultural, mutually harmonious, mutually built, intercommunicating, thriving life force can be experienced. All countries in the Asia-Pacific region offer one another mutual help and protection; we stick together in hard times, we jointly respond to terrorism, to climate change, to natural disasters, to the spread of disease and other such transnational challenges. The Asia-Pacific region is peaceful and prosperous. And these aspects of stability didn’t come easily: they are the result of the persistence of the Asia-Pacific countries and people in peace, development, progress and persistence in equal treatment, mutually beneficial and mutually profitable practices.

Nowadays, all countries in the Asia-Pacific region have already become a community with a common fate that is such that if one thrives, we all thrive; if one loses, we all lose. I am at your centre and you are at mine. The Asia-Pacific region’s beautiful future already requires the joint development of every country to act as the engine to push forward. It also requires the maintenance of common security as a safeguard. China proposes the One Belt, One Road initiative to promote common development, the establishment of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, the establishment of the Silk Road Fund and so on. China further advocates the establishment of a new idea of security in order to safeguard common security, walking a road of security collaboration which is jointly established, jointly enjoyed and mutually beneficial.

Not long ago, at the opening ceremony of the CICA foreign ministers' meeting, Xi Jinping, president of the PRC, took the step of proposing that all the countries should collaborate to build a security-governance method in keeping with the special characteristics of this region. And from the point of view of the Ministry of Defense and the military, the Chinese side believes that all countries should work together in the following aspects to promote security governance in the Asia-Pacific region. The theme of a time of peace and development is to be grasped; persistence in overcoming confrontation through cooperation should be adhered to; substituting domination with mutual profitability should be undertaken. In pursuing their own country’s interests, all countries should also simultaneously show reasonable concern for other countries; in protecting one’s own country’s security, the security of all countries should be respected, jointly promoting regional peace and stability.

China’s military have always devoted their efforts to safeguarding world peace and regional stability. China, as one of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, has dispatched the largest number of peacekeeping personnel, the amount of funds China has contributed to peacekeeping has already risen to second place in the world, and we are in the process of proactively implementing the initiative set forth by Xi Jinping at last year’s September UN peacekeeping summit to accelerate the advancement of the construction of an 8,000-person scale of peacekeeping standby forces.

On 1 June, before I came here to take part in this summit, China’s peacekeeping military-engineer platoon in Mali suffered a terrorist attack. One Chinese service member was killed and five others were injured; the injured personnel are currently still in hospital. Only last year the UN suffered the loss of the lives of 129 peacekeeping personnel for the cause of the peacekeeping of mankind.

Since December 2008, half of the more than 6,100-strong Chinese naval escort in the Gulf of Aden were foreign vessels. In the past ten years the Chinese army have joined in international humanitarian emergency-assistance operations on 27 occasions, and have provided 24 countries with approximately 1.23 billion RMB in emergency aid. We actively provide for defence building in developing countries without attaching any political conditions, assisting as far as we possibly can.

The Chinese army is currently undergoing a holistic, revolutionary transformation, including the disarmament of 300,000 service personnel. I believe that when the current Chinese army is held in comparison to the world’s advanced armies, the disparity is relatively great, and the per capita military expenditure on each serviceman is only US$60,000, hugely disparate from the US, the UK, France, and Japan’s more than US$200,000 to US$300,000 per capita expenditure. And so, China’s army must drive reform forward, increase benefits, strengthen construction and speed up development.

China holds the banner of peace, development, cooperation and mutual profitability high, and has all along pursued a defensive national-defence policy. China holds no ambition to proclaim itself hegemon. After being reformed the army will increase self-defence and defence capability, and make even more and even better contributions to regional and international peace and security. It will promote the mutual establishment of cultural exchange across different civilisations, and forge a firm foundation for security governance.

There are many different nationalities, religions and cultures in the Asia-Pacific region; societal systems, development paths, and the standards of economic development are all different. The acknowledgement of and concern about related security issues is not the same. China opposes linking terrorism to a particular religion; to establish contact, it promotes strengthening cultural-exchange dialogue, shows tolerance to mutual establishments. It is a proponent of harmony and diversity, it transforms cultural diversity and differences between countries into development vigour and power, so that the different cultures of the Asia-Pacific region can peacefully coexist and become a model of harmonious symbiosis.

China’s Ministry of Defense and army have actively developed comprehensive international communication and mutually beneficial cooperation, deepening mutual trust with all countries, continuously enriching the content and form of communication and cooperation. We strive to build a new type of mutually trusting, cooperative, non-conflicting and non-confrontational Sino-US military relationship, supporting measures to reduce disasters, keeping peace, countering pirate activity and other domains – the continued deepening of communicative cooperation.

In the interim, both China and the US are preparing to participate in the RIMPAC 2016 military exercises. China and Russia’s military relations are maintained at a high level; not long ago, both armies conducted united anti-missile computer exercises for the first time, and pragmatic cooperation continues to deepen. The Chinese and Pakistan armies built a significant China–Pakistan Community of Shared Destiny consensus in accordance with the leaders of both countries, continuously deepening and expanding regional counter-terrorism cooperation. China’s and India’s armies and ministry of defence leaders will exchange visits within six months to jointly promote the relationship between both armies entering into a new phase of development. China and Japan’s defence talks are currently resuming step by step. They will persist in dialogue whereby mutual understanding and mutual compromise will be discussed, leading the way to a new idea of security governance.

The notion of the weak being prey to the strong belongs to a different time and place. Engagement in wars of aggression at will does not create peace. Only through mutual understanding and mutual compromise can stability be attained; only through sticking steadfastly to righteousness and justice can lasting security be won. With regard to complex regional issues of special interest, all parties concerned will remain cool-headed, hold fast to peace, negotiate and cultivate honest friendships with neighbours, control crises through the establishment of a control mechanism of rules and regulations, alleviate tension through the promotion of mutual trust, resolve crises through political strategy and progressively promote the resolution of issues.

Under the premise that the Chinese army steadfastly defends national sovereignty, security and development interests, they devote their efforts to handling disputes with related countries appropriately, to jointly controlling risks, and to peaceful settlement of disputes. The Chinese and US armies concluded the Rules of Behavior for Safety of Air and Maritime Encounters Memorandum of Understanding, and expanded the important inter-operational notification-mechanism military operation, further strengthening communication between navy and air-force front-line commanders and pilots. The Chinese and Japanese ministries of defence are currently jointly driving forward the establishment of maritime- and air-communication mechanisms. China and India are actively developing a frontier-defence association, jointly defending the peace of the border area. At the informal meeting held last week in Laos by the Chinese [and] ASEAN ministers of defence, the Chinese side proposed holding a meeting next year with the armies of the ASEAN countries about the rules concerning the encountering of maritime accidents, combining drills for maritime search and rescue and disaster relief.

China has always insisted that the Korean Peninsula should denuclearise to safeguard the peace and stability of the peninsula and insists on settling the issue through dialogue and consultation. China will comprehensively and completely implement the United Nations Security Council resolutions together with the international community, and actively promote pulling the dialogue back to a conventional way of thinking in order to resolve the nuclear problem, and at the same time we resolutely oppose US deployment of Terminal High Altitude Area Defence systems in Korea, undermining strategic stability. Security infrastructure must be developed in accordance with regional characteristics, strengthening the mechanism of security governance.

The Asia-Pacific region countries must transcend cold war thinking, extend compatibility and non- confrontation, not be against any third party, and cooperate in mutually beneficial and mutually profitable security; move away from one string of dialogue as well as non-confrontation, form companionships as well as new non-aligned relationship routes. They should insist on mutual respect, unanimous agreement, take care of the Asian way of comfort for all parties, strengthen the coordination of security mechanisms in all regions, cross the river together in the same boat, jointly respond to challenges, and gradually adapt international cooperation of the Asia-Pacific region’s security needs.

China’s Ministry of Defense and army have actively participated in regional multilateral security dialogue and cooperation. We have deepened defence cooperation with the member countries of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, deterring the three forces, and jointly protecting the peace of the Central Asia region. China resolutely supports ASEAN exhibiting a leading role in cooperation in the East Asia region. We show initiative in holding the informal ASEAN defence ministers’ meeting, comprehensively participate in the ASEAN minister of defence general assembly framework for dealing with concrete issues in every sphere, actively making our own contribution to related joint drills, and from next year China will work with Thailand as co-chair of the next round of the counter-terrorism specialist group. We will drive forward pragmatic counter-terrorism cooperation in conjunction with all member countries. At the same time, China is currently researching the establishment of counter-terrorism negotiation mechanisms with the Pakistan, Afghanistan and Tajikistan armies to strengthen efforts to crack down on regional terrorism.

Ladies and gentlemen, the South China Sea is currently the focus of attention of all parties, and I would like to emphasise that for a long time, with the cooperation of China and the neighbouring countries, the situation in the South China Sea has been completely stabilised. Freedom of navigation in the South China Sea is also not affected by the influence of some disputes, while we firmly safeguard territorial sovereignty and ocean rights. At the same time, we have all along insisted on negotiations and agreement to peaceful resolution of the dispute. We adhere to the rules and mechanisms for management and control of differences of opinion, we adhere to realising mutual benefits through cooperation, we adhere to safeguarding freedom of navigation in and flight over the South China Sea, [we] adhere to peace and stability in the South China Sea.

The consensus between China and ASEAN countries is bilateral dialogue and a consultation process to resolve the dispute. China and ASEAN countries have the ability to safeguard peace and stability in the South China Sea through cooperation, and foreign countries should play a constructive role, rather than the reverse. The present intensification of the South China Sea issue is due to individual countries deliberately causing provocation for their own interests. The South China Sea arbitration case brought by the Philippines uses international law as a pretence. Its essence negates China’s territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests in the South China Sea, to cover up its act of illegal occupation of China’s share of the island reef of the Spratly Islands.

I would like to emphasise that the arbitration method is not applicable to the China–Philippines-related dispute. China and the Philippines have already held bilateral negotiations, and have opted to adopt negotiation to settle this in the Code of Conduct of all parties in the South China Sea. In addition, the territorial-sovereignty issue does not fall under the scope of the Convention, and the Philippines matter relating to the maritime delimitation dispute has been excluded from the 2006 Chinese government statement. The Philippines’ unilaterally proposed arbitration is contrary to the China–Philippines protocol, is contrary to the related provisions of the Convention and violates international law. This arbitration is based, in the Philippines, on the basis of violations and illegal demands, has no jurisdiction; the result of the arbitration is non-binding as far as China is concerned. The Chinese government has already repeatedly made it clear that it will not accept it, will not attend the arbitration, does not acknowledge it and will not implement the result of the arbitration. This is not only not a violation of international law, it is precisely the exercise of the rights of international law conferred by law, and complies and safeguards the embodiment of international law.

We also note that some countries adopt joint rules of use of the international law, and do not conform to the agreeable approach of not taking unfair advantage, on one hand setting the example of implementing what is known as freedom-of-navigation operations in the South China Sea, openly flaunting its military force, and on the other hand pulling in help from cliques, supporting their allies in antagonising China, forcing China to accept and implement the result of the arbitration. China firmly opposes this. We don’t cause trouble, and we are not afraid of getting into trouble. China cannot swallow painful consequences, evil consequences; it cannot permit its sovereignty and security rights and interests to be encroached upon; it cannot sit idly and watch a minority of countries stir up trouble in the South China Sea.

I want to reiterate the speech given here last year: the Chinese people and armed forces have always believed in not believing evil, have always been reason-oriented, not power-oriented. And at the same time, I hope to again reiterate, China’s South China Sea policy has not and cannot change. China has the wisdom and patience to resolve the dispute through peaceful negotiation, and believes that the other countries involved have the wisdom and patience to collaboratively come over to this peaceful path, and countries who aren’t involved should not try to destroy the path we walk in order to benefit their own selfish interests.

Ladies, gentlemen, China proposes two objectives in this hundred-year struggle. We are in the process of trying to realise the revival of the Chinese dream, of the mighty Chinese race. This dream, along with the Asia-Pacific region and even the beautiful dreams of the people of every country in the world, are mutually harmonious and interlinked. The building of lasting peace, a jointly prosperous Asia-Pacific is our common aspiration. I am a veteran, and like the people and service personnel of every nation, seeking to win is my mission in life. Protecting the peace is my true dream. I have always firmly believed that shaking hands is better than making a fist, an open heart is better than a cocked gun. The two great world wars have given mankind a tragic and sorrowful lesson. We should reflect on history, treasure the current world peace, and cherish the hard-won peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region. In the wake of the great development of economic globalisation, the common destiny of present-day mankind is inseparably linked, causing us to join hands in driving forward the building of the Asia-Pacific community’s destiny, jointly defending Asia-Pacific security, prosperity and stability, offering mankind an even more beautiful tomorrow.

Thank you.

The Challenges of Conflict Resolution: Admiral Sun Jianguo - Chinese

The Challenges of Conflict Resolution: Q&A

As Delivered

Dr John Chipman, Director-General and Chief Executive, IISS
Admiral Sun Jianguo, thank you very much for your very comprehensive and well-prepared statement that was delivered in exactly 30 minutes, so thank you very much for that. We already have 20 questions, so I will not seek to summarise any further the statements made but move through these comments and questions as quickly as possible so that we can give the three ministers a chance fully to reply to the points made. I will pay most attention to those who have not yet had a chance to take the floor. So let me first ask Bill Emmott.

Bill Emmott, Former Editor in Chief, The Economist; Member of the Council, IISS
Thank you very much, Chairman. My question is for Admiral Sun. Admiral, you clearly stated that China is opposed to the forward-area air-defence deployment in the Korean Peninsula. I wonder if you could kindly explain further your reasons for opposing this deployment and tell us what form of cooperation you would consider with other parties, including the United States, for the purposes of missile defence and the North Korean nuclear issue?

Professor Carlyle Thayer, Emeritus Professor, Australian Defence Force Academy, University of New South Wales; Director, Thayer Consultancy
Thank you, Mr Chairman. Two questions to the Admiral. You talked about the Philippines’ illegal occupation of features. Could you please provide some details? Did they throw off Chinese military or administers from these features at any point in time, or were these features just left unoccupied? The second part of my question is: does China have any obligations under UNCLOS? Because when you signed it, you took on the responsibility to accept the dispute-settlement mechanism dealing with entitlements, not the issues you have raised and have distorted the Philippines’ position. It is therefore up to the arbitral tribunal to determine whether the complaints made against China fall within their jurisdiction – and they did so. You are really saying that you have no obligations under a dispute-settlement mechanism that you agreed to accept and therefore you reject the ability of UNCLOS to be applied. Thank you.

Professor Lanxin Xiang, Professor of International History and Politics, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies
One question for Admiral Sun and Monsieur Le Drian. You have emphasised that China stressed the importance of cultural dialogue as the foundation of genuine relationship of security relations. As you can see, a dialogue like this hardly even mention those topics as you want to explain. Nobody talk about OBOR – one belt, one road – and nobody is talking about cultural dialogue. Do you think that it is cultural condescending attitude here?

Now, for Monsieur Le Drian, what confidence the French government have actually in the role played by the United States, the French used to call hyperpuissance in the Asia-Pacific security issues? As you know, United States is neither member of the region nor a member of the UNCLOS. What would General de Gaulle think today?

Dr Rommel Banlaoi, Director, Center for Intelligence and National Security Studies; Chairman, Philippine Institute for Peace, Violence and Terrorism Research
Thank you. Thank you very much, Mr Chairman. I have a question to Admiral Sun and to General Vinh. To Admiral Sun, as you all know, we have a new president right now and he expressed interest to resume bilateral talks with China. What are China’s expectations from the Philippines to make this work? What efforts will China exert in order to make bilateral talks work? That is related to my question to General Vinh. Do you think, General Vinh, bilateral talks will work? Thank you.

Dr Nguyen Thi Lan Anh, Associate Professor and Deputy Director-General, Institute for South China Sea Studies, Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam
Thank you, Mr Chairman. I also would like to have two questions to the Admiral, please. My first question is: as freedom of navigation is echoed and supported in all the speeches yesterday and today, I just would like to seek your explanation on the current understanding of China on the right of innocent passage, freedom of navigation and overflight, particularly the right enjoyed by foreign warships. Are there any rights subject to restriction except those provided for under UNCLOS?

My second question is that, in the speech made by the Minister of Defence of France, he made a remark that no substantial progress has [been] made to the CoC consultation progress. I just would like to seek your advice on which fighters will help to accelerate the CoC conclusion in our region. Thank you.

Dr Seiichiro Takagi, Senior Adjunct Fellow, Japan Institute of International Affairs
Thank you very much, Mr Chairman. I have a one-year-old question to Admiral Sun. At this very forum, one year ago, Admiral Sun concluded his response to questions mostly dealing with South China Sea: trust me or not, look at actions. I would like to hear Admiral Sun’s assessment, after a year since that statement, whether or not China succeeded in strengthening or enhancing trust in China among its neighbours, and if you think so, I would like you to tell us concrete actions which contributed to the enhancement of trust in China. I would like to raise the same question to General Vinh from Vietnam, whether or not Chinese actions raise the trust in China or not. Thank you.

Josh Rogin, Columnist, Washington Post; Political Analyst, CNN
Thank you. Admiral Sun, last month President Xi Jinping announced in remarks in the PLA Daily that China’s military budget would grow by the slowest rate in over six years. You attributed this to mounting pressure from the economic downturn. My question is: how does the PLA leadership view President Xi’s decision to slash the growth of its military budget, and will you be able to continue the PLA’s expansion in the South China Sea given these mounting economic and budgetary problems? Thank you.

Dr John Chipman, Director-General and Chief Executive, IISS
Thanks very much. I think what I will do now is give Minister Le Drian a chance to answer the one or two questions asked of him; Minister Vinh, the one question, I think, asked of him. Then invite Admiral Sun to answer on BMD in Korea, on the Philippines and UNCLOS, on freedom of navigation and on the Chinese military budget. We do want to go back to the audience again, so keep your answer crisp, please. Monsieur Le Drian first.

Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister of Defence, France

Yes, briefly, because Admiral Sun is in the spotlight and I will let him answer the many questions.

Basically, I did not quite understand the remark which was addressed to me – the only comment I noted for me was one about the manner in which France should behave, I think, in the Indo-Pacific area.

Firstly, an observation: it is possible to be outside the region and yet be interested in it, especially – as I said in my speech – in view of the importance of the norm, the importance of the law and the importance of scrupulously observing the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, even if, and I say this to the person who addressed me, it has not escaped my notice that the United States has not signed this Convention – that is not news to me; I already knew it. But basically, the Law of the Sea applies everywhere, be it the Pacific, the Mediterranean, the Atlantic or the Arctic, and any violation of, any challenge to the Convention on the Law of the Sea can have consequences across all the oceans. France is therefore particularly vigilant with regard to full respect for the freedom of movement enshrined in the United Nations Convention; France practises it itself – I said so in my speech.

The United States has a direct interest in these issues, insofar as they are a power with a coastline. I do not see why this question would arise and why it would be necessary to use non-peaceful means to settle territorial disputes. We fully share this point of view, which is why we hope that the Code of Conduct, which has currently stalled somewhat, will enable the implementation of a mechanism for regional dialogue based around ASEAN. Our hope is accompanied by a willingness to act, which was expressed by the person who asked this question. We note that there have been no developments for two years.

Dr John Chipman, Director-General and Chief Executive, IISS
Minister Vinh, can you solve your problems bilaterally with China?

Senior Lieutenant General Nguyen Chi Vinh, Deputy Minister of National Defense, Vietnam

There is one question for me, and that is, does bilateral dialogue have any effect? My answer is that it does. For issues where disputes and differences remain between two countries, such as the Paracels, then that relationship is bilateral, between Vietnam and China. For issues where numerous countries are involved, such as the Spratlys, it’s not only Vietnam and China, so there is no way Vietnam and China can discuss things; they have to be discussed with the countries declaring sovereignty. Then there are issues of a larger aspect, such as security, shipping safety and environmental issues, that are of an international and regional aspect. Nonetheless, what I want to emphasise is that whether bilateral, multilateral or international, all must comply with the law, be open and transparent, and respect regional and international interests. And whether bilateral or multilateral, then we all also really want an attentive, constructive attitude that contributes to the peace process, with cooperation and dialogue from all sides.

There is also one more question for me, that is, do China's actions enhance Vietnam's confidence in China or not? Let me repeat something I said in the speech I've just given, and that is that Vietnam highly values and is strengthening cooperation with China to build and reinforce confidence. I don't have much time left either because I see Sun Jianguo still has too many questions, so I’ll leave my answer here.

Admiral Sun Jianguo, Deputy Chief, Joint Staff Department, Central Military Commission, China
Over the last two days I have, in the capacity of delegate of the summit, conscientiously and patiently listened to the speeches made by some of the representatives, including in particular the speeches made by representatives who hold different views to us, and everyone has, once again, only just proposed these questions. This is my second time participating in this summit, and last year, on 31 May, I answered 13 questions of the 15 questions asked of me on that day. To put emphasis on the questions answered on the South China Sea issue, just the fact that many issues related to the South China Sea, so in fact if many speeches at the General Assembly wish to say that we hold different views, yet many also relate to the South China Sea issue. So today, I am still unable to restrain my emotions with regard to answering this question, engage in a bit of communication and investigation with everyone.

In addition, in today’s question and answer session, I wish to answer questions on the South China Sea issue in a relatively systematic way. In this way it will be easy for everyone to understand the issues relating to the South China Sea, rather than only some points being understood. If you don’t understand everything about a given matter, and only understand it from one point of view, it is often easy for the comprehension to fall short of the actual circumstances or to deviate from the actual facts, incomplete.

When it comes to the South China Sea issue, I, as a Chinese person and particularly a military man, find it really very difficult to smile about this, because we have all believed since time immemorial that the South China Sea belonged to China. But the situation happening now in the South China Sea causes a lot of heartache to all Chinese people and service personnel. And I think that, with regard to this issue, we should only talk about history, or only talk about a just and reasonable conclusion that could be accepted by everyone but which is actually very difficult to find, particularly the means of resolution. With this issue, you can only really talk about both history and also the reappearance of reality, and only then can you come to a just conclusion, in particular the search for a relatively reasonable and practicable means of resolution.

One. China’s discovery, naming, use and jurisdiction over the South China Sea is the earliest. The origins of the sovereignty and rights and interests over the South China Sea are age-old, and furthermore have never been interrupted – as everyone knows, this is historical fact.

Two. China’s authority over the South China Sea had not been challenged in a very long time when, in the 1940s, the Chinese government delineated the South China Sea intermittent line and announced it to the world. It was a solemn declaration of legality of their sovereign historic authority over the South China Sea. And in 1946, in accordance with the Cairo Declaration, the Potsdam Declaration as well as related United Nations resolutions, the Chinese government dispatched naval military vessels to take control of Taiping Island, Woody Island and various other islands in the South China Sea which had been handed back to China from Japan. At that time Taiping Island was the only core garrison island in the Spratly Islands reefs, and at that time and afterwards for a considerable period of time there was no dispute over the issue of sovereignty of the South China Sea, and many involved countries, governments and people, including the US, have records and charts verifying and documenting this.

Three. The dispute emerged at the end of the 1960s when oil and gas were discovered in the South China Sea. At the start of the 1970s, the Philippines first took advantage of China’s then domestic and foreign dangers to gain unauthorised access to the Spratly Islands reefs. As military personnel, I, at that time, felt indignant at the injustice, but because the Chinese navy at that time lacked the capability, and especially since Taiwanese authorities did not play their proper role, later, at the start of the 1980s, China set out from a peaceful standpoint, and showing enormous restraint and the utmost benevolence, they proposed setting aside the dispute – known by all – and advocated the joint development of the South China Sea, protecting the peace and stability of the South China Sea in the process.  

Four. However, one or two countries have continued to expand military invasion and increase military presence in the reef, not only not responding to China’s proposition of joint development, [but] on the contrary unilaterally engaging in development by themselves – so much so that that they do not permit China to engage in development, instead nipping at and bullying China. In recent years, actually, several similar instances of bullying have occurred in the world. Contrary to what you might think, I don’t think it’s China using hegemony to assist the small and using the small to pressure the big in the South China Sea. There are countries who have invaded and occupied China’s islands and reefs for a long time and expanded the reef to make preparations for war. There are those who have continuously betrayed in order to seize the island reefs, bringing about ever-greater encroachment on China’s sovereignty and rights and benefits in the South China Sea. In recent years the construction that has taken place on China’s seven island reefs is simply more than China can bear and leaves it with no other option than to make an essential response.

Five. China has taken up construction on the island reefs in its own territory, mainly used for civil affairs. This peacefully exercises sovereignty, safeguards sovereignty and does not exist in order to change the current situation – other people are not qualified to criticise. Of course, in accordance with the degree of menace, we must also establish some military defence facilities.

Six. Most of the vessels navigating the South China Sea’s waterways are Chinese, most of the haulage vessels are Chinese ships carrying materials, commodities, and if the freedom of navigation in the South China Sea was damaged, China would undoubtedly be the worst casualty. In the past China had no sovereignty or related rights and benefits to the South China Sea. Now they have them. In the future this won’t affect freedom of navigation in the South China Sea. If freedom of navigation in the South China Sea is affected in the future it won’t be due to China, and anyone who doesn’t believe that should wait and see.

Seven. The South China Sea dispute is currently intensifying. I just spoke about the selfish interests of some countries, especially entering into and carrying out large-scale military manoeuvres, carrying out threats. This is the real threat to the peace and stability of freedom of navigation in the South China Sea. I have explained in passing with everyone, in particular about the South China Sea arbitration case – and I won’t repeat again what I have just explained a little about, other than to say that the core of the Sino-Philippine South China Sea dispute lies in the Philippine invasion and occupation of the Chinese part of the South China Sea island reefs, bringing about territorial issues, and soon after the issue of the delineation of the South China Sea ocean boundary arose between the two countries. I have just explained that the Philippines is in violation on three counts, and therefore explained that China doesn’t accept the arbitration case and won’t participate in it.

I would also like to talk about how the territorial issue does not belong to the revised scope of the Convention. The delineation boundaries of territorial waters and historic authority matters were eliminated by China long ago through the compulsory dispute-settlement mechanism under the provisions of this Convention. Thirty countries in the world have made similar declarations, so … hold on, the Philippines made this arbitration appeal without seeking China’s opinion. Of course, just a moment ago, some comrades mentioned some recent statements made by the new Philippine president, Mr Duterte. I have paid particularly close attention to these, including the willingness to settle the Sino-Philippine dispute through bilateral negotiations. In that case, with regard to the Chinese side, our door to negotiation with the Philippines is always open wide, and we hope that the new Philippine government can cast off the burdens of their former government, sweep away obstacles to the development of Sino-Philippine relations and open up new prospects.

I am here because of my speech and I would still like to speak a little longer, so please allow me a minute, I know that time is running out. Yesterday Minister Carter, the United States’ Minister Carter, spoke of China’s problem of self-isolation. I would really like to say something about this problem and I will take advantage of this opportunity, even though it has not been asked. I have enjoyed favourable interactions with many representatives, in particular defence ministers and national-defence military commanding officers, at this year’s summit, which actually already illustrated the problem. They hit the nail on the head by virtue of the fact that the vast majority of people have still been cordial, respectful, friendly and trustworthy towards me when compared with last year.

The topic of the South China Sea, just raised by everybody, was less than last year. In actual fact present-day China is opened up to the rest of the world, it is a tolerant and responsible country, it is an effective participant in international systems, a constructive contributor. It firmly defends regional security and stability, it works for walking a path of common establishment, sharing and mutually profitable security. I haven’t offered specific examples, but there are many, there are many. I don’t think we were completely isolated in the past, we are not currently isolated and we still won’t be isolated in the future. On the contrary, I worry about those who harbour cold war thinking, wearing rose-tinted spectacles while looking at China’s people and country to separate themselves by building up a wall in their ears, eventually isolating themselves.

I still want to discuss the issue of international law for a moment. Put simply, China is the same as every other country, we all hope to have that.

Dr John Chipman, Director-General and Chief Executive, IISS
Admiral Sun, I can only give you one more minute because there really are many other questions. Could I ask you to, in a moment, answer – no, we have to go back to the audience, as I mentioned earlier. What I will do is go back to the audience and when I come back, the one question that still remains to be answered is on your views on whether the Republic of Korea has the right to defend itself against a prospective DPRK with ballistic missiles with its own ballistic-missile defence. Does the Republic of Korea have a right to defend itself? However, we will come back to that after I have asked three or four more people to ask their questions, to make certain we have a full debate.

If I could now ask Major General (Retd) Gong Xianfu from China to take the floor.

Major General (Retd) Gong Xianfu, Vice Chairman, China Institute for International Strategic Studies
Thank you, Mr Chairman. I have a question for Deputy Minister of National Defense of Vietnam General Vinh. In his recent visit to your country, President Obama announced the United States will completely lift the arms embargo against Vietnam. Does it mean that the United States will become the main partnership for the defence cooperation with the foreign countries? Do you expect that you can get whatever weapons you want to buy from the US? Can you share with me, or the audience here, your view on the motivations for the closer cooperation between Vietnam and the United States? Thank you.

Professor Wu Xinbo, Executive Dean, Institute of International Studies; Director, Center for American Studies, Fudan University
Thank you. My question is for the French Defence Minister. Yesterday and today, we have heard a lot of talk about the importance of abiding by international law. As some already mentioned, ironically, the US is the only [mid] country that has not yet joined the UN [Convention] on the Law of the Sea. Also, the US launched freedom-of-navigation operation in a global context – does not really conform to the international law. As a US ally, France or European Union in general, how can you encourage the US to join UNCLOS and also to improve, to correct this freedom-of-navigation operation so as to not violate the international law? Thank you.

Dr Chung Min Lee, Professor of International Relations, Graduate School of International Studies, Yonsei University; Member of the Council, IISS
Thank you, John. I have one question for Admiral Sun. With all due respect, Admiral, the reason why many Asian countries do not trust China is because of the PLA’s military stances in the East China Sea, in the South China Sea and around the Korean Peninsula and in your borders with many countries. If you want to be trusted in Asia, make sure that you become less aggressive and much more transparent.

My question to you, sir, is this: North Korea has conducted four nuclear tests. It is on the verge of militarising nuclear warheads. It says it may have also SLBM capabilities on top of biological and chemical weapons. What have you done, the PLA, to decrease tensions by convincing your North Korean partners that they must reduce tensions? Thank you.

Dr John Chipman, Director-General and Chief Executive, IISS
Thank you very much. I need to close this session in five minutes because ministers have to go to bilateral meetings and some have to make an early departure. We cannot answer all questions, so I will ask each person to answer one question. Admiral Sun first, could you just answer the one question about the DPRK and what your views are of how the Republic of Korea can defend itself against any possible threat from the DPRK. I think that is one question that is important for us to settle here. Thank you very much. Admiral Sun first.

Admiral Sun Jianguo, Deputy Chief, Joint Staff Department, Central Military Commission
With regard to the issue of North Korea, the issue of the peninsula, because time is very short, I can only speak in the simplest terms. China has made the greatest efforts and investment of time and energy to resolve the North Korean nuclear problem. China assumes the greatest responsibility and pressure and it should be said that this expenditure of effort and responsibility and pressure are all for the benefit of safeguarding the peace and stability of Northeast Asia, protecting the interests of all countries in this region including China. A denuclearised Korean Peninsula, a peaceful and stable Korean Peninsula strongly accords with China’s interests. Of course China involves the military in many, many operations, I cannot narrate them one by one.

I also answered a question just now about Terminal High Altitude Area Defence systems. I am a serviceman, and I am 100% clear that deployment of Terminal High Altitude Area Defence systems, particularly their deployment in Korea by the US, exceeds North Korea’s guided-missile-defence required range. If deployment will directly damage the strategic interests of Sino-Russia and other countries, we would therefore be firmly opposed to it. The end.

Senior Lieutenant General Nguyen Chi Vinh, Deputy Minister of National Defense, Vietnam

Yes, just recently President Obama declared the dissolution of the anti-personnel-weapons embargo on Vietnam. As far as the decision goes, Vietnam sees it as a decision that is both correct and positive. However, I personally think it is a little late; in reality it should have been sooner. The US lifting of the embargo on Vietnam is significant for us in that it demonstrates respect for Vietnam and a strengthening of confidence in Vietnam, as Vietnam and America are comprehensive partners. As far as defence relations, naturally it is similar to many other countries; the US is an important partner for Vietnam. Nonetheless, Vietnam today has no immediate intention of buying American weapons.

Thank you.

Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister of Defence, France

Only one question was addressed to me, so I will answer it very briefly.

How can we support the United States’ ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea? We want it. I was a member of the French delegation at the time of the discussions and the preparation of the Montego Bay Convention, some time ago now, and the United States was very active in the drafting of the text, so it is to be hoped that it should be able to ratify it. I note that many American administrations are going in this direction and that the right thing to do would be for the American Senate to ensure that the United States is part of the Convention – like many other countries in the world.

Furthermore, all of these texts need to be respected – that is what we wish for, freedom of movement – but I also note that the old customary law respected by the United States integrates freedom of movement on the seas, so ratification would simply consolidate what is already practice.

Dr John Chipman, Director-General and Chief Executive, IISS
Ladies and gentlemen, thank you very much. We have had an excellent series of ministerial statements and an excellent discussion. Could you please thank all of our ministers for their engagement and return to the hall at 11.30 for the concluding plenary. Thank you very much indeed.

Pursuing Common Security Objectives

Pursuing Common Security Objectives: Harjit Singh Sajjan

As Delivered

Dr John Chipman, Director-General and Chief Executive, IISS
Ladies and gentlemen, we would like to begin in a moment or so the concluding plenary, which is an opportunity to tie together the threads of our discussions, which is the reason why we have intentionally entitled this session very broadly, Pursuing Common Security Objectives, a title that I think resonates with the spirit of the Shangri-La Dialogue process to recognise that while there are different security perspectives and occasionally national strategies that are competitive, the purpose of defence diplomacy is to discover as many common security objectives as one can and then pursue them in an organised and deliberate manner. We heard earlier this morning, for example, from Chinese Admiral Sun, the many peacekeeping operations and cooperative security engagements that the People’s Liberation Army of China are involved in, and a number of the other ministers in their own remarks have emphasised the bilateral, mini-lateral or, in some cases, fully multilateral cooperative defence activities in which they are engaged.

Might I take also this opportunity as people are settling in the room to remind you all of the publications that the IISS prepared for this specific Shangri-La Dialogue: our Regional Security Assessment, an Adelphi book on China’s Cyber Power, another Adelphi book on Asia’s Latent Nuclear Powers and also a special report on how the EU might be able to engage more effectively, specifically with the Southeast Asian states. That report is not a dry communiqué. It is quite an energetic assessment of what the EU as an organisation, and also individual European states, might do to more productively engage with these most vibrant of regions in the defence-policy domain. If you don’t have copies of those publications, they are available. Since many of you have very long flights home, they offer an opportunity to stimulate your mind on your return to your home countries.

At this concluding plenary, I will ask each of the ministers to speak in the order in which they appear in the programme. I will briefly introduce them now and then ask Sumitha to take the floor. As usual, we will then engage in a question-and-answer session that we will conclude at 13.00 or thereabout. However, our record so far is pretty good to conclude pretty much on time.

Our first speaker will be Harjit Singh Sajjan, the Minister of National Defence of Canada. Canada has been coming regularly to the IISS Shangri-La Dialogue. This is his first appearance at the Dialogue following the election of the government of Justin Trudeau in Canada, a person who has himself a personal experience of military affairs, having deployed himself to Afghanistan.

We also welcome again Anatoly Antonov, the Deputy Minister of Defence of Russia, who also makes, I think, his second successive appearance at the Shangri-La Dialogue. We welcome a full participation of all permanent members of the UN Security Council to this Shangri-La Dialogue.  Russia has been taking a more energetic stance, too, towards its security engagements in the Asia-Pacific, not only in the field of diplomatic defence cooperation but also in arms sales and in engaging, of course, also in some of the Security Council diplomacy, for example, around the vexing issue of the DPRK, and the Russian perspective on Asia-Pacific security is one that we must listen to and engage with.

Of course, it is always an honour to have Dr Ng Eng Hen, the Minister for Defence of Singapore, our collaborator in mounting the Shangri-La Dialogue, to offer his concluding perspectives on our work here this weekend.

With that preface, may I invite the Minister of National Defence of Canada to take the floor?

Harjit Singh Sajjan, Minister of National Defence, Canada
Mr Chipman, thank you for the introduction. Having learned that you are from Canada, I am disappointed that you have not been throwing out a few ‘a’s during the Dialogue here.  However, I will work on that.

Ladies and gentlemen, I am grateful for the opportunity to participate in this year’s Dialogue.  This is my first time attending the Shangri-La Dialogue since our government has been in place and I can assure you it will not be my last. Canada is here and ready to explore new ways to cooperate with our friends and partners in the Asia-Pacific.

As our Prime Minister has often said, when it comes to security, nations are stronger and safer when we work together. Whether working within NATO, of which Canada was a founding member, or adding our signature to the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, our government believes that relationships based on principle do not just serve our interest, they serve the entire world.

We also believe diversity is not a weakness but a source of collective strength. Myself, as a former police officer, I can tell you there is an amazing diversity to people in my community. In fact, immigrants from countries across the Asia-Pacific region have made Vancouver their home. Asia has been the largest source of immigrants to Canada. Moreover, Canada’s trade with Asia-Pacific countries is second only to our trade with our neighbour to the south, the US. If someone is born in India and raised in South Vancouver, I can tell you that Canada is very much a Pacific nation both in geography and in our people. That is why Canada is committed to increasing our engagement in the Asia-Pacific region.

More importantly, we are continuing to make a meaningful contribution to preventing conflict and bolstering security. We are dedicated to building upon our past contributions as we adjust to an evolving international dynamic and reinforce a rules-based international order.

As Secretary Carter said yesterday, nations are increasingly working and networking security together and, by doing so, making a choice for a principled and inclusive future. Ladies and gentlemen, Canada is and will be a consistent and meaningful contributor to international peace and security in this region.

We have all taken time during this Dialogue to acknowledge some of the challenges that we face. As the discussions over the past two days show, threats to maritime security are top of mind at any gathering of Asia-Pacific defence officials.

Canada is supportive of all interested in increased stability and peace in the Asia-Pacific region. Disputing parties must resolve their conflicts peacefully and in accordance with international law. Responding to the challenges we face also requires clear words and clear actions. As you are aware, Canada has strongly condemned the recent nuclear and ballistic-missile tests conducted by North Korea and urged the country to honour its international obligations. We will continue to work with Asia-Pacific partners and the international community to respond to North Korea’s provocative behaviour.

Responding to challenges also requires clear codes of conduct. Canada has been active in the Western Pacific Naval Symposium to develop and become signatory to the Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea. We feel this code will be an important mechanism to reduce the chance of accidents or incidents between the countries in agreement.

Now let me turn to an issue of importance to the entire world, and one with which the Asia-Pacific is no stranger: the evolving threat of terrorism. We all know that radicalised groups strike with terrorist acts and other acts of violence. Yet we continue to see the rise of another generation of young adults susceptible to radical voices. As my counterpart from Malaysia so eloquently put yesterday, our responses and strategies must be different and go beyond traditional warfare. Conventional counter-insurgency will not work against Daesh. We need a comprehensive plan to destroy Daesh, its message and what it represents.

I would also like to make it very clear that Daesh does not represent Islam. In Canada’s fight against Daesh, we have tripled our trainers in northern Iraq and doubled our intelligence capability to the coalition fight within Iraq there.

Canada has learned hard-fought lessons from previous conflicts. I would like to stress that we need to truly understand the complexities on the ground and we must come together to understand conflict better. Local grievances and political vacuums are driving protracted conflicts to devastating ends. Ladies and gentlemen, radical groups will fill the void created by political vacuums and public discord.

Those of us at the forefront of global defence and security know all too well that problems in one nation are rarely contained there. They spill over into neighbouring countries and often the region as a whole. Ladies and gentlemen, I believe this is at the heart of why a coordinated approach is required in pursuit of common security objectives.

What is more, our citizens are often caught in the middle of these conflicts, as Canada experienced tragically only a few months ago. On the streets of Jakarta in mid-January of this year, terrorists carried out a suicide bombing and gun attack that claimed the lives of four individuals, including a Canadian.  Just weeks ago, in the Philippines, we witnessed the beheading of a Canadian by Abu Sayyaf. These are just some of the challenges to the security of the Asia-Pacific region.  They affect all nations of the Pacific, Canada included.

We have also witnessed that conflict is not the only thing that destabilises a region. The devastation wrought by major weather events and earthquakes compel us to take decisive action on climate security. In severe cases where civil powers are overwhelmed, if Canada is asked, we can and we will deploy military capabilities to the site of a disaster. In the last several years, Canada has contributed to several post-disaster relief efforts across the Asia-Pacific region: Typhoon Haiyan in 2013, and following the devastating earthquakes in Nepal in 2015, the Canadian Armed Forces deployed its Disaster Assistance Response Team, made up of over 200 personnel.

These deployments, as part of Canada’s civilian-led whole-of-government response, showcase the gold standard into which civil–military cooperation for national disaster response, one in which we are at the ready to provide. In fact, I am in the process of looking at the opportunity of linking our civilian urban search-and-rescue teams to this response.

We also continue to invest in international shipbuilding strategy, an unprecedented long-term, multibillion-dollar commitment to renewing Canada’s naval fleet. Our strategy will help build and maintain an effective fleet for maritime security on all of Canada’s coasts, including the Pacific.

I have also recently launched Canada’s first public consultation in over 20 years on defence policy, one that includes consultations with experts and our allies. Many of you in this room have already provided valuable insight which has focused our lens on the Pacific region. I look forward to many discussions, and I will be releasing our Defence Review in early 2017.

It is by working together that we have been able to exchange lessons learned and share knowledge to enhance capabilities on both sides of the Pacific. Canada is proud of our ongoing participation in a number of the region’s key security organisations, including the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the ASEAN Regional Forum and the Western Pacific Naval Symposium. It is through these organisations and in our bilateral relationships that we are able to offer our expertise in peacekeeping training, civil–military relations, field medicine, counter-terrorism, maritime security, humanitarian assistance and disaster response.

When offered in the bilateral context, this expertise is shared, for example, through the Canadian Armed Forces Military Training and Cooperation Program. This programme brings Canada Armed Forces personnel together with our colleagues internationally here in Southeast Asia and around the world. It is this type of give and take that defines our relationships with regional partners, that allow us to work together on military training efforts in pursuit of common security interests. Since 1965, more than 2,500 participants from the Asia-Pacific region have received training through this programme, both in Canada and other countries around the world.

However, Canada can do more. We believe strongly that the biggest contribution to peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific is open and constructive dialogue. Then this is just the start. We watched, with great interest, as the Asia-Pacific security architecture has developed, as organisations like the East Asia Summit and the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus have consolidated and strengthened. We know that nations of this region understand that Canada is prepared to contribute.

Ladies and gentlemen, the Shangri-La Dialogue has provided us with a much-needed occasion to discuss the most pressing security issues of the day. We have exchanged ideas and best practices openly and collaboratively. We have reaffirmed our commitment to cooperation in pursuit of common security goals, and we have renewed these important friendships and professional relationships that make the work we do together so much more fruitful. It is important that we have constructive dialogue on issues in which we agree and especially those in which we disagree.

Canada is eager to maintain strong, productive ties with our partners and allies in the Asia-Pacific region. We understand the need for a continued demonstration of meaningful commitment to the region and we are dedicated to making this happen. Canada’s engagement in the Asia-Pacific will be consistent and meaningful.

Ladies and gentlemen, we look forward to continued cooperation and partnership with all of you for years to come. Thank you very much.

Dr John Chipman, Director-General and Chief Executive, IISS
Minister, thank you very much. We very much look forward to your early 2017 Defence Review and the place that the Asia-Pacific has in that Review, not least after the full consultations you have with members of the Canadian public. Thank you very much.

Pursuing Common Security Objectives: Anatoly Antonov

As Delivered

Dr John Chipman, Director-General and Chief Executive, IISS
It is now my pleasure to invite Anatoly Antonov, Deputy Minister of Russia to address the Shangri-La Dialogue.

Anatoly Antonov, Deputy Minister of Defence, Russia
Mr Chairman, ladies and gentlemen, on behalf of the Russian Defence Ministry, may I start by thanking the International Institute for Strategic Studies and the government of Singapore for hospitality and excellent organisation of this event.

I would like to congratulate our honourable host and personally Dr John Chipman on the 15th anniversary of the forum. Over this period of time, the Shangri-La Dialogue has become an influential, international platform which draws growing attention worldwide, thanks to its openness, representation and important agenda. 
Ladies and gentlemen, the Asia-Pacific has asserted itself as the driving force of world economic development. However, the region is still facing long-standing, unresolved issues as well as new challenges and threats. Among them are terrorism, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery, territorial disputes, organised crime, piracy, arms smuggling, drug trafficking, cyber crime.

Growing arms race in Asia has become a particular cause of concern not only to Russia but also to many of our partners in the region. It is critical not to repeat the mistakes of Europe, the epicentre of two world wars that devastated our planet. Russia, as a European and Asian country, has a significant stake in strengthening mechanisms of global security. I wish to emphasise the importance of creating an equal and indivisible security environment that would not serve a privileged few, but everyone. Thus, we could avoid further conflict escalation both in Europe and the Asia-Pacific region.

All the more so given today’s reality, which requires from us utmost coordination and preparation. First of all, I mean the fight against terrorism, a major challenge to international stability. Joint war on terror was on the top of the agenda of the Fifth Moscow Conference on International Security held this April. There was broad agreement among the participants that terrorism represents the greatest threat to international community.

Yesterday, we heard statements by Indonesian and Malaysian ministers of defence. I would like to support their ideas regarding the necessity to tackle the problem of terrorism. Let me stress that it is high time to stop playing with terrorists. We should not divide them into bad and good guys. We can see the result of such games in Afghanistan and in the Middle East. We have to be united in our fight against terrorism.

The Russian Federation has invited all interested countries to cooperation on establishing a genuinely broad international coalition against terrorism based on international law and the UN Charter, the initiative that was put forward by Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin. The Russian Armed Forces are effectively performing their duties in Syria, aimed at stopping terrorism away from home, at faraway frontiers, not letting it spread to Russia or other countries. The success of our Aerospace Force made it possible to turn the tide in the fight against ISIL, al-Nusra and other terrorist groups in Syria. Airborne and seaborne strikes were accurate, powerful and effective. We have destroyed terrorists’ military facilities, their hiding places and munitions depots, blocked oil-smuggling routes that brought the terrorists their main funding.

At the same time, we are mindful that the situation in this country remains complicated. There is still much to be done to support the Syrian Army which, with Russia’s assistance, has managed to liberate over 500 towns, including the pearl of the world cultural heritage, the city of Palmyra. The Russian Armed Forces have successfully completed demining work in Palmyra.

Today, the Russian troops are helping Syrians restore peaceful life. We will continue our humanitarian support, delivering urgently needed supplies such as food and water. This was made possible largely through cooperation with United States. The agreement on the cessation of hostilities in Syria was put into effect by Russia [and] United States during statement of 22 February 2016. However, Russia and the United States could have done more to settle the situation in Syria, and there is scope to do more in combating international terrorism in other regions. There are many areas where we could undertake joint efforts, yet our proposals on cooperation remain unanswered.

During the operation in Syria, the Russian Armed Forces gained valuable experience in fighting terrorist groups. We are prepared to share our expertise with a view to improve counter-terrorism capacity of the Asia-Pacific. Terrorist groups are now active in a number of Asia-Pacific states, especially in the Malay archipelago countries, including Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines. ISIL is seeking to spread to these countries its destructive idea of creating a global caliphate.

Terrorists exploit in their interest considerable religious and ethnic diversity and existing contradiction in the region. ISIL emissaries are engaged in recruitment and training of fighters for military operation in the Middle East and North Africa. Estimates show that around 1,300 militants have been sent to Syria and Iraq from Asia-Pacific. We share our partners’ concern over the security threat posed by foreign terrorist fighters to their home countries when they return.

Russia is faced with the same problem. Joining forces with Asia-Pacific countries and implementing effective measures to address this challenge is our top priority. We are aimed at enhancing our military ties with the Asia-Pacific countries in order to strengthen peace and stability. To that end, we intend to actively cooperate in both multilateral and bilateral formats.

Russia–ASEAN dialogue, which entered into its 20th anniversary this year, has considerable potential in this regard. On 19–20 May, heads of state of Russia and ASEAN countries gathered in Sochi, where they adopted a number of important documents, providing a good basis for raising our relationship with ASEAN to the next level. President Vladimir Putin underscored that, I quote, ‘cooperation between Russia and ASEAN had become an important factor of stability and economic growth in the Asia-Pacific region’. The summit was preceded by Russia–ASEAN defence ministers’ meeting, the first of its kind in the history of our relations, which made a meaningful contribution to the preparation of leaders’ meeting.

The exchange of views by ministers of defence confirmed identical or similar approaches to strengthening regional security, resolving international conflicts as well as countering new challenges and threats. The ministers identified specific areas of cooperation: counter-terrorism, maritime safety, natural and man-made disaster response, military medicine, humanitarian mine action.

Dear colleagues, we are building up bilateral military cooperation with the Asia-Pacific countries, primarily with China, India and ASEAN member states. Our comprehensive interaction with China has grown significantly over the past three years. I would like to stress that we do not cooperate against anyone. Russia and China’s cooperation is aimed at strengthening the security of our two nations and stability in the region.

Dear colleagues, I had thought a lot of whether I have to mention the situation on the Korean Peninsula, but after the previous discussions I decided to do so, just only for one sec. We have serious concern about the development on the Korean Peninsula. Russia remains fully committed to non-proliferation regime and non-recognition of DPRK nuclear ambitions. At the same time, we are strongly opposed to excessive military response to … Pyongyang actions. We find it absolutely unacceptable to try to use North Korean nuclear-missile programmes as a pretext to change military-political balance in the region. First of all, I am referring to the plans on deployment of new segment of US global missile-defence system in Asia-Pacific. Such short-sighted steps are fraught with grave consequences for regional stability. All measures taken should be strictly proportional to the actual threat.

John, I would like to answer to your question that you raised to Chinese Admiral, whether South Korea has a right to be protected. As I understand, whether South Korea has a right to be allied with anybody, whether we – I would like to continue – whether we like it or not. However, there was another question from audience. What about the possible cooperation on missile defence? However, you decided to change a little this question. I would like to answer you. First, South Korea has a right to be protected. It has a right to be defended. It is up to South Korea to decide who will be the ally of this country in defensive sphere. The second, whether it is possible to cooperate with United States on missile defence, I would like to say on behalf of Russian Federation – not on behalf of China – yes, we can cooperate. The problem is that such cooperation, I mean cooperation between South Korea and United States, should not undercut strategic stability.

Please, John, I would like to remind you that the interrelation between missile defence and an offensive strategic forces was a cornerstone of the last treaty on arms reduction between United States and Russia. And, of course, there is no more time to develop this issue, but I would like you to understand that there is two different points regarding the situation with the missile-defence system of United States in the world.

Dear colleagues, in our view the existing regional security system, based mainly on a network of close military alliances, does not contribute to creating an atmosphere of trust and mutual understanding, nor does it meet the interests of concerns of all Asia-Pacific states. Closed military blocs are a relic of the past. Instead, we suggest mutually respectful partnership, recognition of nations’ right to determine their fate independently, renouncement of any attempts to ensure one’s security at the expense of the others. It is the point that I would like to emphasise when we are talking about the missile-defence system in the world.
Russia, supported by China and Brunei, launched an initiative to develop a comprehensive regional security framework in the Asia-Pacific. Other countries expressed their ideas as well. I believe that we should seek to harmonise these proposals. Most importantly, we need to find a solution acceptable to all parties, taking into account the interests of all states in the region. That’s why each country’s contribution is so valuable.

For our part, we are firmly committed to expanding our interaction with the Asia-Pacific nations. We intend to continue working closely with anyone interested in practical cooperation, in development of transparency and confidence-building measures in the military sphere. I am sure that our fruitful discussions will result in new ideas and solutions as to how to make our Asia-Pacific home more peaceful and prosperous. Thank you very much for your attention.

Dr John Chipman, Director-General and Chief Executive, IISS
Thank you very much for those remarks, and especially for your fleet-footed thinking in answering questions on ballistic-missile defence. As you know, for about 30 to 40 years the IISS has deployed a lot of expertise on questions of arms control, nuclear deterrence, ballistic-missile defence. In fact, in the 1970s we informally brought together American and Soviet negotiators before START II talks and looked very much at the detail of the relationship between offensive and defensive weapons. As you know, there is always a debate about what the technical capacities are of ballistic-missile defences and whether they can intercept at boost phase or whether they can intercept at a later stage, and whether in fact, therefore, they can be a threat to offensive nuclear forces that are deployed close or far away to where the BMD systems are. 

I might invite some of the IISS experts in the hall, François Heisbourg and others, who might like to opine on this question also, to contribute not opinions, but facts and analysis, in order to better root our understanding of how THAAD may or may not affect Chinese offensive nuclear systems. But it is a legitimate and important debate and without having the facts before us, one cannot take rational and prudential diplomatic stances towards those facts, so thank you very much for bringing up that important question.

Pursuing Common Security Objectives: Dr Ng Eng Hen

As Delivered

Dr John Chipman, Director-General and Chief Executive, IISS
It is a delight now for me to invite the Minister of Defence of the Republic of Singapore to address the 15th Shangri-La Dialogue. Minister Ng.

Dr Ng Eng Hen, Minister for Defence, Singapore
Dr John Chipman, my fellow panellists Minister Sajjan and Minister Antonov. First, let me together with Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean, my ministers Mohamad Maliki and Ong Ye Kung and Permanent Secretary Chan Yeng Kit, Chief of Defence Force Perry Lim, welcome all of you to the 15th Shangri-La Dialogue.
In its inaugural meeting in 2002, as John Chipman reminded us, there were 161 delegates from 22 countries together with 12 ministers. This year the number of delegates has more than trebled. Now from 35 countries, the number of ministers more than double, 30 ministerial-level delegates, and over the years the Shangri-La Dialogue has grown in numbers and stature.

Singapore and my ministry are honoured to play host but, as always, it has been your presence and your contributions that have established the Shangri-La Dialogue as the premier security forum in the Asia-Pacific region. As IISS informs me, we have a good problem: we have more delegates, and we expect more delegates to come in successive years and we have to deal with it and, as with most meetings, when the numbers grow sometimes we fall short in terms of organisational details. I ask for your forbearance as well as to give us feedback so that we can improve.

But some of you have also commended us, especially the staff from MINDEF and the SAF who have tended to your needs, and on behalf of all of us, I would like to thank the staff from MINDEF and SAF for taking very good care of our guests, so thank you very much.

For those of you who were here at inception, you remember that Mr Lee Kuan Yew, then Singapore’s senior minister, gave the inaugural address at the first Shangri-La Dialogue in 2002. I would recommend that speech to you, and you can google it, it is on record.

That speech was vintage Lee Kuan Yew. The acuity of his perceptions and raw assessments shone through. Without distracting preamble, Mr Lee crystallised the essence of the two most important security challenges that will confront this region for years to come, namely the US–China relationship and global terrorism. Two main points he touched, just on that. In fact, he entitled his speech, matter of factly, ‘The East Asian Strategic Balance after 9/11’.

Fifteen years on, indeed, these two challenges, these two same challenges continue to take centre stage in the world. Some cast of main characters may have changed but the main plot remains, albeit with different nuances and new complexities played out. 

On the first challenge, the US–China relationship, Mr Lee remarked in 2002, and I quote, ‘as a rising power, China cannot be expected to acquiesce in the status quo if it is against its interest. As a pre-eminent global power, US interest is in the preservation of the status quo. This fundamental difference of interests cannot be wished away.’

Against this main narrative of a pre-eminent and rising power, I think it would be useful to ask what has passed in the past 15 years. And for the sake of brevity, let me approach this from the perspective of successive changes in leadership in both the US and China, that together with disruptive events after the 9/11 attack in 2001 and the global financial crisis in 2008 have impacted the relationship between the US and China and indeed the rest of the world.

Hu Jintao was the Chinese president from 2003 to 2013 and maintained the focus on economic reform. China’s phenomenal growth for that decade averaged more than 10% a year in GDP terms. It was China’s growth that kept Asia buoyant, even as the European and the US economies stagnated. Asian economies rose with this tide brought in by China’s growth, in particular ASEAN, whose cumulative GDP grew over 300% in that decade. China’s share in ASEAN total trade more than tripled, from 5% in the year 2000 to 16% in 2013.

By then, China had become the top trading nation for ASEAN and Australasia and accounted for more than a quarter of intra-Asian trade. China’s share of global trade had risen, pari passu, more than double from nearly 6% to 12%, or about US$4.2 trillion.

For the United States, the invasion to Iraq in 2003 under President George Bush would eventually lead her and other countries into a military campaign that lasted almost nine years – for many countries, the longest deployment since World War II. President Obama would have to deal with the aftermath of this campaign and the global financial crisis of 2007 and 2008.

In the defence arena, the US rebalancing towards Asia started in earnest in 2011. For trade, the Trans-Pacific Partnership has been negotiated successfully, and it will spur US economic edge and stimulate growth in the Asia-Pacific region if it gets ratified by the US Congress in the last leg of the Obama administration. As all of us know and expect, a new president will lead the US come January next year.

In November 2012, President Xi Jinping was elected as the General Secretary of the Communist Party and the Chairman of the Communist Party of China, as well as China’s Central Military Commission, which made him the paramount leader of the CPC. President Xi vowed then in his first speech as party leader to tackle corruption at the highest levels. This was in 2012. Less than a month later, President Xi toured Guangdong, his first trip outside Beijing, and he also spoke about the ‘China Dream’ as a strong nation with a strong military. Since then, President Xi has undertaken deep socio-political and military reforms at the highest level and is now considered ‘the strongest Chinese leader after Mao Zedong’.

The economic agenda under President Xi is dominated by the One Belt, One Road initiative, backed by the successful launch of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, which now has a capital of US$100 billion from 57 founding member states. Whether he decides to remain as president for a third term or not, Xi Jinping, at 62 years, will be a dominant force in the leadership to stir China for the foreseeable future.

With US and China as the main protagonists, the South China Sea and territorial disputes therein, willy-nilly, has provided the stage on which this strategic rivalry is being played out. ASEAN, with some members as dispute claimants, asserts its centrality – but still, a position attained by default – and has pushed for a code of conduct in the South China Sea. I think all of us here are conscious that more is at stake than disputed rocks or islands. As Mr Lee observed in his 2002 speech, ‘the competition for economic and diplomatic influence has started’. This contest will de facto set new rules and players that will govern state-to-state relations and geopolitics in Asia and beyond for decades to come.

Mr Lee’s second focus, on terrorism, in 2002 had great resonance, not least because it was framed by the attack that had just occurred the year prior on Manhattan’s twin towers. These were images vividly etched in the minds of listeners. Reading his analysis in his speech inevitably evokes déjà vu.

His description of the spread of austere Wahhabist Islam, through the financing of preachers and mosques, remain valid today if not more so. Iraq and Syria have replaced Afghanistan, which radicalise and attract large numbers of Southeast Asian Muslims to wage jihad. ISIS has replaced al-Qaeda and Jemaah Islamiah, and with groups that have pledged allegiance to it, conducted the Paris attacks in 2015 and Brussels this year. In our region, the Bangkok bombing occurred last year and the Jakarta attacks early this year. Abu Sayyaf militants also kidnapped 14 Indonesian sailors in the Sulu Sea this March. We read regularly in Malaysia and Indonesia arrests of would-be terrorists and foiled attacks.

However, there are some differences comparing 2002 to the present. The recent attacks or foiled attempts are consequences of a deeper and stronger undercurrent. In the past three years alone, ISIS has recruited more sympathisers and operatives in ASEAN than al-Qaeda did in the last decade, now with more than a thousand fighters in Iraq and Syria. Some transit through Singapore in the hope of eluding authorities by taking multiple hops to their final destination.

Just three months ago, we caught four Indonesian travellers linked to ISIS while they were here in Singapore. We handed them back to the Indonesian counter-terrorism police. We did the same in November last year to two other Indonesian men who had planned to travel to Syria. Even construction workers from Bangladesh here have been radicalised while in Singapore by their fellow workers, to plot attacks in their home countries. 

All in, about 30 terrorist groups in this region have pledged allegiance publicly to ISIS, including Abu Sayyaf and Jamaah Ansharud Daulah, which conducted the Jakarta bombing with ISIS funding. In Malaysia, 14 suspected ISIS militants were recently arrested during a four-day operation across five states. Several personnel from the Malaysian Armed Forces, including two commandos, have also been found to have links to ISIS. 

Return fighters have linked up among themselves through their networks and declared their collective goal to establish a caliphate motivated by, in Mr Lee’s words, ‘a deeply felt sense of Islamic brotherhood that transcends ethnicity and national boundaries’ and ‘a shared ideology of universal jihad’.

Just two weeks ago, ISIS released its first propaganda video to target Southeast Asia explicitly, in the native languages of Malaysia and Indonesia. Training camps have been reported in Poso in Central Sulawesi and Southern Philippines. Terrorists have capitalised on existing smuggling routes to move people and arms in the region that includes Southern Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore.

This gathering storm has a real potential to destabilise this region if not tackled decisively and together. Security forces, including militaries of individual countries, will have to combat terrorism rigorously. The threat will grow if terrorist groups become more organised to mount sophisticated large-scale attacks with deadlier weapons. Collectively, we must work closely together to build up joint responses, strengthen intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance efforts.

Where appropriate, we can combine resources for operations. In this light, the proposed Sulu Sea patrols between Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines are a welcome initiative to deal with maritime terrorism and smuggling in the region and curtail the movement of terror extremists. The ADMM and Plus countries have also conducted joint exercises on this front. Recently this year, some 3,500 troops, 18 naval vessels, 25 aircraft and 40 special-forces teams participated in the ADMM–Plus Maritime Security and Counter-Terrorism Exercise, which was held first in Brunei and moved to the South China Sea and ended in Singapore. 

However, in this battle, Mr Lee reminded then that, ‘it is necessary to emphasise that the war against terrorism is not a war against Islam. The majority of Muslims have nothing to do with terrorism or extremism.’ This battle is against terrorist groups that ‘have hijacked Islam as their driving force and have given it a virulent twist… [We] must support tolerant non-militant Muslims so that they will prevail.’

Let me conclude. As we did in the inaugural Shangri-La Dialogue in 2002, we continue to meet to address the challenges that threaten our collective security in this region and beyond. All things said and done, we have had relative peace and progress in this region in the last 15 years. Some harder issues will take a longer time to resolve. However, I believe that the Shangri-La Dialogue continues to be a useful platform in our crucial endeavours.

Once again, I want to thank you for adding your presence and your support to this process. Thank you very much.

Dr John Chipman, Director-General and Chief Executive, IISS
Minister Ng, thank you very much for that very strategic statement, well rooted in a distinguished Singaporean tradition. We welcomed your reflections on the broad geopolitical and geo-economic scene in the Asia-Pacific. Thank you also for providing an important detail on how you perceive and how you have had to grapple with extreme jihadi terrorism as it has manifested itself, or risked manifesting itself, even more so in Southeast Asia.
It gives me perhaps also a second opportunity to advertise our IISS Manama Dialogue, to be held in the Kingdom of Bahrain 9–11 December, where I really think an opportunity could there be seized for effective discussion between some of the leaders of the GCC countries and Middle East countries who are battling this issue in the Middle East, to compare notes and establish cooperative policies with their friends in Southeast Asia. We will be issuing invitations to a number of countries in this region to attend that Manama Dialogue too.

The 2002 speech by Lee Kuan Yew is available here.

Pursuing Common Security Objectives: Q&A

As Delivered

Dr John Chipman, Director-General and Chief Executive, IISS
The floor is now open for debate and discussion. I remind you all to put your name card in and press the button so that you join the queue. I have got eight or nine people already, including, I am happy to see, a few people who have not yet taken the floor, and from countries who have not yet had a chance to speak. Could I first invite, from Mongolia, Dr Bold.

Dr Luvsanvandan Bold, Member of Parliament, Mongolia
Yes. Thank you, Dr Chipman. I congratulate you on your efforts on enhancing and improving the security in our region. I thank all the speakers on the very comprehensive presentations. As I am coming from Mongolia, I want to emphasise again the security issues in our region of Northeast Asia. I thank Minister Antonov to elaborate on the issues of Korean Peninsula. As you all know, Mongolia tries to do its best to contribute its efforts. We call this initiative the Ulaanbaatar Dialogue for Northeast Asia Security.

Yesterday, there was a very comprehensive and a very good discussion on a special panel on the issues of North Korea. I think there was a general, very comprehensive consensus on non-military solution of this issue on the Korean Peninsula. I want to ask also Minister Antonov to elaborate on this, on his ideas that there is no other way than to find ways of dialogue to resolve the Korean Peninsula issues and the nuclear issues in North Korea, and how would you see the new opportunities so that this deadlock which we have faced for nearly one or two decades can be resolved in the nearest future? Thank you.

Ichita Yamamoto, Member, House of Councillors, National Diet of Japan
Well, thank you very much, Dr Chipman. At the G7 summit held in Japan last month, in the leaders’ statement, it pointed out the grave warning towards changing status quo by force in East and South China seas, as well as condemning North Korea for its nuclear ambition and the missile test and so forth. Furthermore, one of the more important achievements of the summit was to agree on the action plan towards counter-terrorism and enhancing information-sharing such as the passenger lists from airlines of G7 nations.

I would like to ask both the Deputy Defence Minister of Russia and also the Defence Minister of Singapore, what are your thoughts and perspective on the action of G7 and how it can be expanded globally and more specifically in a civilian context like I just gave?

Senior Colonel Zhao Xiaozhuo, Director, Center on China-American Defense Relations, Academy of Military Science, People’s Liberation Army, China
Thank you, Chairman. My question goes to the Defence Minister of Singapore, Dr Ng Eng Hen. It is about the regional security architecture which has been mentioned many times in this forum. Also, I think Shangri-La Dialogue, Singapore or ASEAN has made a great effort to support. Our laws agree that the basic principles for the establishment are openness and inclusiveness. However, in reality, over the past years, regional security affairs have been dominated by the US bilateral alliance. In my opinion, the alliance is defence-oriented rather than security-oriented. It is exclusive rather than inclusive. It is far away from openness and inclusiveness.

My question is, when we push forward this establishment of a regional security architecture, how should we handle the exclusiveness of a US bilateral alliance? Thank you.

Abdul Mutalib Bin Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Setia Dato Paduka Haji Mohd Yusof, Permanent Secretary, Media and Cabinet, Office of the Prime Minister, Brunei
Thank you, Dr Chipman. I have a question dedicated to Minister Harjit Singh of Canada and Minister Dr Ng Eng Hen of Singapore. I would like to touch on one area that you have briefly highlighted, that is in the area of close cooperation in the context of the Asia-Pacific region.

My question is simple. In your opinion, Ministers, could you please perhaps share a bit more perspective on how multilateral economic initiatives that you just mentioned, or groupings like the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) or perhaps, in particular, the TPP that Minister Eng Hen actually mentioned just now, could actually serve as strategic grounds in meeting our regional security objectives. Thank you very much.

Ernesto Braam, Regional Strategic Advisor for Southeast Asia, Embassy of the Netherlands to Singapore; former Strategic Policy Advisor on the Middle East and North Africa, Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Yes. My question is to the Deputy Minister Antonov. He mentioned that with the support of Russia, Bashar al-Assad managed to liberate areas in Syria. I think the word ‘liberate’ is a bit awkward, to say the least. My question is, what can Russia – as maybe one of the few countries having some leverage on Bashar al-Assad – what can Russia do to improve and not to worsen the sectarian polarisation, Shia–Sunni – which is also largely instrumental – what can Russia do to improve the polarisation?

Secondly, what can Russia do to improve and not to worsen the polarisation between Syria, Iran, Hizbullah on one side, on one hand; and on the other, Saudi Arabia, the Gulf states, Egypt, Turkey and other countries? 

Finally, what can Russia do to improve and not to worsen a possible, hopefully, future path towards an inclusive government, respect for human rights and the rule of law, which was actually the original reason and motivation for people to rise up in several Arab countries, including in Syria?

Dr John Chipman, Director-General and Chief Executive, IISS
Right. Well, that would be quite a sweeping challenge for Mr Antonov to describe the whole of Russian policy towards the greater Middle East, from political change to military conflict. However, I am sure he will take a good stab at it in a moment. From Pakistan, Dr Zafar Nawaz.

Dr Zafar Nawaz Jaspal, Professor, School of Politics and International Relations, Quaid-i-Azam University 
Thank you very much, Dr Chipman. My question is directed to the Russian Defence Minister. I was very much delighted that he raised this issue of missile-defence system. President Putin has recently said that deployment of the gadgets of the missile-defence system in Poland and Romania has undermined the Russians’ security, and similarly, our government has also pointed out when the Indians recently tested anti-ballistic-missile defence system, one of their targeting. In that context, my question is framed like this: that if you see, battles has lost its significance at the conference of disarmament. At the same time, when we are looking about these kinds of the gadgets coming into play, definitely they will be part of the South Asian military arsenals and especially Southeast Asian military arsenals.
What will be Russia’s countermeasure, or how we are looking about it, especially taking into account that, since 2002, the ABM Treaty has been quashed? When we look about that, the new era is emerging in which the missile beds debate has started, since after 2010 when X-37B satellite was tested, to target the offensive missile at the boost phase. What is the Russians’ countermeasure? Because that countermeasure will be unleashing a new kind of arms race. Thank you.

Professor François Heisbourg, Chairman of the Council, IISS; Special Adviser, Fondation pour la Recherche Stratégique
Yes. I guess my question to Anatoly Antonov comes very much in the footsteps of the one which has just been posed. As an analyst but also as a Frenchman who comes from a country with a capable but a relatively small strategic nuclear force, I am very much aware of the potentially destabilising potential of anti-ballistic-missile systems directed at intercepting strategic nuclear missiles. However, the range of THAAD interceptors and the associated radar systems does not fit that description. We are not talking about strategic capabilities here. Therefore I assume, possibly wrongly, that the opposition to THAAD deployment in the Republic of Korea is, in part, motivated by the fear that the system deployment would be the narrow edge of a much wider wedge. In order to allay such fears, it would seem to me to be a rational thing to have some sort of dialogue between the three nuclear powers present as such in the region, that is China, Russia and the United States, and the Japanese and South Korean allies of the US, to set limits on ballistic-missile-defence systems deployed in the Republic of Korea and Japan. I would be very interested in having Minister Antonov’s reactions to that.

Dr John Chipman, Director-General and Chief Executive, IISS
Thanks. Just because we want to be able to catch every diplomatic initiative launched at the Shangri-La Dialogue, could I just repeat that? Essentially, François is proposing a new form of five-party talks: China, Russia, US, Japan and Korea on BMD in Northeast Asia. Objectively, that sounds like a sensible approach, and I wonder if any of the countries mentioned in that group of five would wish to endorse that as an idea that might be carried forward. Of course, the IISS will be very happy to facilitate it if that was helpful. From the Republic of Korea, you might put your own vote on this proposal, Professor Seok Lee.

Professor Seok-soo Lee, Director-General, Research Institute for National Security Affairs, Korea National Defense University

My understanding is that the root cause of regional instability is from the North Korean nuclear programme rather than an approach to combat North Korean nuclear threat. Because of over two decades’ efforts to stop and to dismantle North Korean nuclear programme, it proved to be a failure. That kind of failure leads us to think about how to effectively combat North Korean nuclear threat. That kind of strategic thinking is related to strategic option of missile defence in the Korean Peninsula, I think. My question is going to Deputy Minister of Russia. What kind of contribution and actions can be taken by Russia in implementing the denuclearisation of North Korea?

Dr Geoff Wade, Visiting Fellow, Crawford School of Public Policy, College of Asia and the Pacific, Australian National University
Thank you, Chair. A short question for Dr Ng. We have heard a lot about the South China Sea, much less about western Southeast Asia. There have recently been, yet again, proposals to push a canal through the Kra Isthmus. Singapore and Malaysia have always been opposed to this, but the advantages for East Asia, in terms of much shorter transits, is obvious. Is it going to happen, and what would be the economic and security implications of such a canal?

Ava Patricia Avila, Research Associate, National Institute of Education, Singapore
Hi, good morning. My question is for the Russian Deputy Minister of Defence. Sir, you made mention about your concern about arms race in the region. As one of the world’s main defence suppliers, how can you respond to this concern? Thank you.

Espen Barth Eide, Member of the Managing Board, World Economic Forum; UN Special Adviser on Cyprus; former Minister of Foreign Affairs and Defence, Norway
Thank you, John. My question is to the Russian Deputy Defence Minister Antonov. Your country, Russia, and my home country, Norway, had a maritime dispute for four decades, which we finally managed to overcome through mutual adherence to the international law, particularly Law of the Sea Convention. While we were having that dispute, we also had a successful regime of avoiding escalation and conflict in the Arctic Sea, which, I think, was contributing to the final successful outcome. Do you see any advice from that experience that could be applied to any player in this region? 

Major General Yao Yunzhu, Senior Fellow, Academy of Military Science, People’s Liberation Army, China
Thank you, Dr Chipman. My question is directed to Mr Antonov. I think China and Russia has the shared concern over the deployment of BMD systems in both Eastern European countries and in East Asia countries. For such deployment, I agree totally with you, would damage the strategic stabilities between China and the United States, and also between Russia and the United States. Given their shared concerns, China and Russia has coordinated their positions on BMD deployments. They have also recently conducted a joint computer exercise. My question is: what more can China and Russia do together to react or to respond to the missile deployment in both Eastern European countries and the East Asia countries? Thank you.

Jean-Marie Guehenno, President, International Crisis Group
Thank you. I wanted to ask the Deputy Minister of Russia his position on military activities in the high sea. Traditionally, Russia, as a superpower, has been favourable to unhindered activities in the high sea, and what does that imply for the South China Sea? Thank you.

P S Suryanarayana, Editor, Current Affairs, Institute of South Asian Studies, National University of Singapore
Thank you, Chairman. This is addressed to the Russian Minister. Sir, you made a reference particularly to your strategic partnerships with both China and India, but the Russia–China–India forum, the trilateral, does not seem to have any strategic content at all. Is it because Russia, like China, is concerned about US–India strategic partnership? Thank you.

Dr John Chipman, Director-General and Chief Executive, IISS
Thank you very much. Well, I think what I will do now is return to the panel and allow each of them to give their concluding thoughts in the order in which they originally spoke. I will ask the Minister of National Defence of Canada to answer first. You were asked the question about multilateral economic arrangements, but do take the opportunity to add any final thought you might have, given the debate that you have just witnessed. Second, I will ask Deputy Defence Minister Antonov to speak. You had a lot of questions, but they essentially group into four groups. One big group was BMD and diplomacy towards the DPRK. Second was on territorial disputes in the region and what lessons could be drawn from your own, and then there was the Russia–China–India point. You might add a sentence or two on how you perceive Russia’s grand strategy to the Middle East, but I would invite you to focus on the Asia-Pacific region since that is where we sit. Of course, Minister Ng had a number of questions on the G7 and the regional security architecture, and some specific ones more recently on other initiatives being taken. That is our agenda to conclude. Minister of Canada first.

Harjit Singh Sajjan, Minister of National Defence, Canada
Thank you. I would just actually start with just the first question which was also asked to me, about the G7, what can G7 and other nations do. In the context of the security threat that we face, and especially with the counter-terrorism threat that we have out there, one topic that was discussed was – I think other nations can also take part in it and take hold – is not paying ransom. We have personally seen the impact of this and what that does. By paying ransom, it puts all our citizens at risk. So that is a discussion that came out of the G7, and that other nations can also take a look at in terms of a policy, because by paying ransom, you do end up putting other nations’ citizens also at risk. It is something that is one example of that.

In terms of the economic stability and multilateral cooperation here in the Asia-Pacific, I think, at first, given this is a security forum, it starts with making sure we have an environment in the Asia-Pacific that is secure. That without reducing some of the tensions on the topics that we have discussed over the last couple of days, it is difficult to have economic stability. I think we need to keep in mind the reason why we are having these difficult conversations. If we do not, the impact to our own nations is dire.

When it comes to the natural disasters, that is when countries do come together. I think it is important for us to focus on it. That is one theme that I think I could say that we – I can take away from the last two days, is the reason why the security of this area is extremely important, is so that we can allow our trade between our nations to flourish. We need to have more joint cooperation in terms of security. I think we need to have more training and joint cooperation for disaster response, because without that, we are not going to be able to set the conditions for economic stability. Thank you.

Anatoly Antonov, Deputy Minister of Defence, Russia
Thank you, Mr Chipman. A few words about North Korea missile defence. I fully share views of the majority of experts that there is no military solution of this issue. At the same time, I would like to confirm position of Russian Federation that we support all UN Security Council resolutions on this issue. There is no way for us to recognise nuclear-missile ambitions of North Korea, and we will do our best to take North Korea to NPT as non-nuclear-weapons state. We have formal Six-Party Talks. It is not working now, but you will see that we should not try to find another format for trying to find a solution on this issue. That is why there is just one option for us: to continue positive – positive, I would like to emphasise – pressure on government of North Korea to rethink about the behaviour regarding the missile and nuclear proliferation.

At the same time, I would like to draw attention of my colleagues not to make some emotional actions very close to North Korean boundary. Please do not provoke them for next unwise steps. The situation will be worse.

As to missile defence, I am happy that maybe 20 years in my diplomatic career I devoted to this issue. Of course, I am ready to discuss this issue hours, hours and hours. Moreover, I am honoured to say that I was ordered to conduct negotiations with the United States on this issue in previous years.

There is a problem. We never say that we are against any anti-missile plans. We have anti-missile activities. We have anti-missile strategic area on the territory of the Russian Federation, for example, in accordance with the treaty – ABM Treaty. We have a site around Moscow covered by anti-missile systems. I would like you to understand that, of course, each country has its own right to develop any weapons that it wants, except of course nuclear, biological and chemical. It goes without saying that we have to stick to this convention. However, at the same time, what I mentioned, that it is very dangerous if one or another country tries to increase its security at the expense of another one.

As to missile defence of the United States’ architecture, what this country would like to implement, this architecture creates a problem for Russian deterrent forces, as well as for deterrent forces of China, it is clear. We called on United States to stop implementing their plans. We offered them cooperation; it was done by my president many times. We have found a clue from [inaudible] where there is a solution, but we failed to persuade United States to continue dialogue with us on this issue. It is a problem. When and if they are ready to continue such, they will be looking at such opportunity. However, as I understand that, the time is not right for such consultation today.

As to interesting proposal regarding new P5 format, you will see it goes beyond my pay grade. I am still Deputy Minister and I would like to return back to Moscow at the same position. I would like to be polite and I would like to say that we will look very attentively at all proposals regarding the possibility to find a solution on this issue.

As to Middle East, my dear colleagues, I would like to confirm, we do not support Assad regime, and that is why it is not appropriate to say that we are supporting them to liberate their country. We supported all forces, including Assad forces as well as opposition forces. And opposition forces who are fighting against ISIL.
The problem in Syria now is a lack of coordination between all countries involved in this conflict. As I said to you, Russian forces made a lot to improve the situation in this country, and my president is satisfied with the results of our activities and he has ordered to withdraw some troops from this country. However, we have enough to continue fighting against not opposition, but against ISIL, Jabhat al-Nusra and other terrorist organisations.

We have very close contacts with the United States on this issue. We have special channels in Geneva, in Moscow, in Khmeimim – it is our base in Syria – as well as in Amman, where there is a base of United States. Sometimes I do not understand my colleagues from Pentagon. Mr Kerry many times said that we are in favour of cooperation, coordination between military guys of two countries. Immediately, maybe after one minute, Pentagon tries to confirm that we do not want to cooperate with your Russian Federation, there is no cooperation, there is no coordination. You say that if they are offended to use such word, you say that I offer another proposition, to use maybe synergy of efforts. There is no coordination, there is no cooperation, but the results are the same. However, I would like to repeat that we can do more if we are together; we are permanent members of Security Council, we bear special responsibility for peace and stability.

Moreover, I would like to say regardless current status of our relations, we are doomed for cooperation. We are not enemies and we have to do a lot on this issue. Maybe I will stop, and if there is time, I will continue to answer other questions.

Dr Ng Eng Hen, Minister for Defence, Singapore
Thank you, John. Let me deal with the question on counter-terrorism – and it was applied to what G7 countries can do, but I would extend it beyond G7 and other security-related issues beyond counter-terrorism. 

However, first on the counter-terrorism. I have been quite happy with the outcomes of this particular Shangri-La Dialogue because not only have the Malaysian minister, the Indonesian minister but Anatoly, myself and others, not only during the sessions and the plenary lectures but the ministerial lunch, found a strong concordance about the threat of terrorism, and one of the aspects that struck me is how there has been some surprise from European leaders and leaders from other countries when we tell them that terrorism, the threat of terrorism, is clear and present in this region. I think that perception gap or the assessment gap has closed, and the reason why I think that is positive is that it provides motivation to share resources.

Obviously, the place to start is intelligence. Now, in parallel with the Shangri-La Dialogue, there have been intelligence chiefs’ meetings as well, dealing with the issues, and I think they have made headway in terms of the greater need to share sensitive information. I think that is a start. However, you ask about G7, and it touches upon the point of the security architecture in this region, and I would describe it … you have other platforms – the EAS, the ARF – but when the defence ministers then – and Deputy PM Teo was defence minister then – thought of the security architecture in this region, there were a number of assumptions.
One, they had to balance between having a practical construct, so that whichever countries are included had enough to do and with enough, if you like, meat on the bone compared to numbers. And looking at EAS, which was fairly large, or ARF – ARF was fairly large – we decided that it would start with ADMM, with ASEAN at the centre. Centrality of ASEAN was underscored, affirmed if you like, and the powers to be accepted this as conventional wisdom and I hope with continuing wisdom now that it makes sense for ASEAN to be the centre.

When we decided who would be in the Plus partners to engage, we decided on eight countries, and that is why you have ASEAN plus eight, which includes countries like Japan and Korea and China. And I think that makes sense because we have had expert working groups, we have had opportunities to conduct in the last three years 18-nation exercises: the first one, that was hosted by Brunei, and the recent one, as I said in my speech, on counter-terrorism and maritime security, which had real assets. So military-to-military cooperation – in each of the exercises about 4,000 troops.

And we have ADMM–Plus meetings which have gone on for one in three years, and now one in two years, and during years in which the ADMM meet, we also have informal dialogues with the Plus countries, which leads me to the question from the Chinese that asserts that the security architecture in his view is not inclusive. It is somewhat puzzling because we have excluded countries, but China was included in the plus eight, and in fact, we just recently met in Laos, ten ASEAN countries – we met with one Plus partner. Who was the Plus partner? It was Minister Chang Wanquan.

So I’m not sure if this is an institutional view or a personal view, but somewhat surprising. However, be that as it may, I think China has made enormous contributions to the ADMM–Plus. It participated fully in both multilateral exercises, Minister Chang invited us to China to meet him and I attended the Xiangshan Forum together with my ASEAN ministers. Again, another sign of inclusiveness.

He asked: how can we make it more inclusive? Well, I am a practical man, I believe in practical measures. I think on behalf of all of us, I would like to invite Minister Chang Wanquan to come to Shangri-La Dialogue. Anatoly said it was beyond his … please extend our invitation on behalf of all of us in this room, and I’m sure John would agree, I would be delighted if Minister Chang comes. Minister Jianguo has come and it was a very good speech, well received.

Anatoly said there were some questions that was beyond his pay grade, and we also extend the invitation to Mr Shoygu.

Let me just deal with the last question in terms of the Isthmus of Kra. I do not think it is accurate to say that Singapore is opposed to it. I do not know of any official response, or unofficial response really, that we were opposed to it. If somebody wants to bankroll it – and I think it is now in order of $100 billion dollars in the last costing – Singapore will live in the reality. I remember that – this was when the idea was still alive and it was then Prime Minister Thaksin, where he was pushing the idea and in fact when we visited him – in Singapore we anticipate problems – and we had actually prepared drawer plans if indeed both Thailand replaced us and Isthmus of Kra was there and Suvarnabhumi airport would take traffic from us. I mean, we’re a small country and we are alive to the reality, so it is not quite accurate. However, even if the Isthmus of Kra was built, a waterway on the Isthmus of Kra, I am not sure that it would solve the strategic concern of the tensions in the South China Sea. And I think that all of us are alive to it, all of us have said that it is an essential waterway. And someone mentioned rules of the road that apply to high seas and somebody asked the question of you, Anatoly, and the Russian position of how does it apply to the high seas?

I think that is the fundamental question: how do you govern? Do you treat the waters in open seas as you would land borders? You would treat resources; I think the resources are very clear. However, in terms of ability for both civilian and military ships to have passage, to be able to move freely, I think there has to be a difference in terms of the air above you or the land borders. To have those restrictions applied to critical waterways will, I think, inevitably create zones of conflict and I think will be untenable situations.

Dr John Chipman, Director-General and Chief Executive, IISS
Minister Ng, thank you very much for those very detailed and, again, thoughtful and strategic remarks. It now falls to me just to say a few words in conclusion and a few words of thanks. 

I might wish just to confirm how the Shangri-La Dialogue has grown. This year we actually had exactly 602 delegates but, of course, delegates, especially the most senior delegates, do not come unaccompanied; they come with officials and observers and we also have a number of media attending. So the total amount of additional observers and entourage came to exactly 2,779. So we issued 2,779 badges to delegates, observers, officials and the media. And while we had 32 countries represented, we actually had 51 nationalities attend. Such is the diversity of the representation of these countries.

When the Shangri-La Dialogue was established in 2002, it was not capable of trending since this was in the pre-Twitter age, but I am delighted to inform you that in 2016, the #shangriladialogue has trended, of course here in Singapore but also in India and numerous other countries, so I think many millions of people have had the opportunity to take note of our on-the-record discussions, not just the viewers to the live feed of CCTV and the many other media here but also the followers on Twitter and social media that have paid attention very closely to our deliberations and our debates here.

We at the IISS, working with our friends in the Ministry of Defence here in Singapore, will work exhaustively to ensure the strength of this intergovernmental forum. We want to make certain that remains the premier intergovernmental forum for the discussion of Asia-Pacific security

The Shangri-La Dialogue is an organic being, and as I said in brief remarks at the Astana yesterday, any organic plant needs the occasional trimming of the branches, some watering of the roots, judicious application of fertiliser to make certain that it grows well and remains healthy.

We will retain a focus on ensuring that this is a defence minister-led intergovernmental forum, drawing, properly, representation from Europe, North America, South Asia, Southeast Asia, Northeast Asia, with guests coming from one or two other regions in the world from time to time who also have a stake in Asia-Pacific security.
To ensure its centrality as an intergovernmental forum, it will be important to ensure that about two-thirds of those delegates participating come from governments, represent governments, and that the balancing third is equally divided from important members of the business community and leading members of the analytical and media community, making special emphasis to ensure full participation, especially of younger analysts from the Asia-Pacific region, the successor generation of people who will, in due course, themselves be taking responsibility for the security and defence of their countries. It is why this year we were very happy to have an Asian Young Leaders’ Programme, and in ten minutes I will be very pleased to be hosting a lunch for our Asian young leaders, some 40 or so who attended the Shangri-La Dialogue, a programme that the IISS will be delighted to continue in future years.

I invite you all to attend lunch in a moment and wish you all a safe trip home. However, before I do that, I would like to extend, first, my thanks to the staff at the IISS. In the military, one often refers to a tooth-to-tail ratio. Just to confirm, we had 2,779 people here, and we had 18 members of the IISS staff supporting those 2,779. Bear with me as I thank Bonnie Bley, Alexander Buckle, Jessica Delaney, Cleo Dunkley, Lilli Harkonen, Rebecca Fishley, Celis Johannes, Clara Lee, Janet Lim, Stephanie Love, Yusuf Mubarak, Sam Nugee, Kevin O’Sullivan, Eva Siddiqui, Richard Saunders, Katherine Scully, Emily Werk, Claire Willman, and our interns Robert Cullum, Joo Won, Wang Meng. That gang of 18 supported 2,779 people and I think we are an efficient organisation.

I would like now for you to extend an equally warm vote of thanks to the many personnel of the Ministry of Defence of Singapore, the Singapore Armed Forces and also the Singapore Police who have been with us all weekend, many working overtime in order to ensure our security and our smooth movement towards this hotel. Many thanks to them.

With that, I declare the 15th Shangri-La Dialogue a success and close and wish you the best lunch possible and safe travel home. Thank you very much to all.

Fullerton Forum 2016: Keynote Address

'A growing economy is a key part of our strategy to reduce terrorism,' said Indonesia’s Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs, General (Retd) Luhut Binsar Pandjaita during his Keynote Address at the Fullerton Forum 2016.

Before taking up his current position in August 2015, Luhut headed the ‘presidential working unit’ newly created by incoming Indonesian President Joko Widodo, effectively making him the president’s chief of staff. He was previously an adviser to President Widodo’s election campaign team.

A former commander of the Indonesian army’s Special Forces’ (Kopassus) anti-terror squad Detasemen 81, Luhut has also served as Indonesia’s trade and industry minister (2000–2001) and ambassador to Singapore (1999–2000).

Opening Remarks and Keynote Address

Opening Remarks: Dr John Chipman

As prepared

Welcome to the 14th Asia Security Summit, the IISS Shangri-La Dialogue. The IISS is delighted to have assembled such a large group of defence professionals and strategists to advance defence diplomacy in this special year, the 50th year of Singapore’s independence.

The annual IISS Shangri-La Dialogue provides a unique opportunity to take the temperature of Asia-Pacific security. Developments in the last year heavily underscore the need for the Dialogue to fulfil its confidence-building and strategic transparency aims.

The defining characteristic of the region has become ‘strategic unease’. Asian powers have become increasingly assertive and are making serious efforts to improve their military capabilities, particularly at sea. A state of flux has defined relations among states, with tentative security alignments and strategic hedging the prevailing diplomatic tendencies.

The dimensions of the evolving regional security environment are analysed in the IISS publication Asia-Pacific Regional Security Assessment 2015, prepared for this Dialogue. Many of the themes raised in that document will be discussed here over the next two days.

In late 2014 most observers detected a cooling of the hotspots in the East and South China Seas - which had loomed large in discussions at last year’s Shangri-La Dialogue - but this respite proved short-lived. The first half of 2015 has seen renewed tensions in the South China Sea. Various claimant states to the Spratly Islands have engaged in large-scale land reclamation and construction, apparently aimed at increasing capacity for habitation and, in some cases, military activities.

This week has seen the release of a Chinese Defence White Paper that is sure to be viewed as a foundational text for a more extrovert Chinese defence policy. It declares: ‘the traditional mentality that land outweighs sea must be abandoned, and great importance has to be attached to managing the seas and oceans and protecting maritime rights and interests.’ This suggests a strong commitment to the defence of Chinese interests in the ‘Near Seas.’ It also makes clear in its concluding paragraph that China’s armed forces will ‘gradually increase their participation in international peacekeeping and humanitarian assistance operations, and do their utmost to shoulder more international responsibilities and obligations, provide more public security goods and contribute more to world peace and common development.’ That commitment will be welcomed by many, though China’s apparently increasing strategic assertiveness has raised concerns on the part of other powers in Asia, not least the United States and Japan.

The US has persisted with its broad military, political and economic ‘rebalance’ to the region. Washington has responded strongly to what it sees as threats to freedom of navigation by sea and air, and has in recent weeks specifically challenged China’s assertion of control of airspace over features in the South China Sea.

Meanwhile, Japan has continued its incremental efforts to break free of the self-imposed constraints on its strategic freedom of action, although Article IX of its constitution will still restrict Tokyo’s ability to build wide-ranging and deep security partnerships. While leaving open the possibility of a new accommodation with Beijing, Tokyo has also sought to find common cause with the Philippines and Vietnam and also with more distant potential new allies such as Australia and India.

The responses of other powers in the region to the changing regional distribution of power have been less clear-cut. While many have strengthened their defence and security relations with the US and - to a lesser extent - Japan, there is little enthusiasm in the region for confrontation over territorial issues, let alone a Cold War in Asia. Broad-based and inclusive regional cooperation on security remains the stated preference.

In some areas of security, states across the Asia-Pacific share common concerns. The renewed threat from Islamist terrorism, in the form of groups in the region linked to Daesh, and the specific challenges posed by radicalisation and returning fighters, is a major concern for almost all governments represented here. States also recognise the need for more effective cooperation on a wide range of human-security matters, notably Humanitarian and Disaster Relief, and search-and-rescue. In recent weeks, the plight of refugees and migrants from Myanmar and Bangladesh on the high seas has drawn attention to both the menace of human-trafficking and the dreadful conditions that have caused these people to abandon their homes. Such transnational security challenges provide opportunities for greater collaboration among states in the region, and with extra-regional parties.

Perhaps the most important over-arching question facing security policy-makers in the Asia-Pacific remains: what sort of regional order will best ensure long-term peace and stability? Asia-Pacific states and their partners from outside the region need, more than ever, to think strategically about their long-term interests, rather than about short-term advantages. Great strategic thinkers are rare, and it is striking and sad that this Shangri-La Dialogue is the first to be held since Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s passing in March.

A true strategic thinker, he recognised at an early stage that Singapore’s independence and future prosperity could only be assured by a combination of adroit diplomacy on a global as well as a regional stage, combined with a strong national defence system. I still appreciate the support and advice he gave me when I discussed with him the idea to create a defence ministers meeting  in Singapore that has now blossomed into the IISS Shangri-La Dialogue as we know it.  

Thankfully, as we are soon to witness, the habit of strategic thinking is well ingrained. In this 50th anniversary year of the independence of Singapore we are delighted that the prime minister of Singapore, Lee Hsien Loong, accepted our invitation to address the Dialogue. Since becoming the Prime Minister of Singapore in 2004, he and his government have continuously supported the Dialogue in numerous ways. Though he is known first and foremost as Singapore’s prime minister, it is worth remembering that before he embarked on a political career, he was a successful officer in the Singapore Armed Forces, leaving in 1984 as a young Brigadier-General. After becoming an MP and joining the government, Mr Lee’s various appointments included Minister of State for Defence, and Second Minister of Defence. Decades of international experience commend him to our attention.

Mr Prime Minister, your country since independence has seen sweeping changes in the international strategic landscape. We look forward to your examination of how it now appears to you. The podium is yours.

Keynote Address: Lee Hsien Loong

As Delivered

Dr John Chipman, Director‑General and Chief‑Executive of IISS, your Excellencies, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the Shangri‑La Dialogue and to Singapore.

This is a significant year for Singapore. 2015 marks our 50th anniversary as a nation. When we separated from Malaysia in 1965, it was a completely different world and a completely different Singapore. This is also the 14th year of the Shangri‑La Dialogue. The first Dialogue was held in 2002, not long after 9/11. So this year is a good time for us to take a step back and take a longer‑term look at what has changed over the past 50 years and since the SLD began.

In every Shangri‑La Dialogue, three issues are always on the agenda: the balance of power, regional cooperation and terrorism, and I propose to speak about these three subjects tonight, beginning with the balance of power.

50 years ago, in 1965, it was the height of the Cold War. The two major camps in the world, led by the US and the Soviet Union, defined the global strategic landscape. There were non‑aligned countries, like India and Indonesia, but these two main opposing camps faced off against each other worldwide, and in Asia the conflict manifested itself in the Vietnam War and in the tensions, the frozen conflict, in the Korean Peninsula.

China then was not a major influence, either in the region or the world. It was a poor, backward country; its foreign trade was negligible, and China would soon be engulfed in the Cultural Revolution and turned completely inwards. Many Southeast Asian countries thought China was a security threat because it supported insurgent communist movements in their countries, which sought to overthrow their governments by armed force.

Japan was an important partner of the US, with the US–Japan Security Alliance. Japan was not an independent player in security terms, because of the history of the war. However, it was a major economic power, enjoying rapid economic growth from the 1960s all the way into the 1980s, and its dynamic economy energised the whole region and especially helped the flying geese of the newly industrialising economies, South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore, to also take flight and take off.

Today it is a different strategic landscape. The Cold War is long over; the Soviet Union has dissolved. Russia continues to participate in this region, but its focus is in Europe and its near abroad, which means Central Asia and Eurasia. And in Asia, the key players are the United States and China.

The US remains the dominant Pacific power. PACOM and the US 7th Fleet are a powerful force in being, and a key factor for peace and stability in the region. America's core interests in Asia have not changed, and that is a stable region that is open to do business with all countries, and a regional order that enables all major powers to engage constructively in Asia. America has played this benign role in Asia since the war; its presence is welcomed by the many regional countries which have benefited from it, including Singapore.

US interests in the region have grown with the growing weight of Asia in the world economy. The US has many preoccupations worldwide, not least Iran, the Middle East, Europe, Ukraine. But President Obama has reaffirmed that America is and always will be a Pacific power, and the Obama administration has articulated a strategic rebalance towards Asia. Recently, US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter reaffirmed this just before he visited Japan and Korea, and he is here to affirm this by his presence this evening.

But the strategic balance in Asia is shifting. China has become the second‑biggest economy in the world. It is now the largest, or the second‑largest, trading partner of nearly every country in the Asia‑Pacific – South Korea, Japan, Australia – including Singapore and even the United States. China's interdependence with the external world has grown, whether it is for resources, for markets, for technology or investments. So has its interest in making friends and influencing outcomes, and so has its skill in doing so.

Meanwhile, China is building up and modernising its armed forces. President Xi Jinping has declared that China will be a maritime power. Already it has one aircraft carrier; it is building a second one. Last week China concluded its first-ever joint naval exercise with the Russians in the Mediterranean Sea. So far, China's rise has been peaceful, within the established international order, and the key to this peaceful rise continuing is the US–China relationship.

The US–China relationship is fundamentally different from the US–Soviet relationship of old. It is not a zero‑sum game. There are elements of competition, but many interdependencies and opportunities for mutual benefit. China is America’s second‑biggest trading partner – the biggest is Canada – and it is America’s largest foreign creditor: it owns lots of US Treasury securities. America is a source of technology and ideas for China; many, many promising young Chinese study in the US, 250,000 of them, including many children of the elite. Each needs the other’s cooperation to tackle global problems, whether this is nuclear proliferation or global warming.

All Asian countries hope that US–China relations will be positive. No country wants to choose sides between the US and China. And we are glad that successive US administrations and successive Chinese leaderships have engaged, worked together and managed the problems which have come up between them, despite nationalistic pressures on both sides and inevitable tensions from time to time.

So, when the US and China both say that the broad Pacific Ocean is vast enough to embrace both China and the United States, we read that as a good sign, provided by ‘vast enough’ they mean that there is space all over the Asia‑Pacific for both powers to participate and to compete peacefully and to work out problems constructively, without raising tensions, and provided they do not mean vast enough to divide up the Pacific Ocean between the two, each with its own sphere of influence, circumscribing options for other countries and increasing the risk of rivalry and conflict between the two power blocs.

Realistically speaking, however, competition between major powers is unavoidable, and the question is what form this competition will take. One model of competition is where major powers strengthen their influence within a set of international rules and norms, and we can see this in how China is actively deepening its cooperation and making friends all over Asia, through the 2+7 cooperation framework which they designed with ASEAN, through the One Belt, One Road and the Maritime Silk Road initiatives which they are promoting with all of their neighbours, land as well as sea.

One of China’s major projects is the AIIB, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. Clearly the AIIB will enhance China’s influence in the world, but it also meets a real and urgent need for infrastructure development and capital in the region. And it is a way China can participate constructively in the international order, together with other countries, partners in the AIIB. And this is similar to how Americans and Europeans influence the IMF and World Bank, and how Japan plays a major role in the ADB, the Asian Development Bank. It is legitimate, it is constructive, and that is why Singapore gave its support very early to the AIIB idea, and why many countries have since welcomed it and joined as Prospective Founding Members, not only Asian countries, but also Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Australia and others considering.

Similarly, the US is giving substance to its rebalancing towards Asia by increasing engagement, and one major initiative is the TPP, the Trans‑Pacific Partnership. President Obama has personally pushed the TPP hard with the negotiating partners. Every time we meet him for APEC meetings, he has a side meeting and we discuss the TPP. The administration needs to obtain Trade Promotion Authority from Congress before we can settle this matter, because without TPA no country will close the trade negotiations with the US. A TPA bill has now passed the Senate, and now it is before the House. Obtaining congressional approval for trade-negotiating authority is always a messy and mysterious process, so all the TPP partners are watching this closely and we are praying that Congress passes the TPA legislation in a satisfactory form and in good time.

I hope American legislators and the American public realise how big the stakes are in the TPP, not just for Asia, but for the US itself too, because whatever the merits or demerits of individual line items of trade covered in the TPP, the agreement has a wider strategic significance. Getting the TPP done will deepen links on both sides of the Pacific. Failing to get the TPP done will hurt the credibility and standing of the US, not just in Asia but worldwide.

And there is clearly a competitive dynamic here. It is an open secret that the US had reservations about the AIIB and discouraged its friends from participating, and on the TPP, some observers believe that the rules are being crafted to raise the hurdle for China to join. I am quite sure that is not the thinking of all the TPP members, although China, as a matter of fact, is not yet ready to join the TPP yet. But speaking as an Asian country and a participant in both the AIIB and the TPP, Singapore hopes that eventually China will join the TPP and the US and Japan will join the AIIB.

That is one model of cooperation and competition, but there is another model of competition, where win–win arrangements are harder to reach and unhappy outcomes tougher to avoid. Take the maritime and territorial disputes in the East China Sea and South China Sea. These disputes have heated up significantly in recent years; there is daily buzzing of ships and aircraft around the Senkaku or Diaoyudao Islands, and a testing of boundaries by China and Japan. In the South China Sea, claimant states are taking unilateral actions in the disputed areas, drilling for oil and gas, reclaiming land, setting up outposts and reinforcing their military presence.

Actions provoke reactions. The US is responding to Chinese activities with increased overflights and sailings near the disputed territories to signal that it will not accept unilateral assertions of sovereignty in the South China Sea. Each country feels compelled to react to what others have done in order to protect its own interests.

Non‑claimant countries cannot take sides on the merits of the rival claims, but they do have a stake in the maritime disputes and in particular a stake in how they are handled, because every Asian country stands to lose if regional security and stability are threatened. Major sea and air lines of communication pass through the South China Sea. Every state whose trade passes through the South China Sea, or whose ships and aircraft use the South China Sea, has an interest in freedom of navigation and overflight. And this includes Singapore, for whom the South China Sea is a vital lifeline.

No country can renounce its claims, or sometimes can even concede that a dispute exists over its claims, without paying a high political cost. But the consequence of this difficulty is that all sides harden their positions and disputes become more difficult to disentangle. So these maritime disputes are most unlikely to be solved anytime soon, and most likely will outlive the Shangri‑La Dialogue. But they can and they should be managed and contained, because if the present dynamic continues, it must lead to more tensions and bad outcomes.

China and ASEAN should conclude a Code of Conduct on the South China Sea as soon as possible, so as to break the vicious cycle and not let disputes sour the broader relationship. If all parties adhere to international law, including the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, well, that is the best outcome. On the other hand, if a physical clash occurs which escalates into a wider tension or conflict, either by design or more likely by accident, that would be very bad. But even if we avoid a physical clash, if the outcome is determined on the basis of might is right, that will set a very bad precedent. It may not immediately lead to a hot conflict, but it will be an unhappier and a less sustainable position because, in the long run, a stable regional order cannot be maintained just by superior force. It requires consent and legitimacy in the international community, together with a balance of power.

So far, I have spoken about the US and China, but other countries too play a role in the regional power balance.

This year is the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War. The war continues to cast a shadow over relations between the old adversaries, and in particular between Japan and its neighbours, Korea and China. After 70 years, it is past the time to put this history behind us properly, just like the Europeans have done, and this requires statesmanship and largeness of spirit on both sides.

Japan needs to acknowledge past wrongs, and Japanese public opinion needs to be more forthright in rejecting the more outrageous interpretations of history by its right‑wing academics and politicians. Japan has already expressed remorse, or apologies, for the war in general terms, including by Prime Minister Murayama 20 years ago, on the 50th anniversary. But on specific issues, like comfort women or the Nanjing Massacre, its positions have been less unequivocal.

At the same time, Japan’s neighbours need to accept Japan’s acknowledgements and not demand that Japan apologise over and over again. The history of the war should not be used to put Japan on the defensive, or to perpetuate enmities into future generations. Only with largeness of heart can all sides move forward to reduce distrust and to build up cooperation.

Such a reconciliation will also help Japan to become a normal country, as it wishes to be. The controversy over history hinders Prime Minister Abe’s desire to play a more active role in Asia. Japan has not joined the AIIB, but recently it announced a US$110 billion plan for public–private assistance for infrastructure development in Asia. Most Southeast Asian countries want Japan to play a more active role, but they do not want to get embroiled in rivalry between China and Japan. They will welcome a resolution of the war issues, as they themselves have done between themselves and Japan.

There is also India, which is emerging as a major power in Asia. India can make a big contribution if it opens up its economy, encourages foreign trade and investments and participates actively in regional cooperation, for example through the East Asia Summit or through the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, which it is party to. The Modi government has set a new tone in India, and the region looks forward to deepening our partnership with India.

The second regular issue at the Shangri‑La Dialogue is regional cooperation and integration. Fifty years ago, nobody thought in these terms. Decolonisation was just ending; new countries had very recently been formed, including Malaysia and Singapore. Most countries’ links externally were not within the region, but to developed countries and particularly to their former colonial masters, the metropolitan powers. Cooperation was on security issues, along Cold War lines. The Korean Peninsula was on the verge of war, with North Korea building secret tunnels into the DMZ as their strategic weapon. Across the Taiwan Strait, China and Taiwan were in a state of war, with artillery shelling on alternate days by each side between Kinmen and the mainland. In Southeast Asia the Vietnam War was heating up, and Indonesia was waging Konfrontasi, a low-intensity conflict against Malaysia. ASEAN had not been formed, and indeed could hardly have been conceived, since Indochina was in turmoil and Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines were at odds with one another.

Today the Korean Peninsula is still a problem, but cross-strait tensions between China and Taiwan have eased considerably. China has become Taiwan’s largest trading partner. One million Taiwanese live and work in China on the mainland. But Taiwan still has to deal with the question of its identity and its long-term relationship with China. One stabilising factor is that everyone now knows that Taiwan independence is out of the question, and that rules out unwise moves and unpredictable outcomes.

Intra-regional trade has grown. A lot of this is trade with China, but in fact trade between Northeast Asia and Southeast Asia has also grown. Over the last decade plus, ASEAN–Japan trade has doubled while ASEAN–Korea trade has increased by five times.

The region is coming closer together, and in Southeast Asia former adversaries have come together in ASEAN to deepen relationships and to foster regional integration. ASEAN celebrates its 48th anniversary this year. We have a broad and substantive agenda of dialogue and cooperation. We have a good track record of working together, pursuing win–win opportunities and closer economic partnership, establishing the ASEAN Community by December this year, and dealing with problems that affect the region, like trans-boundary haze pollution, or natural disasters like typhoons or tsunamis.

The most recent humanitarian crisis is the human trafficking of Rohingyas and Bangladeshis, resulting in thousands putting out to sea, suffering and dying, both from the terrible conditions but also through ill treatment by their traffickers, in fact sometimes their kidnappers. This has put huge stress on downstream countries Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia. The solution requires a response at the source, and not just at sea. It also requires countries to act decisively against the traffickers and put a stop to this organised racket.

In the broader region, ASEAN has taken the lead to progressively build a framework of cooperation, engaging South Asia and East Asia, Australia and New Zealand, and the wider Asia-Pacific. One important platform is the ARF – the ASEAN Regional Forum – now in its 21st year, which promotes open dialogue on political and security cooperation in the Asia-Pacific and which has fostered more predictable and constructive relations between neighbours and even adversaries.

The more recent forum, the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting, allows the defence establishments of member countries to cooperate on defence and security matters and to build mutual trust and confidence.

The East Asia Summit – the EAS – now in its tenth year, is also an ASEAN initiative. It fosters an open regional architecture because its membership includes not just East Asian countries, but also India, Australia and New Zealand, Russia and the United States. With this broader membership the EAS ties together the two sides of the Pacific and reduces the risk of an East Asian bloc forming which might split the Pacific down the middle.

While regional cooperation has progressed, we have to keep working at it, because the progress will not continue automatically. There are still frictions between countries to manage and countries have other priorities than regional cooperation. Some are responding to strong nationalist sentiments, putting self-sufficiency ahead of regional interdependence. Others are preoccupied with major domestic political developments or transitions, making it hard for their governments to focus on regional initiatives. We have our work cut out for us to cooperate more closely year by year.

The third regular issue at the Shangri-La Dialogue is terrorism. Terrorism is not an entirely new phenomenon that burst on the world only after 9/11. Fifty years ago there were already terrorist groups in many stable societies, including advanced countries. In Europe there were extremists like the Baader-Meinhof Group. In the US, there were anarchist terrorists – small numbers, but they existed and they were violent. Japan had the Japanese Red Army – and Singapore had first-hand experience of them. In 1974, members of the Japanese Red Army and the PFLP – the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – attacked the Shell oil refinery on Pulau Bukom island, and then held a ferry boat and its crew hostage and bargained for safe passage out of Singapore. These groups were politically motivated, not religiously driven, and have largely faded away.

Now we are confronted with jihadi terrorism, religiously driven by a perverted version of Islam. When we first started the Shangri-La Dialogue, 9/11 had just happened. Countries worried about further major attacks by jihadi groups like al-Qaeda. Fortunately there have been no further spectacular attacks like 9/11, although there have been major incidents, like the Bali bombing and the London and Madrid train bombings, and more near misses. For the fact that it has not been worse, we have to credit effective action and cooperation by many governments.

However, the problem is going to be with us for a long time. Osama bin Laden may have been killed, but al-Qaeda still exists, albeit in a weakened state. In many societies we are finding home-grown terrorists, self-radicalised individuals who can mount attacks with minimal resources.

The latest virulent incarnation of the jihadi threat is ISIS. By skilfully exploiting the internet and social media, ISIS has attracted malcontents and misfits, misguided souls and naïve youths from all over the world. More than 20,000 people have gone to Iraq and Syria from Europe, from the US, from Asia, from Australia, to fight – for what?  But they are there, and one day, when they return home, they will bring the radical ideology, the combat experience, the terrorist networks and the technical know-how with them.

ISIS supporters have carried out lone-wolf attacks in a number of countries – Canada, America, Australia, France so far. Just two weeks ago, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the ISIS leader, repeated his call for Muslims worldwide to hijrah to the Islamic State. Hijrah means to migrate; it is what the Prophet did between Mecca and Medina. Either you hijrah to ISIS, or you wage violent war for ISIS in your home countries.

Southeast Asia is a key recruitment centre for ISIS. More than 500 Indonesians have joined this terrorist group. Dozens have gone from Malaysia. ISIS has so many Indonesian and Malaysian fighters that they have formed them into a unit by themselves, the Katiba Nusantara, or the Malay Archipelago Combat Unit. Recently, ISIS posted a propaganda recruitment video. It showed Malay-speaking children training with weapons in ISIS-held territory. Two Malaysians, including a 20-year-old, were identified in another ISIS video, a video of a beheading of a Syrian man. The Malaysian police have arrested more people who are planning to go, including armed-forces personnel, plus groups which are plotting attacks in Malaysia. These individuals are going to Syria and Iraq not just to fight, but to bring their families there, hijrah there, including young children, to live in what they imagine delusionally as an ideal Islamic state under a caliph of the faithful.

Several radical groups in the region have pledged allegiance to ISIS. Some have links to the Jemaah Islamiah group, the group whose Singapore chapter had planned to set off truck bombs in Singapore soon after 9/11. Last year, Jemaah Islamiah’s spiritual leader, Abu Bakar Bashir, pledged allegiance to ISIS, posing for a photograph surrounded by followers in white Arab robes. He was in a jail in Indonesia, but he was able to pledge allegiance and take a group photograph and have it published around the world. Several hundred fellow terrorists presently in jail in Indonesia are due to be released in the next two years.

ISIS has said it intends to establish a wilayat in Southeast Asia. A wilayat is a province under the ISIS caliphate. The idea that ISIS can turn Southeast Asia into a wilayat, into a province of a worldwide caliphate controlled by ISIS, is a grandiose, pie-in-the-sky idea. However, it is not so far-fetched that ISIS could establish a base somewhere in the region, in a geographical area under its physical control like in Syria and Iraq, to have territory in Southeast Asia somewhere far from the centre of power of state governments, somewhere where government writs do not run. There are quite a few such places in Southeast Asia; if ISIS did that, it would pose a very serious threat to the whole of Southeast Asia.

Even in Singapore, where we have a peaceful and well-integrated Muslim population, some individuals have been led astray. A few have gone to join ISIS, and others have been intercepted and detained before they could leave. Recently we arrested a 17-year-old student and we detained another 19-year-old student who had been radicalised. The 19-year-old was planning to join ISIS in Syria, and if he was unable to leave Singapore, he intended to assassinate government leaders here, including the president and, for good measure, the prime minister.

This is why Singapore takes terrorism, and in particular ISIS, very, very seriously. The threat is no longer over there; it is over here. We are participating in the international coalition against ISIS and we are contributing a KC-135 tanker to the operation. In fact, the tanker’s deployment to the Middle East starts today.

I have described how our region has changed in the last half-century. Fifty years ago, had we known that we would be in this position today, we would have been more than satisfied. Asia is peaceful and prosperous. We have successfully navigated a major transition out of the Cold War. A new international order is taking shape, not without problems, but basically stable.

Fifty years from now, I doubt the scourge of extremist terrorism will have entirely disappeared. After half a century the jihadist ideology will surely have visibly failed or at least weakened its hold on the imaginations of troubled souls. However, remember that Soviet Communism, which was another historical dead end, took 70 years to collapse. That was a non-religious ideology, so these things take a long time.

On the broader issues, my optimistic hope is that a stable regional balance will continue to exist. ASEAN should be an effective and relevant actor. The Indochinese countries should have narrowed the development gap and the grouping should have become more cohesive and more closely integrated.

I suspect that the US, China and Japan will remain major powers, and India will play an increasing role in the region. I hope that we will continue to have an open global system of trade, investment and economic cooperation. Certainly I hope that there will be free trade in the Asia-Pacific, instead of the current alphabet soup of trading arrangements. It should not be a world where might is right, where the strong do what they will and the weak suffer what they must. It should be a world where legitimacy and constructive engagement are the international norm, and every country, big and small, can compete peacefully for the chance to prosper.

There is no road map to such a happy scenario. The future is not a straight-line projection of the past. However, if we resist the temptation to be consumed by short-term issues, keep our focus on longer-term shared interest, and continue striving for a peaceful, open and inclusive international order, then step by step we will build confidence and trust and maximise our chances that the next 50 years will be stable, prosperous and an upward path. Thank you very much.

Keynote Address Q&A

Dr John Chipman, Director-General and Chief Executive, IISS
Prime Minister, thank you for that powerful, sweeping, in-depth and in many cases exquisitely-balanced set of remarks. I know that once the text is made more widely available it will be studied carefully.

You have kindly agreed to take a few questions, and so I invite those who wish to pose a question or make a very brief comment to the Prime Minister to seek the floor by raising their hand in the customary manner, and if I can recognise you, I shall.

Dr Chung Min Lee, Ambassador for National Security Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Professor of International Relations, Graduate School of International Studies, Yonsei University
Thank you, Mr Prime Minister. My question to you, Mr Prime Minister, is as you asserted, as China’s capacity grows in the region, many Asian countries believe that she has a right to rise, but they are also concerned about growing Chinese military footprints, particularly in South China Seas, which impacts Japan, South Korea, Australia and even India. How do you foresee China’s rise militarily in this region, and how do you propose, being right in the middle of the Indo-Pacific, how we can manage this great transition? Thank you.

Lee Hsien Loong, Prime Minister of Singapore
Singapore has always seen China’s peaceful development and take-off as a very big positive factor. We see this because we have seen China poor and troubled and causing a lot of difficulties elsewhere in the region. We know from the last 30 years as China has prospered how many opportunities are opened up, how many chances we have for working together. I think the Chinese also know this. They are working at their development. It is not as effortless as it appears to outsiders; what we see as inevitable, they see as requiring tremendous effort. There are many domestic problems which the Chinese have to be preoccupied with and have to tackle with utmost seriousness, because some of these can have very grave consequences. That is why they talk about reforms – economic reforms, legal reforms, and also reforms to their civil service and to their system of law and order and anti-corruption, and why they are paying a lot of attention to a very high-profile and thorough anti-corruption drive going on now.

I think China has many internal issues which it is preoccupied with. It knows that it has to work at these in order to continue to prosper, and I think that it would like to do this without having to worry about problems with the rest of the world. From the point of view of the rest of the world, we would like to work with them as they progress and we work together. I think if you look at South-East Asia, yes, the South China Sea is a problem. There are four claimant states, and ASEAN members who have claims in the South China Sea, but all South-East Asian countries want to have good relations with China and would like to maintain those good relations, notwithstanding the difficulties over this specific dispute. I think that is a big plus factor which makes this problem tractable, and I think that will continue.

Colonel Lu Yin, Associate Research Fellow, Strategic Teaching and Research Department, National Defense University, People's Liberation Army
Good evening Mr Prime Minister. In your speech I noticed that you mentioned both China and the United States several times. This reminds me of some views on the China/US Relationship by Mr Lee Kuan Yew. He said the fundamental choice that the United States has to make is whether to isolate or engage China. You cannot have it both ways; you cannot say you will engage China on some issues and isolate over others. My question is how do you interpret his words, and what can Singapore do to promote the China/US relationship as a bridge between the major powers and between the East and the West?  How will Singapore help the United States to release a clear rather than mixed signal in this regard?  Thank you very much.

Lee Hsien Loong, Prime Minister of Singapore
I think generally speaking Mr Lee Kuan Yew does not need much interpretation, because he spoke very clearly. When he said that you can either isolate or engage and you must choose one or the other, I think he meant exactly that. I think that the Americans have decided that trying to isolate is impossible, and they will try to engage. It is not always easy. There will be rough spots as well as smooth, but that is the way international relations are. As an overall strategy, whichever administration has been in power in the US for successive presidents since Nixon, no president has decided to go for isolation, and they have engaged. Sometimes you find they embrace too close and you would like to have more space. That is so when a big country embraces you, and we know that acutely as a small country. I am glad China sometimes feels like that too.

Singapore’s role as a bridge is a very modest one. We are a very small country. We are 3.5 million Singaporeans,total population 5.5 million. Friends with both, hoping to be able to help both to be friends a bit more with each other. One of the places we hope they will talk to each other and find it a bit easier to become friends is at the Shangri-La Dialogue.

The US, how can they send clear signals?  I think you have to talk to them directly at the highest levels. You have a strategic dialogue, 2+2, on both sides. President Xi Jinping has had retreats with President Obama, spent time together, one-on-one. You have to be prepared to talk. You may have all your briefs, you have read all the notes, you know what the positions are of all your departments; you now sit down and you have to talk to the other person, establish a human link, but at the same time represent in your wisdom the collective interest of your nation and try to build that relationship so that there is a basis to take it beyond that, through the civil service, through the armed forces, into the people.

I think that that is the way you have to do it. We welcome the engagement. We are very happy that the Americans are here in force. We are happy that the PLA has participated at the SLD for many years. We hope more will come, and more friends will be made.

Richard Lloyd Parry, Asian Editor, The Times
Prime Minister, your revered father once said that allowing Japan to send its troops overseas was like giving a liqueur chocolate to an alcoholic.

Lee Hsien Loong, Prime Minister of Singapore
No, no – to a cured alcoholic.

Richard Lloyd Parry, Asian Editor, The Times
70 years after the war, do you think that Japan’s alcoholism is over?

Lee Hsien Loong, Prime Minister of Singapore
That is why I said that the more Japan can settle the war, the more everybody will be convinced that the alcoholism is a thing of the past.

Haruhisa Takeuchi, Ambassador of Japan to Singapore
Thank you very much, Prime Minister. I think we have recovered from the hangover quite a long time ago. I do recall that the Prime Minister Abe, one year exactly from now before, has delivered his keynote speech from this podium talking about Japan’s proactive contribution to the peace for the future, the initiative Singapore welcomes. The Prime Minister also stated at that occasion that, based upon the deep remorse of the past war, Japan has worked through the path of peace, and that will be the case towards the future. That is the way we are.

My question is that, since you are celebrating the 50th anniversary of independence, could you please share with us a little bit about your country Singapore as well? Because in your very eloquent and extensive speech you did not touch too much on Singapore itself, what you have achieved and what would be the strength of Singapore towards the future. Thank you very much.

Lee Hsien Loong, Prime Minister of Singapore
That will take us for another lecture, but I would say that over the last 50 years we have benefitted from a benign region, from the American presence in Asia and from our own efforts and the friendship of our neighbours in order to go from third world to first and come here. As I said in the speech, Japan played not a small role, because Japan led the flying geese and we were one of the little goslings following behind you. We are now not a gosling any more.

Neither are we a giant bird. We are a small bird, having to find our own way forward. There is no mother in front of us. Why do I say that?  Because we are at a developed world level, but in fact we are not a fully developed world economy. We are not the size of Japan or Korea or Germany, with that population base, with that strength of technology and industrial organisation and MNCs and research institutes, and that history and ballast of hundreds of years of existence as a nation.

To say that the next 50 years is just a short time in my perspective, the next 50 years is a long time in Singapore’s perspective. The extrapolation of the next 50 years is a lot beyond what I have experienced in the last 50. We have got to make our living doing that.

What is going for us? One thing is that we are small, so things which big countries take a long time to do, we can do a little bit faster. Secondly, we have invested in our people, and everybody says, ‘The world changes fast. You must invest in human resources, education.’ I think we have got a good education system. Our people complain that there is too much homework and they have to have too much tuition, and that is true. However, they work hard, and it shows in their results and that is good. I think that that will stand us in good stead whichever way the world turns.

What helps us? We are I think secure in our defences today, much more than we were 50 years ago. 50 years ago we had two infantry battallions and one wooden ship, and the infantry battallions were mostly non-Singaporeans. Today we have the Singapore Armed Forces. We buy all the equipment. We have got all Leopard tanks from Germany. I am not sure if we have wooden ships anymore, but we have quite a lot of second-hand material from all over the world. We try to make the best use of it for our purposes to defend Singapore. I think they are credible and they are professional, and we are secure.

That enables us to grow, to develop, to transform ourselves, arts, economy, the whole lot. I think that we are in a strong position. The game has just begun. All I can say, as the current coach, is that I have got a good team, and I think from the team we will produce future coaches and we will get there beyond the finish line in 50 years time. Thank you.

Dr John Chipman, Director-General and Chief Executive, IISS
The opening speaker at the Shangri-La Dialogue, always a head of government, has the duty of serving an intellectual aperitif or hors d’oeuvres for the Shangri-La Dialogue, giving us a taste of the debate to come. You, Prime Minister, have given us a wonderful and very meaty main course to savour. Thank you for your vital contribution to our discussions, and I do genuinely hope the themes and proposals that you have made in your speech are discussed and acted upon. Thank you very much, and join us for dinner, please.

The United States and Challenges of Asia-Pacific Security

The United States and Challenges of Asia-Pacific Security: Ashton Carter

As Delivered

Well, thank you, John. Thanks for that kind introduction. Thank you for sponsoring this remarkable forum. Over its history, IISS has hosted invaluable conversations like the Shangri-La Dialogue and produced important scholarship, and through all of that you have made our world more secure. On behalf of the United States, thank you.

One reason I have enjoyed coming to this dialogue since attending it for the first time, as John noted, in 2002, is the opportunity to visit with so many good friends the United States has in this region. On my way to Southeast Asia, I attended a change-of-command ceremony, the US Pacific Command in Hawaii, and there I met with Philippines National Defense Secretary Gazmin. And when I arrived in Singapore I had the opportunity to visit with Prime Minister Lee, who gave a characteristically wise and incisive keynote last night, and with Minister Ng to talk about regional challenges and a deepening defence relationship. Of course, I see so many friends and partners here today, and I will meet with many of you after these sessions.

From Singapore, I will travel to Vietnam, with visits in Haiphong and then Hanoi, where Vietnamese Defence Minister General Thanh and I will sign a joint vision statement for greater operational cooperation, the first time that the United States and Vietnam commit to do so.

And then I will fly on to India to tour the Eastern Naval Command at Vizag and meet with my counterpart in New Delhi to sign the new US–India Defense Framework that will guide military cooperation between us for the next decade.

Each of these stops, just like my visits to Japan and the Republic of Korea last month, is a reminder of the regional demand for persistent American engagement and the importance of the regional security architecture that has helped so many Asia-Pacific nations to rise and prosper.

And that is the theme of my remarks today. The United States wants a shared regional architecture that is strong enough, capable enough and connected enough to ensure that all Asia-Pacific peoples and nations have the opportunity to rise and continue to rise in the future. The United States wants a future in which an Indonesian fisherman, an energy executive from Malaysia, an entrepreneur from Singapore, a small business owner from California and a Chinese businesswoman, just to name a few, have the security and opportunity to rise and prosper. And the United States wants to protect the rights of all countries, whether large or small, to win, to rise, to prosper and to determine their own destiny.

To realise that future, the Asia-Pacific security architecture must be inclusive, it must be open, it must be transparent. And it must respect rights and not just might. It cannot shy away from hard issues. It must provide a forum to openly discuss the challenges we face so that we can tackle them collectively. It must be action-oriented to help us manage today’s challenges and prevent tomorrow’s crises. And it must reward cooperation, not coercion.

That is an audacious idea, but we meet today in a country that demonstrates what determination, consistency and persistence can do. But we do so with a heavy heart. Lee Kuan Yew once said that, ‘Anybody who thinks he’s a statesman, needs to see a psychiatrist.’ But the world lost a great friend, and indeed one of its premier statesmen, with his passing earlier this year. Lee Kuan Yew’s spirit of statesmanship endures, perhaps nowhere more than in this room.

Here, men and women of goodwill come together to think critically about the region’s future. We owe it to Lee Kuan Yew, who described his leadership style as, ‘I set out to do something. I keep on chasing it until it succeeds.’ And we owe it to all those we represent – citizens, organisations, governments and businesses – to work together until we succeed, until every nation can rise and everybody wins. That is the future we all need to keep chasing.

We have succeeded before. Over the past 70 years, the Asia-Pacific has grown and prospered in so many ways. Miracle after miracle has occurred. First Japan, then Taiwan, South Korea, Southeast Asia, including Singapore, rose and prospered. And now China and India are rising and prospering.

And the region is not done yet. Today over 60% of the world’s population lives in the Asia-Pacific. It is the fulcrum of the global economy, one of the fastest-growing regions of the world. That sustained growth, supported by increased regional and international trade, has lifted millions out of poverty and into the middle class. And even though there is still room for improvement, democracy and freedom have spread throughout the region.

Meanwhile, the United States is doing well, too. Following the worst recession since the Great Depression, the US economy has made great gains in both jobs and GDP. Progress will continue because of America’s dynamic and innovative businesses, strong commitment to the rule of law, world-class universities and the domestic energy revolution now under way. And the US military, long the finest fighting force the world has ever known, has improved its readiness while maintaining its unmatched operational edge and unrivalled capabilities.

America’s so-called rebalance has always been about sustaining the progress occurring all around the Asia-Pacific and helping the region continue to fulfil its promise. As Secretary of Defense, I am personally committed to its next phase, in which DoD will deepen long-standing alliances and partnerships, diversify America’s force posture, and make new investments in key capabilities and platforms. The Department is investing in the technologies that are most relevant to this complex security environment, such as new unmanned systems for the air and sea, a new long-range bomber, and new technologies like the electromagnetic railgun, lasers and new systems for space and cyberspace, including a few surprising ones.

As the United States develops new systems, DoD will continue to bring the best platforms and people forward to the Asia-Pacific, such as the latest Virginia-class submarines, the Navy’s P-8 Poseidonsurveillance aircraft, the newest stealth destroyer, the Zumwalt, and brand-new carrier-based E-2DHawkeye early-warning-and-control aircraft.

But the rebalance’s next phase is more than just about security. The United States is increasing economic and diplomatic engagement. The Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement, or TPP, just passed an important milestone in the US Congress, and when it is completed it will unlock tremendous economic opportunities not only for the United States, but for countries across the Pacific Rim. It will create a diverse network of trade and investment relations driven by TPP’s high standards, reducing reliance on any one network.

Diplomatically, Secretary Kerry and other members of the Cabinet are making frequent visits to the region and hosting many of their counterparts this year, and President Obama will meet a number of Asian leaders at the White House before travelling here again in November.

The entire Obama administration and many others in Washington, both Republican and Democrat, are devoted to the rebalance. The rebalance enjoys strong bipartisan support in Congress, as you can see from the large and distinguished congressional delegation joining me here today. Senator McCain, Senator Reed, Senator Hirono, Senator Ernst, Senator Gardner, Senator Sullivan, have been and will continue to be leaders in this important national effort.

And that is because for decade upon decade, regardless of what else was going on at home or in other parts of the world, during Democratic and Republican presidencies, in times of surplus and deficit, war and peace, the United States has stood with its allies and partners here and helped to maintain peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific. And the United States always will.

It’s important to remember that America’s rebalance, and our overall long-standing strategy to promote an Asia-Pacific regional security architecture where everyone rises, has never aimed to hold any nation back or push any country down. The United States wants every nation to have an opportunity to rise and prosper and win, because it is good for the region and good for all of our countries.

Indeed, as countries across the Asia-Pacific rise, as nations develop, as military spending increases and as economies thrive, we expect to see changes in how countries define and pursue their interests and ambitions.

In addition to those changes, we have seen the region’s complex security environment become more fraught. North Korea continues to provoke. Decades-long disputes over rocks and shoals are compounded by quarrels over fishing rights, energy resources and freedom of access to international waters and airspace. As the challenge of climate change looms larger, natural disasters not only threaten lives, but also upset trade and economic growth. And at the same time, terrorism, foreign fighters, cyber attacks and trafficking in both people and narcotics plague this region like any other.

These challenges risk upsetting the positive trajectory we have all been on and the rise of so many in the Asia-Pacific. That can make it hard to remember our common interests, but the progress we have made, and must continue, demands that we do so.

Unlike elsewhere in the world, the peace in the Asia-Pacific has never been maintained by a region-wide alliance like NATO in Europe. And that made sense for the Asia-Pacific, with its unique history, geography and politics. Instead, regional peace, stability and security here have required all of our nations coming together behind shared interests.

We must continue to come together. Today and in the years ahead, security must be the shared responsibility of all of us, all our nations. With the strengthening of the East Asia Summit, we have the foundation for a stronger architecture. It is incumbent upon all of us to make it better by reaffirming our long-standing rules and norms, strengthening our institutions, modernising alliances, enhancing capabilities and improving connectivity.

As President Obama said in Brisbane last year, an effective security order for Asia must be based not on spheres of influence or coercion or intimidation where big nations bully the small, but on alliances of mutual security, international law and international norms, and the peaceful resolution of disputes.

First, we must all reaffirm the guiding principles and the rules that have served this region so well. Disputes should be resolved peacefully through diplomacy, not aggression or intimidation. All countries should have the right to freedom of navigation and overflight so global commerce can continue unimpeded. And all nations should be able to make their own security and economic choices free from coercion.

These are the rights of all nations. They are not abstractions, nor are they subject to the whims of any one country. They are not privileges to be granted or withdrawn by any country. These rules make sense. They have worked and they can continue to help all our nations to rise, so long as we reinforce them instead of putting them at risk.

Second, we must strengthen regional institutions. The nations of ASEAN have laid the foundation for the architecture in Southeast Asia that we enjoy today, and ASEAN will continue to be central to it. That is why the United States and the Department of Defense are making an affirmative investment of time, resources and engagement in ASEAN. That is why America has committed to sending the new US Defense Advisor to augment the US mission to ASEAN, in order to improve coordination and information sharing for humanitarian and disaster response and for maritime security. That is also why I plan to travel to Malaysia in November for this year’s ADMM-Plus meeting. As ASEAN works to build its community in the years ahead, the United States encourages member countries to continue to seek out new and innovative ways to work together and pool resources to maintain regional security.

Third, America’s alliances and partnerships have been the bedrock of peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific for decades, and the United States is working with allies like Australia, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Thailand and the Philippines to be sure all our alliances continue to serve this vital function. Modernisation means changing these alliances to address the evolving threat environment, as the United States has done with South Korea, and growing those alliances into platforms for regional and global cooperation, as we have done with Australia and Japan.

Under Prime Minister Abe, Japan is increasing its engagement in Southeast Asia. Through the recently updated Guidelines for US–Japan Defense Cooperation, the United States and Japan will be able to do more as an alliance in the region and beyond. Forward-stationing America’s most advanced capabilities in Japan, such as the Global Hawk long-range surveillance drone, AEGIS ballistic-missile-defence destroyers, and the recently announced CV-22 Osprey, will enable further rapid and allied responses to regional contingencies.

Meanwhile, the US–Korea alliance not only assures deterrence and stability on the Korean Peninsula, it increasingly works for the region as well. And in Australia, US and Australian forces now train side by side, not only with each other, as they have for many years, but also with friends and partners across Southeast Asia.

Beyond alliances, the United States is also deepening its partnerships with friends across the region, including India and Vietnam, where, as I said, I will travel next week. The United States is looking for new ways to complement India’s Act East policy and find meaningful areas of cooperation in the Asia-Pacific. And the 2015 US–India Defense Framework that I will sign next week will open up this relationship on everything from maritime security to aircraft-carrier and jet-engine-technology cooperation.

We are leveraging America’s alliances and partnerships to pursue new forms of cooperation, and that is why America’s trilateral networks are blossoming also. With Japan and Australia, the United States is strengthening maritime security in Southeast Asia and expanding trilateral exercises and exploring defence-technology cooperation. With Japan and Korea, the United States is building on a first-of-its-kind information-sharing arrangement that will help them collectively deter and respond to crises. And with Japan and India, the United States is sharing lessons learned on disaster responses and building greater maritime security cooperation.

Fourth, in addition to strengthening relationships, we must enhance the capacities of the regional security architecture, particularly on maritime security. American men and women in uniform are working together with countries in the region to build that capacity, especially on maritime security.

For example, the USS Fort Worth, one of the Navy’s nimble littoral combat ships, just returned from a regional tour where it was welcomed everywhere from South Korea to Southeast Asia. And Singapore’s willingness to host LCS ships like Fort Worth helps all of us respond more quickly and effectively to regional crises. For example, when AirAsia Flight 8501 disappeared this past winter, the Fort Worth was able to be on the scene within 24 hours to help with search and recovery.

We are doing even more together. In Vietnam, where I will travel next, the United States is providing equipment and infrastructure support to the Vietnamese coastguard. Just this month in Malaysia, the USSCarl Vinson carrier strike group participated in air-combat training with Malaysian air and surface units. In the Philippines, the United States is helping to build a National Coast Watch system to improve Manila’s maritime-domain awareness. And in Indonesia, America recently began conducting sea-surveillance exercises together, which included, for the first time, flight portions over the South China Sea.

And that is just the start. Today, I am pleased to announce the DoD will be launching a new Southeast Asia Maritime Security Initiative. And thanks to the leadership of the senators here today and others, Congress has taken steps to authorise up to $425 million for these maritime capacity-building efforts.

And fifth, to ensure that our institutions, alliances, partnerships and capability-building efforts meet their potential, we must be better connected. We can accomplish this by working together, communicating better and developing habits of cooperation.

Every year the United States helps plan and host hundreds of exercises and engagements in this region. From Foal Eagle to Balikatan, from Malabar to Garuda Shield, RIMPAC and Talisman Sabre to Cobra Gold, with every engagement we get smarter and more effective together, while decreasing the risk of misinterpretation and miscalculation.

We can also limit this risk by improving communication further. For example, the United States and China have agreed to two historic confidence-building agreements this past fall, and the United States hopes to do more. We are working to complete another measure this year that aims to prevent dangerous air-to-air encounters. Building better habits of US–China military-to-military cooperation not only benefits both countries, but benefits the whole region as well.

Beyond exercises and military-to-military cooperation, we also build habits of cooperation when we work together to confront real-world challenges, such as responding to natural disasters and other humanitarian crises. These efforts are critically important in a disaster-prone region. Just a few weeks ago, the United States worked together with partners to respond to Nepal’s tragic earthquake, with US marines based in Okinawa helping alongside India, Japan, China, Thailand and others.

And we all don’t just work together, we sacrifice together. Tragically, six US marines and two Nepalese soldiers perished when their helicopter went missing in the mountains during relief operations. Their loss will not be forgotten. Together, we can honour their memory by continuing the work they began.

America’s been here after typhoons, earthquakes and plane crashes, and America will keep being here, committed to the long-standing practice of playing a part, a pivotal part, in assuring safety and stability in the region.

We face today another humanitarian crisis. As we speak, an urgent refugee situation is unfolding in the Bay of Bengal that requires both a comprehensive solution and quick action to save lives. I want to commend Malaysia’s leadership as well as Indonesia, Thailand and others, for working along with the United States and others to locate the migrants and prepare search-and-rescue operations.

These humanitarian efforts and the habits of cooperation they help form demonstrate what we can do when we work together. Working together as we have in Nepal, in the fight against piracy and in preventing illegal trafficking and fishing in the Gulf of Thailand, just to name a few examples, allows us to do more and better around the region. And that is how we reach the future a stronger security architecture affords, a future where everyone continues to rise and everyone continues to win.

To realise that future, we must tackle urgent issues like the security and stability of the South China Sea. Yesterday, I took an aerial transit of the Strait of Malacca, and when viewed from the air, it is even clearer how critical this region’s waterways are to international trade and energy resources. We have all benefited from free and open access to the South China Sea and the Strait of Malacca. We all have a fundamental stake in the security of the South China Sea. And that is why we all have deep concerns about any party that attempts to undermine the status quo and generate instability there, whether by force, coercion or simply by creating irreversible facts on the ground, in the air or in the water.

Now, it is true that almost all the nations that claim parts of the South China Sea have developed outposts over the years of differing scope and degree. In the Spratly Islands, Vietnam has 48 outposts; the Philippines, eight; Malaysia, five; and Taiwan one. Yet, one country has gone much further and much faster than any other, and that is China.

China has reclaimed over 2,000 acres, more than all other claimants combined, and more than in the entire history of the region. And China did so in only the last 18 months. It is unclear how much further China will go. That is why this stretch of water has become a source of tension in the region and front-page news around the world.

The United States is deeply concerned about the pace and scope of land reclamation in the South China Sea, the prospect of further militarisation, as well as the potential for these activities to increase the risk of miscalculation or conflict among claimant states. As a Pacific nation, a trading nation and a member of the international community, the United States has every right to be involved and concerned.

But these are not just American concerns. Nations across the region and the world, and many of you here in the room today, have also voiced the same concerns and raised questions about China’s intentions in constructing these massive outposts. So let me make clear the position of the United States.

First, we want a peaceful resolution of all disputes. To that end, there should be an immediate and lasting halt to land reclamation by all claimants. We also oppose any further militarisation of disputed features. We all know there is no military solution to the South China Sea disputes. Right now, at this critical juncture, it is time for renewed diplomacy focused on finding a lasting solution that protects the rights and the interests of all. As it is central to the regional security architecture, ASEAN must be a part of this effort. The United States encourages ASEAN and China to conclude a Code of Conduct this year. America will support the right of claimants to pursue international legal arbitration and other peaceful means to resolve these disputes, just as we will oppose coercive tactics.

Second, the United States will continue to protect freedom of navigation and overflight, principles that have ensured security and prosperity in this region for decades. There should be no mistake: the United States will fly, sail and operate wherever international law allows, as US forces do all over the world. America, alongside its allies and partners in the regional architecture, will not be deterred from exercising these rights – the rights of all nations. After all, turning an underwater rock into an airfield simply does not afford the rights of sovereignty or permit restrictions on international air or maritime transit.

Finally, with its actions in the South China Sea, China is out of step with both the international rules and norms that underscore the Asia-Pacific security architecture, and the regional consensus that favours diplomacy and opposes coercion. These actions are spurring nations to respond together in new ways; in settings as varied as the East Asia Summit to the G7, countries are speaking up for the importance of stability in the South China Sea. Indonesia and the Philippines are putting aside maritime disputes and resolving their claims peacefully. In venues like ADMM-Plus and the East Asia Maritime Forum, nations are seeking new protocols and procedures to build maritime cooperation.

The United States will always stand with its allies and partners. It is important for the region to understand that America is going to remain engaged, continue to stand up for international law and universal principles, and help provide security and stability in the Asia-Pacific for decades to come.

The South China Sea is just one issue we will face as the Asia-Pacific continues to rise and prosper. There will surely be others. We cannot predict what challenges the future holds. However, we do know how we could work to ensure the peace and prosperity of the region and the opportunity to rise for all nations and all people. For that to happen, we must do so together.

What the region needs instead is an architecture where everybody rises and everybody wins. That is what is happening across the region right now. We come together on a daily basis to settle disputes, respond to crises and prevent conflict. For example, in the Bay of Bengal, India and Bangladesh have proven that diplomacy can work in resolving maritime differences. In Southeast Asia, nations like Singapore, Vietnam and Malaysia are developing new training facilities that will build regional capacity in peacekeeping, disaster relief and counter-terrorism. In the Indian Ocean, many nations, including China, are rooting out the scourge of piracy.

But we all know we have more work to do. By taking steps now to ensure the regional architecture that has reinforced norms, stronger institutions and alliances, more capabilities and deeper connectivity, we can ensure our successors at the Shangri-La Dialogue in 20 years will be talking about the challenges and opportunities presented by the rise of yet other Asia-Pacific nations. But I also hope they will be discussing, perhaps, the latest US–China–India multilateral maritime exercise, a Japan–ROK joint disaster response in the South China Sea, an ASEAN-wide security network, a new understanding for cyberspace that ensures security and free flow of information. If those are the conversations at Shangri-La in 2035, we will have succeeded. We will still face challenges and crises, but we will face them together, with a regional security architecture where everyone rises and everybody wins, and that will be a worthy legacy. Thank you.

The United States and Challenges of Asia-Pacific Security: Q&A

As Delivered

Dr John Chipman, Director-General and Chief Executive, IISS

Mr Secretary, thank you very much for that ‘working together, rising together’ message and for your strategic clarity in describing how states in the region need to exercise a certain restraint in order to ensure diplomatic solutions to some of the differences of opinion that exist here. We are now going to take five or six questions.

Let me remind you again of the two-step process. You put your chip into the right-hand side of the microphone and press the button. Your microphone will turn green, but that does not mean your microphone is on. It only means that I see you in the queue. I will turn your microphone on and turn it red. Also, I am able to turn it off if you go on a little bit too long. We have a long list of questions. I will maybe take three and then come back to Dr Carter. The first one is from François Heisbourg.

Professor François Heisbourg, Chairman of the Council, IISS; Special Adviser, Fondation pour la Recherche Stratégique

Thank you. Thank you very much indeed, John. Thank you, Ash, for a broad-ranging and indeed a very clear statement. Now, in strategy, it is always important to understand the purpose of the actions of your partners and protagonists. Therefore I will ask you, what is your understanding of China’s purpose in its current actions in the South China Sea? Is China creating facts in the sea on the assumption that it believes that there will be no strong and sustained US response, thus opening, indeed, the field to the sort of miscalculations that you very rightly referred to? Or, on the contrary, does China act the way it does because it is expecting the United States to be reacting the way it does, that is, with clarity and firmness? If that is the case, well, what does that tell us about the relevance and the effectiveness of the US response? Now, I hope my question would not have ruffled too many Chinese and American feathers. Thank you very much.

Dr Ashton Carter, Secretary of Defense, United States

Thank you, François. I really cannot speak for my colleagues in China, so I will let them speak for themselves. I will say that the United States has the view that I expressed. However, this is not solely a US view. This is a view of many states in the region, all of them concerned. The United States is calling for a halt to reclamation activities and to further militarisation not just by China, but by all the claimants to the South China Sea. Our view is not that the South China Sea disputes ought to be resolved in this way or that way; our view is that they ought to be resolved peacefully. That is the principle that the United States stands for, and that is not about any one particular country. It is not directed at any one particular country. We are not creating new facts. The new facts are in the South China Sea, and they were not created by the United States.

Yoichi Kato, National Security Correspondent, The Asahi Shimbun

Thank you, Mr Secretary. I would like to ask you a question regarding the South China Sea and China’s land reclamation. You mentioned in your speech that there should be an immediate and lasting halt to land reclamation. However, these kinds of rhetorical appeals have been made in the past, and the reality is, as we see, the provocation has not been stopped. In reality, to the contrary, it has been escalated. I think it is time for the United States to go to the next phase to demonstrate how this rhetorical appeal can make a tangible difference. My question is: what is it that the United States is ready to do besides, as you say, fly, sail and operate? I think this is really important just beyond South China Sea, because how to deter this kind of low-intensity provocation is exactly the new and existing challenge that we all face in this region. Thank you.

Dr Ashton Carter, Secretary of Defense, United States

It is a very good question. I just want to go back to the beginning here. This is behaviour that the United States finds objectionable, but importantly, many other countries in the region do. I think the way to reframe slightly your question is: what is going to be the effect internationally, both in the United States and regionally, to the persistent failure to solve these disputes in a peaceful way? I observe a couple of effects that are not just in the United States, but regionally: many, many countries are expressing publicly and, of course, to the United States, their concern. Many of them, as a consequence, want to strengthen their relationships with the United States and others of the neighbours and partners. This kind of behaviour, I think – if it does not stop, one of the consequences of that will be the continued coalescing of concerned nations around the region and around the world. We observe that. We experience that. We are one of the many countries that are concerned. However, we are not, by no means, the only one.

Dr John Chipman, Director-General and Chief Executive, IISS

Thank you very much. I thought it interesting that we have introduced in this Dialogue potentially a new term of art in the strategic-studies profession: deter low-intensity provocation. I had not heard it phrased quite that way before.

Josh Rogin, Columnist, Bloomberg View

Mr Secretary, I would like to ask you about another growing security concern in the region: the rising and accumulating nuclear arsenal of North Korea. There have been two stories in the press this week. One, that the United States reportedly used a Stuxnet-like computer virus to attempt unsuccessfully to penetrate North Korea’s nuclear network. Two, that Iran and North Korea have increasing and ongoing nuclear and missile cooperation. What I would like to ask you is, many people in Washington say you are the new leader of the Asia portfolio in the Obama administration. Is that true? If so, do you plan to reinvigorate what many in Washington feel is a failed policy of strategic patience with regard to North Korea in this, the twilight of the Obama administration? Thank you.

Dr Ashton Carter, Secretary of Defense, United States

Thank you. First of all, let me say that I am not the leader of the Obama administration’s policy in Asia. President Obama is the leader of the policy. Second of all, it is not a policy of the Obama administration only – the point I tried to make, this is a tradition of seven decades where the United States has stood with allies and partners and tried to stand for and help build a principled security system in Asia, based upon norms and respect for one another and not coercion, not use of force. This is a region, as I noted, that does not have any formal security structure and has many yet unhealed wounds of the past. That collective system of security – that, what I call the architecture in the speech of ‘Everybody rises and everybody wins’ – has really worked for seven decades. It has been enormously successful, and it is represented by the miracle that is around us here in the great city of Singapore, and the miracles in all the countries represented in this room. It is a terrific success story and it would be a shame for all of us not to keep that success going. That is the theme that I wanted to sound today.

With respect to your particular question on North Korea and North Korea’s provocations, its nuclear programmes and so forth, North Korea remains a troubling and provocative exception to the general rule in this region of countries that pursue a system of peace and stability. I cannot comment on particulars of what Iran and North Korea might be doing. However, with respect to North Korea’s nuclear programme, this is something we have been concerned about for a long time. This is, again, something that we have attempted collectively, a multilateral diplomatic approach to stopping. That is what the efforts by Japan, South Korea, China, Russia and the United States – all neighbours of North Korea – have been trying to do for some years, which is create an environment on the Korean Peninsula that is nuclear-weapons free.

I think that that effort has, as yet, not achieved success. On the other hand, it has shown great solidarity among five countries united in their opposition to nuclear proliferation on the Korean Peninsula and dedicated to working together. In what is otherwise a troubling circumstance, you see there reflected the kind of habits of peaceful approach and collective approach that I am speaking about today.

Senior Colonel Zhao Xiaozhuo, Deputy Director-General, China-US Defense Relations Research Center, Academy of Military Science

Mr Carter, you criticised China’s construction activities on some islands and reefs in your speech. I think your criticism is groundless and not constructive. For instance, you mentioned freedom of navigation and overflight. I think the freedom of navigation in the South China Sea is not at all an issue, because the freedom has never been affected. Also, it is groundless to criticise China for affecting original peace and stability through construction activities, since China has never taken any proactive measures. In fact, the disputes in the South China Sea have been there for decades. Over the past decades, the region has been peaceful and stable just because of China’s great restraint.

I think China’s activities are legitimate, reasonable and justified. Recently the US has taken some measures, such as harsh criticism towards China and even military reconnaissance activities, even military threat. My question is, do these measures help to resolve the disputes in the South China Sea and maintain peace and stability in the region? Thank you.

Dr Ashton Carter, Secretary of Defense, United States

Thank you. A few things. The first is, the questioner is correct that there are other states claimant in the South China Sea than China. This is about a bigger principle and not just about one country. It is true, as I said, that China’s recent large-scale activities are unprecedented. But the precedent of land reclamation is one that now five countries, as I indicated in my speech, have engaged in. Our position, just to be clear, is that all of the claimants to the South China Sea disputes should halt reclamation, not further militarise those features, and pursue a peaceful resolution.

With respect to US activities, the US has been flying and sailing in the South China Sea for decades and decades and decades. As I indicated, we do not intend to change that in any way. That is not a new fact. Nor is it a new fact when the free press of the West covers large-scale reclamation activities. That is not a US action; that is an action by the international free press observing a fact, a new fact which is not an American fact. It is a Chinese fact. The American facts are basically unchanged: we continue to fly and sail and operate in the South China Sea peacefully and lawfully, as we have for decades.

Professor Kishore Mahbubani, Dean and Professor in the Practice of Public Policy, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore

Secretary Carter, let me begin by saying that the United States has done a remarkable job of managing the rise of China as it has emerged as the number-two power, without disrupting the global order. A lot of it, frankly, has been due to very benevolent United States actions. But as China keeps rising and inevitably it becomes the number-one economic power in the world, US historians will know that strategic adjustments will have to be made by both sides. As you look ahead to the future, and you ask yourself the question what strategic adjustments both countries will have to make to ensure that both have sufficient space to grow and live together in this region, what else do you think needs to be done? You mentioned that two confidence-building measures have already been carried out. You did not specify what they were. However, can you tell us more about what the United States and China are doing on a larger front, on a larger scale, to ensure that both sides can live together in peace in this region?

Dr John Chipman, Director-General and Chief Executive, IISS

Thank you. Could I just ask Senator Dan Sullivan to make his question and point, and then the Secretary can answer both.

Senator Dan Sullivan, Member, Armed Services Committee, US Senate

Thank you. Mr Secretary, congratulations on an outstanding speech. I just want to comment. I believe that the US comes to this Dialogue with some important momentum on some key issues. You mentioned in your speech the strong bipartisan support for the US military rebalance in the Asia-Pacific. There is also the recent vote on the Trade Promotion Authority in the US Senate, bipartisan, that I think bodes well for our economic rebalance.

Then, you touched briefly in your speech on the energy revolution in the United States that is taking place. Can you expand a bit more on the huge potential that we have, not only in the United States but with regard to energy security and broader security in the Asia-Pacific, that comes with the huge opportunities that we are now seeing with regard to energy production in America and what that means for this region? Thank you.

Dr Ashton Carter, Secretary of Defense, United States

Thank you. First, with respect to the first question, I think the phrase was, ‘The United States has allowed China to rise.’ We do not think of it that way at all. We do not allow people or disallow people to do anything. I like to think that the United States was part of a regional system of peace and stability wherein China could peacefully develop its economy in safety and freedom and independence. However, it is not for one state or another to allow one thing or another. The nice thing about the system that I am trying to describe, that we should continue about the future, is it is about all of us creating an environment in which everybody can rise and win. There are other rising powers in Asia, both military but also culturally, economically, politically, and that is welcomed by the United States. I want to be clear about that: we have been welcoming that kind of development for 70 years, and I think that is a consensus in the region to welcome that. We do not allow or disallow anything.

Second, you are right: as countries change and countries rise, there will need to be adjustments made. The United States understands that. It is not just China’s rise which is impressive; Japan is rising and changing in the way it is addressing its own defence, India is, and many other countries in the region. It is a very dynamic region. It is not about any one place, either the United States or China. It is about everybody.

With respect to the relationship between the United States and China, I am very committed myself to working with China’s government and the Chinese military on confidence-building measures, work we can do together to both demonstrate and enhance our ability to work together towards a common future in which everyone rises and everyone wins. I think that is a good thing. We are strongly supportive of that in the United States, and I look forward to working with Chinese colleagues to that end.

With respect to Senator Sullivan’s point, first of all, let me thank you, sir, and thank the entire delegation led here by Senator McCain, who knows this region as well or better than anybody in this room. Thank you for taking the time to be here and, as you indicated, to show that this is a long-standing and widely shared bipartisan engagement in this region. You and your own expertise and commitment reflects that.

Thanks for your question about energy security, about which you are one of our experts; I will only say this. Yesterday, I had the opportunity to fly, as I mentioned in my speech, up the Strait of Malacca. There was tanker upon tanker upon tanker upon tanker heading down to fuel the great economic engine of progress and prosperity and everybody winning and everybody rising that I have been speaking about. Incredibly impressive testament to the rise of this region and to its critical dependence upon freedom of the commons, freedom of navigation. There could not be a way you could look out of an airplane and see a better sign of what it is all about and what we are trying to preserve here.

The United States for its part is, as you indicate, having a domestic energy revolution that is rapidly turning the United States from an energy net consumer to an energy net producer. That is a major historic and strategic change. It is obviously very beneficial, and that is good for the United States. It does not take away from the fact that for China, for Japan, for many of the countries of Asia, those tankers coming through the Strait are a vital lifeline. That is why it is so important for all of us to keep that freedom of navigation, that peaceful environment, going. There could be no better way of capturing, in one mental image, the kind of security future that this region needs, and certainly that the United States, just speaking for us, wants to continue being a part of and is very grateful for being a part of.

On that point, I should thank all of you in the audience. I see so many great friends and colleagues. I look forward to working with each and every one of you. I am grateful for the opportunity to share some thoughts with you this morning. John, as always, my friend, thank you.

Dr John Chipman, Director-General and Chief Executive, IISS

Thank you very much. I am going to ask you all in 60 seconds to thank the Secretary of Defense for his marvellous speech and explanation of US defence policy and broader security policy in the region. I want to take 45 seconds to thank you for three things. First, for using this platform to announce your new Southeast Asia Maritime Security Initiative. Second, for reaffirming at the Shangri-La Dialogue your commitment to close military-to-military cooperation with the People’s Republic of China, and indeed with all the other states represented here. Thirdly, by making those two statements, giving real substantive life to the Shangri-La Dialogue process. Mr Secretary, thank you very much for being here and good luck on your mission here.

New Forms of Security Collaboration in Asia

New Forms of Security Collaboration in Asia: Gen Nakatani

As Prepared, Provisional Translation

Dr. Chipman, distinguished guests, staff of the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), I would like to express my gratitude for your kind invitation to the Shangri-La Dialogue. Minister of Defense of Indonesia, Mr. Ryamizard, it is a pleasure to meet you again. Union State Minister, Ministry of Defense of India, Mr. Singh, this is the first time to meet you.

About 15 years ago, at the very first Shangri-La Dialogue, I had the opportunity to attend as Japanese Defense Minister. Every time the Shangri-La Dialogue goes into headlines, it reminds me of that time. It is truly an honor for me to be able to attend this meeting again.

In the first meeting, I proposed to hold a ‘Defense Ministerial Meeting among Asia-Pacific countries’ on a regular basis. I am delighted beyond words as we witness the Shangri-La Dialogue serves as the venue for such meeting. I would like to express my deep respect to Dr. Chipman and all the people who have been working very hard for every success of the Shangri-La Dialogue, and to the Government of Singapore for the continual support extended to such efforts. Also, taking this opportunity, I would like to again convey my heartfelt condolences to the passing of Mr. Lee Kuan Yew, the great leader of the Singaporean Government.

‘Success Story’ of the Asia-Pacific Region and Security Cooperation

The Asia Pacific region that we live in enjoys historic economic growth. On the other hand, in the security arena, it is often said that, ‘multilateral security cooperation in Asia Pacific is still far lagging behind compared to Europe that has established multilateral security institution’. That said, however, ladies and gentlemen, please recall our actual track record: even with some serious existing security challenges, we have been enjoying peace since the end of the Cold War. We have been actually achieving ‘success stories’, not only in the economic field but also in the security arena.

So, what made this ‘success story’ possible? In short, it is because of the utmost efforts that you and the countries in the region have made so far. For example, the solidarity and the open nature of ASEAN, the bilateral alliances centering on the U.S., the stable military presence of U.S. and its ongoing policy of rebalancing, multilateral frameworks such as ARF, ADMM, and ADMM-Plus, military-to-military cooperation in the region, and efforts to increase transparency in the defense policies of each countries, which has been sought since the establishment of ARF.

By fully utilizing these various frameworks and relationships, tailored efforts have been made for each challenge in Asia Pacific region. Against this backdrop, ASEAN countries have been playing essential roles. In this sense, ASEAN centrality is and should remain the basic principle of the region and Japan opposes any attempt to disturb this.

Security challenges will never be solved or disappear on their own. If we leave any unlawful situation unattended, order will soon turn to disorder, and peace and stability will be lost forever. Our success stories in the Asia-Pacific region are the products of our accumulated efforts in solving each challenge. And the following three principles have overarching importance : i) states shall make their claims based on international law, ii) states shall not use force or coercion in trying to drive their claims, and iii) states shall seek to settle disputes by peaceful means.

However, it is deeply regrettable that even at this very moment, vast land reclamation and construction of sea ports and airstrips are conducted at a rapid pace in South China Sea. There are attempts to try to change the status quo in the East China Sea as well. The countries in the region including Japan are concerned about such actions.

So, now let me once again call to people in this region: as long as we wish to walk together, the peaceful rise will never be block. We are responsible for the creation of the future, working together on an equal footing without exerting pressure to hand over the peace and stability of this region to future generations. I expect all the countries including China to behave as a responsible power. For example, to develop the Code of Conduct for the South China Sea soon should be walk the walk, not talk the talk.

Let me cite the words of the Chinese great thinker, Lao zi: ‘If you know contentment, you will never be disgraced. If you know moderation, you will never be in danger. [To know you have enough is to be immune from disgrace. To know when to stop is to be preserved from perils.]’ Would you not agree that now is the time to follow these words?

Japan’s View of Promoting Security Collaboration

In today’s world, no country can achieve its security solely by its own effort. Rather, it is of much greater importance for countries to work together as partners. Japan, under the banner of ‘Proactive Contribution to Peace’ based on the principle of international cooperation, will promote this security collaboration with the following three pillars.

The first pillar is Japan-U.S. Alliance. On April 27th, we established the new Guidelines for Japan-U.S. Defense Cooperation, in order to evolve our alliance with the U.S.

Today, I would like to explain three main points regarding the new Guidelines as follows. First of all, the Guidelines will realize seamless cooperation with the U.S., ranging from peace time to any emergency situation, in order to ensure Japan’s peace and stability. In the world today, security risks can instantly spread across the globe. To respond to such risks in a timely manner, seamless cooperation is vital. Secondly, the new Guidelines fully reflect the enlargement of the scope of the Alliance cooperation. In order to be prepared for risks that quickly spread across domains and any geographical boundaries, Japan and the U.S. will further deepen cooperation in ensuring peace and stability of the Asia Pacific and beyond, as well as in addressing emerging strategic domains such as cyber and outer space. Thirdly, we attach importance to cooperation with other partners. Japan and the U.S. will further promote capacity building support, and seek trilateral and multilateral security/defense cooperation with other partners. Japan and the U.S. have already been working on this. For instance, our vessels conducted joint cruise in the South China Sea last year for about a month from early October. As you can see, Japan and the U.S. have been conducting joint training in the South China Sea, and taking concrete cooperative measures to contribute to the maritime security in the region. The Japan-U.S. Alliance has contributed, and will contribute to peace and stability in the region.

The second pillar is Japan’s own efforts. After the end of World War II, Japan started out on our path with deep remorse over the war. Never have we averted our eyes from the fact that our actions brought suffering to the peoples in Asian countries. In this regard, the Abe administration upholds the same position of the previous Japanese administrations. Based on this recognition, Japan has been exerting our utmost efforts in the pursuit of peace and prosperity of the Asia Pacific region.

Currently, we are having discussions on ‘Legislation for Peace and Security’ in the National Diet. This new legislation is for Japan to contribute even more proactively to global peace and stability, joining hands with the international community, under the banner of ‘Proactive Contribution to Peace’ based on the principle of international cooperation.

Now, let me address one important point: Since the end of World War II, Japan has consistently followed the path of a peace-loving nation under the Constitution of Japan, while strictly adhering to exclusively defense-oriented policy, not becoming a military power, and observing the Three Non-Nuclear Principles. In developing our new legislation for peace and security, this philosophy of Japan is firm rock-solid, and will never change. Through the National Defense Program Guidelines, the new Guidelines for Japan-U.S. Defense Cooperation, and deliberation on Legislation for Peace and Security, we illustrate specific details of our defense policies with transparency. If you look at these efforts, I am confident that you will be fully convinced of my message. I believe ensuring transparency in defense policies of each country is vital for any responsible nation that promotes security cooperation in the international community today.

The third pillar is the establishment of a foundation for working together hand in hand with the regional countries. To achieve this, it is required for relevant countries to keep pace and cooperate with each other. Here, I would like to propose an idea that may guide us all present today: it is what we may call ‘The Shangri-La Dialogue Initiative,’ or ‘SDI,’ which consists of the following three elements.

First, wider promotion of common rules and laws at sea and in the air in the region. To this end, let us support efforts in advancing knowledge for securing safety and freedom of navigation / overflight, and actively promote joint exercise using CUES (Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea), as in the case Japanese SDF conducted with the Philippine Navy about two weeks ago. We also must consider measures to prevent accidents involving submarines, which are being deployed in this region. Second, maritime and aerospace security. In order to ensure the safety of regional waters as a strategic focal point of our sea-lanes, it is with an extreme importance to enhance capabilities for maritime domain awareness and ISR with ASEAN countries. Unfortunately, the Malaysian airplane which disappeared last year has not been discovered yet, but with a system that can monitor and control the regional aerospace around the clock, we would be able to ensure air safety furthermore. Third, improvement of our disaster response capability. Natural disaster is a common challenge that we face in this region.  In addition to the bilateral cooperation in enhancing such a capability, Japan attaches great importance to enhancing disaster response capability of the region as a whole, by synergizing the regional disaster prevention bases, such as ASEAN Humanitarian Assistance Centre (AHA Centre) and Singapore’s Information Fusion Centre (IFC). As the recent massive earthquake that hit Nepal shows, relief effort will be necessary at the earliest possible stage. Therefore, we believe we need our military authorities to study how we can further streamline procedures for rapid deployment of aircraft carrying emergency relief to disaster-stricken area.

Japan is determined to put this ‘Shangri-La Dialogue Initiative,’ or SDI, into practice, and to closely work together with regional countries. Speaking of SDI, people of older generation like myself would recall the United States’ ‘Strategic Defense Initiative’. But SDI I propose today is not the SDI in the Cold War era but a SDI which aims to tackle today’s security issues in the 21st century. I would like all of you who are responsible for the next generation to remember this new SDI. I hope to have understanding and support in this new SDI from both old and new generations.


The Asia-Pacific region has been weaving out success stories, not only in the economic field, but also in the security field, despite a number of challenges we have faced. It is responsibility of every one of us here today, to let these success stories continue. Japan will, in addition to our own efforts and alliance with the U.S., further deepen our cooperation with countries beginning with the ASEAN member states, Australia, India, South Korea, and Europe.

We must not let difference discourage us from having communication and preventing unexpected incidents. Problems do exist; that is precisely why we must continue our communication. Our door for dialogue with other countries does and will always remain open.

I used to serve as Ground Self-Defense Force officer. During that period, I spent every day in harsh training, disciplining myself. For the last 60 years, Japan SDFs have always devoted themselves to undergoing harsh training and developing strength, for the sake of peace. My experience is only a part of that. Japan will, under this strength, fulfill a much greater responsibility for the future of our ‘success story’ in this Asia Pacific region.

For this purpose, we are now working to develop our new legislation for peace and security. We will continue supporting the stationing of U.S. Forces in Japan, support U.S. policy of rebalancing, further deepen our defense cooperation and strengthen our alliance based on the new Guidelines. With the regional countries, based on ‘The Shangri-La Dialogue Initiative’ or SDI I stated earlier, we will cooperate to make a foundation for ‘working together.’ Let me conclude my speech today by restating our promise that Japan is determined to contribute even more actively to global peace and stability under the banner of proactive contribution to peace, based on the principles of international cooperation. Thank you very much. 

New Forms of Security Collaboration in Asia: Ryamizard Ryacudu

Provisional translation

His excellency my distinguished fellow defence minister, honourable participants, colleagues, ladies and gentlemen: First and foremost, I would like to express my sincere gratitude for the kind hospitality, and I feel so privileged to attend this esteemed Shangri-La Dialogue event, subsequently to deliver a perspective on the subject of ‘New Forms of Security Collaboration in Asia’.

I would also like to commend and extend my sincere appreciation to the government of Singapore, especially the Minister of Defence of Singapore for convening this important event. And the topic of my presentation will be on forging the effective collaboration to tackle common factual threats as a realisation of forging new forms of security collaboration in Asia.

By this 2015 the organisation of ASEAN celebrates its forty-eighth anniversary, where the member states have enjoyed a long-standing, strong cooperation since its establishment in 1968. This organisation is established based on genuine friendship, interdependence and respect for equal rights and self-determination of other people. ASEAN has also consistently reflected its strong commitment to support peace and stability in the region. Now ASEAN has evolved from an organisation comprised of friendly member states to be a big brotherly family organisation that exerts the spirit of brotherhood among member states. We keep solving all differences and disputes through dialogue, negotiation, conciliation, arbitration or judicial settlement, as well as the peaceful means of parties’ choice.

The impact of globalisation has prompted more dynamic interstate relations in the geopolitical constellation. The consequences of this development have increased the mutual and common challenges faced by the ASEAN member states. I would like to divide such threat perceptions into to two kinds; the first one is a non-factual threat such as an aggression from other member states, which I consider quite unlikely to happen. While the second one is defined as the factual threats we currently face, such as:

  • Terrorism and radicalism
  • Natural disasters such as floods, earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions and forest fires
  • Pandemic disease; the outbreak of infectious disease such as Ebola
  • Piracy, theft of natural resources
  • Illicit incursion; poaching of natural resources
  • Separatism and insurgency
  • Cyber-attacks and information warfare
  • Smuggling and abuse of narcotics/drugs

The consequences of this geopolitical constellation have increased common interests among nations as a foundation for conducting mutual interaction and cooperation. Therefore an indispensable ideal structure and mechanism of cooperation are needed to tackle these aforementioned factual threats through sharing information and intelligence and interoperability, as well as sharing expertise and experience among member states.

Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, through this esteemed forum, allow me to remind you that the current dynamic international and regional security incidents reflect the advancing of our common factual threats that need to be addressed properly through international cooperation.

We need a robust and concrete international and regional strategy and actions to tackle the development of terrorist threats and radicalism. Indonesia has exercised this strategy by capitalising all of our national resources to support this campaign. We utilise such moderate Islamic organisation as the Nahdatul Ulama and Muhammadyah to socialise true and peaceful religious teachings to all the Muslims in Indonesia. Indonesia also exerts its territorial forces from lower area command to higher command as our ears and eyes to detect any possible threat as early as possible. And I would also advise to the international forces in the Middle East that the interdiction of logistic support the terrorist group is a very important part of weakening their activities. There is no divine religion that teaches and incites violence and the act of killing. ISIS has committed crimes against humanity by killing innocent people. It is imperative that the development of ISIS be stopped and eradicated through collective efforts.

In term of tackling the security situation on the sea, including issues such as piracy and robbery that can impede the sea lanes of global trade a commerce, we need a concerted effort among regional stakeholders in the form of conducting joint coordinated patrols in the Malacca Strait. We cannot afford the situation in the Malacca Strait worsen and reach the level of insecurity now seen in Somalian waters.

The ASEAN community has been forced to take action in assisting the sea surge of Rohingya ‘boat people’ on the shores of ASEAN countries. All the ASEAN leaders need to gather together to address this humanitarian issue through conducting deliberations in ASEAN forums such as ADMM and ADMM+, the same meeting that we conducted in Bagan Myanmar and Langkawi Malaysia.

We are also shocked by another sudden earthquake that hit Nepal killing 7365 people, followed by another earthquake in which 117 people died. The lessons that we can draw from both incidents are the need for a quick and appropriate regional response of trained and expert personnel to provide humanitarian assistance in such catastrophes. We have to reflect our respect for the notion of human rights by displaying compassion and divine action.

Another significant threat out of the aforementioned factual threats is epidemic disease. About 11,020 people perished out of more than 20,000 cases of Ebola all over the world. Most of the victims come from West African countries, not to mention the death of 507 medical personnel from the affected and supporting countries. Indeed, what was so ironic was that the helping parties were also infected. We find it is important for the region to work closely to face these challenges. Indonesia has hosted the International Congress on Military Medicine for these concerned deliberations.

Separatism and insurgency still exist and threaten some countries in the region. In this regard, the need for a non-intervention policy among member states to tackle these issues is becoming more indispensable. As this kind of problem can only suit the concerned country policy based on its own culture and internal understanding.

Cyber-attacks, information warfare and intelligence. Recent devastating incidents such as the attack on the AT&T communication system for two weeks; the theft of Boeing F-35 and F-22 software and programming systems between 2009 and 2013; a cyber-attack on the financial infrastructure of JP Morgan and other relevant cases have raised concerns among us that need international and regional attention.

We also need to strengthen our collaboration to eradicate the flow of illicit trafficking that poses a devastating threat to our beloved young and potential generations.

And next, what do we have to do? It is the natural responsibility of every government to find solutions to these issues. In this regard, we can’t afford to be left behind. Rather, we should think one step ahead of the development and evolution of every threat. ASEAN has used such mechanisms to confront the development of any regional security issues through dialogue, annual defence ministers’ meetings (ADMM and ADMM+) and also other kinds of expert meetings to discuss issues relating to economics, politics and security. The fora of ADMM and ADMM+ have also been acknowledged as ideal and effective role models for addressing international and regional security issues. The ASEAN member states, including Australia and New Zealand, keep their commitment to settle any disputes and differences through dialogue and peaceful means.

In light of the above, a vast new form of security collaboration in Asia is inevitable. The reason why it is important? Because a security incident that hits a nation will at the same time affect other neighbouring countries as well as the international community. For example, the incident in the Malacca Strait will not only necessarily affect Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore, but also will affect the countries in East Asia, Europe, the Middle East and also North America as well as Australia and New Zealand. Another compelling example is the rising threat of ISIS, which has affected the geopolitics and geostrategy of the regional and international communities.

Based on those tenable facts, we need a new form of effective collaboration that improves on what we already have today. It is not about adding more international or regional cooperative organisations; it is beyond that. A new concept, new culture and understanding based on international common values and capabilities are more needed by all the stakeholders, experts and intelligence community in this Asia-Pacific region in order to find effective solutions to address such aforementioned common factual threats. 

Ladies and gentlemen, I feel so honoured and privileged to attend this important and esteemed Shangri-La Dialogue. This forum is very significant in addressing our regional issues. Thus, we need to follow up on the result of this forum through holding more deliberations focusing more on finding solutions to help confront our common factual threats and challenges. This mechanism can also be used as an effective tool to find a compelling solution in the development of South China Sea issues. I believe a joint coordinated patrol for peaceful purposes among stakeholders in the South China Sea is important and indispensable to promote peace and stability in the region.

Ladies and gentlemen, our shared common interest will inevitably create competition, tension but also peaceful consensus. In this regard, through this forum, I believe that respective consensus to tackle our common threat is more important. We have also to be aware that despite any political ups and down in relations between and among countries that sometimes can lead to the involvement of military forces, I would suggest that defence to defence and military to military relations have to remain stable and strong. This relationship can bridge any differences, misunderstandings or disputes for the purpose of reconciliation. Today and ever, military and defence instruments will play a very important role in promoting peace, security and stability in our beloved nations.

Finally, I sincerely hope that the concept of this new form of security collaboration in Asia that I present today can contribute in the process of finding solutions to help tackle any emerging factual threats in this beloved region. I am very confident that through exercising good will; the spirit of sincere brotherly relations and altruism, we can hand-in-hand find effective solutions to mediate our differences and disputes in our region that we hold dear.

I thank you.


New Forms of Security Collaboration in Asia: Rao Inderjit Singh

As Delivered

Namaskar. I would like to begin by congratulating the International Institute for Strategic Studies and the government of Singapore for having organised another successful round of the Shangri-La Dialogue. This annual Dialogue has emerged as a premier forum for exchange of views from strategic thinkers, policymakers and practitioners interested in the Asia-Pacific defence and security issues. I would like to thank the organisers for the excellent arrangements and the warm hospitality that has been extended to my delegation.

This plenary session of the Shangri-La Dialogue is on the theme, ‘New Forms of Security Collaboration in Asia’. This is a timely subject because both parts of this topic are presently seeing changes. By this I mean that, on the one hand, Asia is acquiring a new salience and significance in the world, and on the other, the meaning of security cooperation in today’s world is also changing in varied ways.

Almost everyone now agrees that the twenty-first century will be the Asian century. Effectively, we have seen a gradual return to the historical pattern where Asian economies contributed a major share of the global output. We should welcome this trend, because it is only fitting that Asia, which houses an overwhelming majority of humanity, should also account for a major portion of the world’s economy. The growth of Asia is important not only for the Asian countries; it has implications for overall global prosperity. A rising Asia will also become the principal engine to support and sustain the global economy.

Security threats in this dynamic Asia have not only multiplied, but are acquiring new forms. Even as traditional forms of threat exist, newer threats are emerging that are potentially more disruptive, more complex and dispersed. Countering these requires a collaborative effort of all states in Asia. The case for a strong security architecture for Asia has never been stronger. The question is: are we ready for it as yet? Such an architecture will require innovative forms of international cooperation amongst Asian countries and also between Asian and non‑Asian countries.

Probably the greatest threat to today’s society comes from the growth of terrorism and religious extremism. Terrorists have learnt to make use of new technologies, including the internet, to violently disrupt our lives and economies. Moreover, terrorist networks are often financed through other criminal activities, including narcotic smuggling, which pose a security threat in themselves, making the combination even more dangerous. The threat is highest for open, democratic and pluralistic countries like India, because terrorism and extremism challenge the very fabric and tolerant ethos of our societies.

Countering the scourge of terrorism requires active collaboration between countries for real-time exchange of actionable intelligence, for monitoring and interdicting the financial channels that sustain terror networks, and for preventing the recruitment and training of terrorist recruits. The recent rise of ISIS in West Asia has also shown the need for collaboration between police and immigration authorities of different countries to prevent the travel of foreign terrorist fighters to the theatre of conflict.

Some of the new forms of security collaboration we see today have arisen because we have begun to define our security in a more comprehensive manner than before. New concepts like food security, energy security, water security, information security and security of navigation have emerged in strategic discourse. We have also come to look upon natural disasters and mass epidemics as security threats, as they can often disrupt our lives and societies much more dramatically than even military threats.

These new and holistic conceptions of security have led to new forms of security cooperation between nations. Earlier, countries used to secure themselves from traditional military threats by adopting forms of neutrality or by aligning themselves in mutual defence arrangements with other countries. In our age, we have evolved a new form of security cooperation, one that is based on regular, structured dialogue between different nations rather than on formal alliances. ASEAN in Southeast Asia and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation in Central Asia are examples of this new form of security cooperation.

ASEAN is without doubt the best example of a forum that promotes an environment of shared security in its region through a transparent, open and inclusive dialogue. Not only has it fostered such dialogue amongst its own constituent members, but it has also taken the lead in creating valuable fora in the ASEAN Regional Forum and the East Asia Summit, which provides countries from within and outside the region an opportunity to confer together.

For India, the centrality of ASEAN is an important part of our vision for an open, mutual, inclusive and rules-based security architecture in the Asia-Pacific region, where disputes are resolved through dialogue and diplomacy rather than by unilateral show of force. Over the past two decades, India has rapidly expanded its engagement with the ASEAN, from a sectoral dialogue partner to a full strategic partnership. Recently, we inaugurated a separate diplomatic mission for ASEAN, to underline the importance we attach to this grouping as an economic and strategic entity. We intend to meet the expectations of our friends within ASEAN who want India to play a more proactive role in helping address traditional and non-traditional threats in Southeast Asia and the wider Asia-Pacific region.

For most Asian countries to continue to grow rapidly, they will require assured access to energy resources and other commodities. We must remember that most of the world’s shipping traffic, including energy shipments, traverse Asian waters. The same can increasingly be said of global value chains. Ensuring freedom of navigation in these waters is thus essential for all our security.

For us in India, freedom of navigation on the seas has always been an important one, since our history has been shaped by the constant maritime interflow of goods and people between our coasts and other countries in Asia and Africa. The territory of India includes a coastline of 7,500 kilometres, 1,200 islands and 2.4 million square kilometres of exclusive economic zone. We are determined to build on our maritime traditions to foster security, cooperation, prosperity and safety from nature’s fury for our country, and for all those countries to which we are connected by sea.

India has always opposed the threat of unilateral force to resolve maritime territorial disputes, as this can disrupt normal trade flows, threatening the economic security of all countries that depend on free flow of marine commerce. We always urge all parties to such disputes to abjure military solutions and rely on diplomacy and international maritime law to come to a mutually acceptable outcome.

Freedom of navigation and energy security is also threatened by piracy in crowded sea lanes. Cooperation between countries on exchange of information on white shipping and creation of marine domain awareness has acquired a new salience to prevent such threats at sea.

We in India are creating a robust system of coastal surveillance and monitoring, and are increasingly collaborating with partner countries to share experiences, conduct joint exercises and to exchange information. The joint coastguard Dosti exercise between India, Sri Lanka and Maldives are an excellent example of such collaboration between littoral states. I would like to specifically mention the bilateral naval exercises forum, SIMBEX, we have developed with Singapore, the 15th round of which was just concluded with the participation of an indigenously built stealth frigate and an anti-submarine-warfare corvette from India.

India also took the lead in 2008 to establish the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium. Today, it brings together 35 navies of the region with an aim to enhance mutual understanding of maritime challenges and develop our collective capacity to address these challenges.

Effective coastal surveillance can significantly enhance our ability to protect merchant shipping from piracy and to fight threats like smuggling, poaching and illegal fishing, and trafficking of people. India has created a robust system of coastal surveillance relying on data systems, interceptor boats, and registration and identification of bona fide fishing vessels. We have also collaborated with other countries in the Indian Ocean, like Seychelles and Mauritius, to help build the capabilities for coastal surveillance.

Another increasingly important form of security collaboration between nations is humanitarian assistance and disaster relief. Tsunamis and earthquakes have taken major toll on lives and livelihoods of Asian citizens in recent decades. Similarly, major industrial accidents or oil spills in the ocean can be hugely disruptive, and often require a concerted response from all the countries in the neighbourhood to provide immediate relief and long-term rehabilitation.

Our armed forces increasingly undertake joint exercises to enhance inter-operability amongst themselves while responding to such crises. Enhancing our collective HADR capacity requires advanced countries to share technologies and platforms with countries that are willing to play a positive role in this regard. This can be a force multiplier and enable a stronger coalition to emerge in dealing with natural disasters and maritime threats.

In India, we are gradually strengthening our capacity to respond to such disasters not just in our own territory, but also in other parts of South Asia, in collaboration with our neighbours. Such collaboration was evident in the way we were able to respond when Maldives was faced with a potential drinking-water crisis last year, after its water-treatment plant was destroyed in a fire. Recently, we took the lead in rushing rescue and relief teams to help citizens of Nepal after a devastating earthquake. As far back as 2004, we had worked together with Sri Lanka, Maldives and Indonesia to deliver immediate relief to the coastal areas devastated by the Indian Ocean tsunami. An Indian naval vessel, INS Saryu, has just participated in the week-long ASEAN Regional Forum disaster-relief exercise in Penang, northern Malaysia, in collaboration with the navies of China, Malaysia and Thailand.

Evacuation of nationals trapped in situations of military conflict is another scenario where states need to work together to leverage each other’s strengths and capacities. When we recently evacuated our citizens from the war zone in Yemen, we also pulled out thousands of citizens of other countries. The same was the case in evacuation operations undertaken from Libya, Syria and Iraq.

The increasing penetration and dominance of the internet in our lives has created another potential new threat to our security, and also established a new arena for states to collaborate for mutual security. As our systems for running public transportation, electricity distribution and public-service delivery become more and more dependent on virtual networks, hackers and other mischievous elements acquire the capability to bring our life to a halt through the simple insertion of a line of malicious code into our computer systems. The day-to-day banking systems and corporate finance can also be threatened if there are chinks in our cyber security. Increasingly, the internet and social media are also emerging as tools used by terrorists and extremist groups to motivate, radicalise and recruit vulnerable populations for their destructive purposes. Countering all this requires a high degree of technical competence amongst our law-enforcement agencies, and also the willingness to work together with each other to collectively keep one step ahead of the miscreants. It also requires greater sharing of governance of the internet amongst nations and multiple stakeholders.

Yet another form of non-traditional security threat that Asian countries have to increasingly confront is the result of environmental degradation. Excessive mining or deforestation in one country can often have serious environmental consequences in a neighbour, including floods, droughts, water and air pollution. Once more, countering such threats r