The 12th IISS Asia Security Summit (Shangri-La Dialogue) and Bilateral Talks

The IISS Asia Security Summit (Shangri-La Dialogue) organized by the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS: United Kingdom) was established in order to launch a regional security framework. Every year, many defense ministers among others from the Asia Pacific region gather for this inter-governmental forum and discuss regional issues and defense cooperation, among other topics.

This year, the 12th Summit was convened between May 31 and June 2. Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera gave a speech at the Summit, held bilateral talks as well as Japan–U.S.–South Korea Defense Ministers Meeting and Japan–U.S.–Australia Defense Ministers Meeting.

Mr. Onodera paid a courtesy call on the Prime Minister of Singapore and had individual meetings with the defense ministers of Australia, Indonesia, Singapore, the U.K. and France. Each of these talks involved discussions on defense cooperation and the regional situation.

Mr. Onodera gave a speech at the Summit titled “Defending National Interests; Preventing Conflict”. In response to audience questions after his speech, Mr. Onodera further explained about the regional situation involving China and North Korea and about Japan’s defense policy.

Defending National Interests; Preventing Conflict

I would like to talk about “conflict prevention,” which is the theme of this session.

As we all knows, in the Asia-Pacific region, there exists many issues among countries over resources and territories, some of which could easily escalate into a military conflict. It is important to take those issues and tensions and embed them into the mesh of institutions and rules and to create global order where a crisis can be avoided not by violence, but through dialogue.

In order to avoid any escalation of any situation, Japan will continue to take a refrained response.

At the same time, Japan strongly hopes, and is making every effort to avoid and to prevent unexpected contingences.

Specifically, we believe that it is important to cooperate with surrounding countries toward the establishment of crisis-management measures, such as a Maritime Coordination Mechanism, at the earliest possible timing. Increasing predictability in a crisis situation can prevent the occurrence of an accidental contingency. Japan hopes to establish such a crisis-management mechanism at the earliest possible timing. We wish the outcome of our constructive effort with our surrounding countries may one day serve as an international model for conflict prevention.

North Korea’s nuclear weapons and missile program is a serious threat that undermine the peace and security of the international community and it is absolutely unacceptable. Japan, in close coordination with the United States and South Korea, strongly calls on North Korea to comply with the obligations pursuant to relevant United Nations Security Council Resolutions (UNSCR), and to halt acts of provocations, and to take concrete actions towards denuclearization.

Furthermore, North Korea’s abduction of Japanese citizens is a matter of grave concern that poses a threat to Japan’s sovereignty and the lives and security of the Japanese people. It is also a clear violation of fundamental human rights, which is a universal issue for the international community. We appreciate each country’s understanding and support toward the complete resolution of this issue.

Japan–U.S.–South Korea Defense Ministers Meeting (U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and South Korean Minister of Defense Kim Kwan-jin)

They discussed regional matters including North Korean issues as well as trilateral defense cooperation, with the results of this meeting released in a joint statement. The three ministers concurred that North Korea’s continued provocations pose a serious threat to regional and world security and demanded that North Korea comply with its obligations under U.N. Security Council resolutions, including that it abandon its nuclear development programs. Japan, the U.S. and South Korea also agreed to expand their defense cooperation.

Japan–U.S.–Australia Defense Ministers Meeting (U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Australian Minister for Defence Stephen Smith)

Japan–U.S.–Australia Ministers Meeting
Japan–U.S.–Australia Ministers Meeting

The joint statement issued after the meeting emphasized that they agreed to set shared strategic goals, such as the promotion of conflict resolution under international law, the strengthening of each nation’s capacity regional challenges including the provision of humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, and promotion of maritime security.

Meeting with Australian Minister for Defence Stephen Smith

Both parties exchanged views on Japan–Australia defense cooperation. In addition to high level and working level talks, both ministers welcomed the wide range of actual cooperation taking place, such as cooperation in UNMISS, and agreed to develop more defense exchange and cooperation at each level going forward.

Meeting with U.K. Secretary of State for Defence Philip Hammond

Both parties discussed Japan–U.K. defense exchanges and cooperation as well as the regional situation in advance to the G8 Summit held in the U.K. They agreed to further develop bilateral defense cooperation as well as cooperate in the fields of information sharing on the regional situation and unit affiliation.

Courtesy call on Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong

Mr. Onodera expressed his appreciation for Singapore’s great contributions to regional security as the host country for the Shangri-La Dialogue.

Meeting with Singapore Defence Minister Dr. Ng Eng Hen

Mr. Onodera expressed his gratitude for the efforts of Singapore Ministry of Defense in hosting the Shangri-La Dialogue. They exchanged views on the regional situation and the multilateral cooperation in the field of security.

Meeting with French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian

Both parties discussed Japan–France defense exchanges and cooperation as well as the regional situation in advance to the Japan–France Summit Meeting. They agreed that discussions will further continue in each field of Japan–France defense exchanges.

Meeting with Indonesian Defence Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro

Both parties agreed to make efforts toward signing the Japan–Indonesia Defense Cooperation Memorandum of Understanding at an earliest date possible. They also agreed to advance bilateral and multilateral cooperation in the field of defense based on strategic partnerships approved at the Japan–Indonesia Summit Meeting.

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