June 10, 2024 Special Dispatch No. 11391

An Overview Of The Shangri-La Dialogue Security Summit

June 10, 2024
China, Philippines | Special Dispatch No. 11391

Below is an overview of the yearly Shangri-La Dialogue Security Summit that this year took place on May 31-June 2 in Singapore:

  • U.S., S. Korea, Japan At The Shangri-La Dialogue Security Summit
  • Chinese Defense Minister Dong Jun and US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin Face-To-Face Meeting
  • Chinese Defense Minister Dong's Speech At The Shangri-La Dialogue
  • Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr's Keynote Speech At The Shangri-La Dialogue

U.S., South Korea, Japan At The Shangri-La Dialogue Security Summit

On May 31 to June 2, 2024, on the sidelines of the annual Shangri-La Dialogue security summit in Singapore, the United States, Japan, and South Korea agreed to hold new trilateral joint exercises in the summer. U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Japanese Defense Minister Minoru Kihara and South Korean Defense Minister Shin Won-sik were "committed to continue to strengthen trilateral cooperation to ensure peace and stability in the Korean Peninsula, the Indo-Pacific, and beyond."[1]

Japanese media outlet Asahi Shimbun stressed that the three also "agreed to establish a Trilateral Security Cooperation Framework this year in an effort to institutionalize their three-way defense cooperation."[2]

Earlier, on May 26-27, the leaders of China, Japan, and South Korea met in Seoul for the Ninth Trilateral Summit, the first gathering at such a level since 2019, marking the resumption of "the long-stalled" trilateral summit.

Korean media outlet Korea Times described the meeting as "disappointing" and stressed that the "high-stakes trilateral summit" "failed to completely mend strained relations between Seoul and Beijing." Also, Japanese media outlet Asahi Shimbun stressed that, at the summit, "differences in approaches on security issues between the Japan-South Korea camp and China became clear."[3]

Defense Minister Minoru Kihara, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and South Korean defense chief Shin Won-sik on sidelines of the Shangri-la Dialogue security conference in Singapore. (Source:

Chinese Defense Minister Dong Jun and US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin Face-To-Face Meeting

On the sidelines of the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, Chinese Defense Minister Dong Jun and U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin had a face-to-face meeting, "marking the first in-person talks between Chinese and US defense chiefs since November 2022."

CCP mouthpiece Global Times stressed: "Dong reiterated China's firm positions on the Taiwan question and the South China Sea issue, with experts saying that China will firmly defend its national sovereignty, territorial integrity and development interests, as well as safeguard peace and stability in the region. The meeting lasted 75 minutes, slightly longer than expected... The meeting was positive, practical and constructive at the strategic level... During the meeting, the two defense leaders exchanged views on the state-to-state and military-to-military relations between China and the US, as well as the Taiwan question, the South China Sea issue, the Ukraine crisis, and the Palestinian-Israeli conflict."[4]

In his speech on June 1, Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin stressed: "I had the opportunity to meet in person for the first time with Minister Dong of the People's Republic of China. We had a frank discussion. And that's important. When we all gathered here last year, I said that the right time for defense leaders to talk is anytime – and every time. So there is no substitute for direct military-to-military talks between senior leaders. And there's no substitute for open lines of communication to avoid misunderstanding and miscalculations. As I've always said, dialogue is not a reward. It's a necessity. And so I look forward to more talks with the PRC."[5]

Chinese Defense Minister Dong Jun (center) walks out after a bilateral meeting with US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin on the sidelines of the 21st Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore on May 31, 2024. (Source: VCG)

Chinese Defense Minister Dong's Speech At The Shangri-La Dialogue

In his speech at a plenary session at the Shangri-La Dialogue, Chinese Defense Minister Dong Jun said: "People in the Asia Pacific are committed to harmony and peace, are independent and self-reliant, and always support each other through thick and thin. We will not allow hegemonism and power politics to undermine the interests of Asia Pacific countries. We will not allow anyone to bring geopolitical conflicts or wars whether hot or cold, into our region. We will not allow any country or any force to create conflict and chaos in our region."

Dong also stressed: "We will take timely and resolute actions to stop 'Taiwan independence,' and make sure their attempts never succeed."[6]

Chinese Defense Minister Dong Jun delivers a speech at the 21st Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore on June 2, 2024. (Source: VCG)

Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.'s Keynote Speech At The Shangri-La Dialogue

As tensions in the South China Sea are increasing due to China's aggressive behavior, on June 1, Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr said in his keynote speech at the Shangri-La address: "The strategic competition between China and the United States is permeating the evolving regional landscape. This rivalry is constraining the strategic choices of regional states. This contest is exacerbating flashpoints and has created new security dilemmas...

"China's determining influence over the security situation and the economic evolution of this region is a permanent fact.

"At the same time, the stabilizing presence of the United States is crucial to regional peace. It's never a choice. Both countries are important.

"The continued stability of this region requires China and the United States to manage that rivalry in a responsible manner.

"Pending the total elimination of nuclear weapons, China and the United States have a unique responsibility to undertake concrete measures to reverse the recent increase in nuclear stockpiles and to alleviate the risks of nuclear conflict...

"Together with our strategic partners Australia and Japan, the Philippines has been seeking to bring Indo-Pacific issues to the fore...

"The Filipino people have a long history of fraternal bonds with the people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait. Peace and stability must prevail. Therefore, we continue to urge all parties to exercise restraint on the issue.

"Lasting peace in the Korean Peninsula, on the other hand, is a collective responsibility of the entire region. The DPRK must comply with all its international obligations under relevant UN Security Council resolutions and commit to constructive and peaceful dialogue with the Republic of Korea.

"Finally, any effort to resolve maritime differences in the East China Sea and the South China Sea must be anchored on international law, particularly UNCLOS, we must accord due regard to the legitimate interest of all parties, and respect legally-settled rights.

"We cannot afford any other future for the South China Sea other than the one envisioned by ASEAN: That of a sea of peace, stability, and prosperity. Unfortunately, this vision remains for now a distant reality. Illegal, coercive, aggressive, and deceptive actions continue to violate our sovereignty, sovereign rights, and jurisdictions.

"Attempts to apply domestic laws and [regulations] beyond one's territory and jurisdiction violate international law, exacerbate tensions, and undermine regional peace and security.

"But despite all these, the Philippines remains committed to the cause of peace, upon which our constitutional order is premised."[7]

China strongly criticized the Philippine president's speech, stating that Marcos' remarks concerning the South China Sea Issue "disregard history and facts, and are designed to amplify the Philippines' wrongful position on the issues and deliberately distort and hype up the maritime situation."[8]

Commenting on the Shangri-La meeting, renowned Filipino academic Richard Javad Heydarian wrote in Asia Times: "China has also upped the ante in the South China Sea against the Philippines, a US mutual defense treaty ally. Chinese maritime forces have clashed with Filipino patrol and resupply vessels close to the Second Thomas Shoal and Scarborough Shoal on at least five occasions in recent months, leading to the injury of several Filipino servicemen and major damage to multiple Philippine vessels.

"During his question and answer with media at the Shangri-La Dialogue, Marcos Jr made it clear that the death of a Filipino coast guard or naval servicemen would cross a 'red line.' 'If a Filipino citizen was killed by a willful act, that is very close to what we define as an act of war. We would have crossed the Rubicon. Is that a red line? Almost certainly.' On multiple occasions, the Biden administration has signaled its 'ironclad support' for the Philippines and, accordingly, said that the 1951 US-Philippine Mutual Defense Treaty would apply in the event of an armed attack on Philippine public vessels and troops in the South China Sea, raising the prospect of great power conflict over the disputed land features."[9]



[1], June 3, 2024.

[2], June 3, 2024.

[4], May 31, 2024.

[5], June 1, 2024.

[6], June 02, 2024.

[7], June 1, 2024.

[8], June 3, 2024.

[9], June 1, 2024.

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