Shangri-La Dialogue: Opening Remarks by John Chipman, Director-General and Chief Executive of the International Institute for Strategic Studies.
Dr. John Chipman
Dr. John Chipman is the Director-General and Chief Executive at The International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) in London, England.
Francois Heisbourg is Chairman of The International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) and of the Geneva Centre for Security Policy (Special Advisor, Fondation pour la Recherche Strategique, Paris).
Welcome to the Opening Dinner for the Sixth IISS Asia Security Summit.We are proud that again, at this year's Shangri-La Dialogue, we will behosting the largest ever gathering of defence and security officials from theparticipating countries, with more defence and foreign ministers, chiefs ofdefence staff, permanent secretaries of ministries of defence and foreignaffairs, intelligence officials and other security professionals with a stake inthe future of Asia-Pacific Security than before.In particular we are delighted to welcome three countries who are makingtheir inaugural appearance: Germany, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh who arerepresented here at minister and vice ministerial level. I should also like torecord the fact that the People's Republic of China is represented here forZhang Qinsheng, Deputy Chief of Staff of the PLA. We know that he bringsthe best wishes for this event from the senior Chinese leadership. Similarly,we note the presence amongst us of Lieutenant General Nguyen Duc Soat,Deputy Chief of the General Staff, leading the delegation from Vietnam.The IISS, our host country and the other states participating in this annualexercise in multilateral defence diplomacy welcome you all to thisgathering. We look forward to many more years of growing collaboration inthe service of trans-regional dialogue on Asia-Pacific Security.The institutionalisation of the Shangri-La Dialogue was strengthened inOctober 2006 when the IISS and the Ministry of Defence of theGovernment of Singapore signed a new agreement that permits andfacilitates the holding of the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore through to2011 when we look forward to celebrating the tenth anniversary of thissummit. To deepen our relations with all our friends in the Asia Pacific weare building up our IISS-Asia office in Singapore and our new ExecutiveDirector of that office Dr Tim Huxley will be travelling throughout the regionto learn how the IISS can conduct research and run events of interest tothe countries participating in this Dialogue.The success of this format has inspired us to transfer this IISS practice ofconvening the national security establishments of regional states withinterested outside powers to other areas, and in particular, the Gulf. InFebruary of this year the IISS signed an agreement with the Kingdom ofBahrain to continue the Manama Dialogue that we began three years agoin 2004, securing host nation support also through to 2011. I have pleasurein recognising in the room tonight Sheikh Ahmed bin Khalifa al Khalifa,Secretary General of the Supreme Defence Council in Bahrain, andrepresentative of His Majesty King Hamad, to thank him for his support to our efforts.Here is Asia, since the Shangri La Dialogue last met, there have beenmany regional defence and security developments worth assessing andbuilding on at this meeting.In November 2006, Indonesia and Australia signed an Agreement on theFramework for Security Cooperation, which effectively replaced the earlierbilateral Agreement on Maintaining Security, which had lapsed in 1999. InMarch 2007, the Australia-Japan Security Agreement committed the UnitedStates' two most important allies in the region to cooperate on counterterrorism, maritime security, border protection and disaster relief. Also inMarch, Singapore and the United States which already maintainedexceptionally close defence and security ties signed a Science andTechnology Agreement on Homeland Security. In April, Singapore andIndonesia signed a Defence Cooperation Agreement (DCA), under whichthe Singapore Armed Forces would be allowed to resume use ofIndonesian training facilities after a hiatus since 2003. This week Australiaand the Philippines agreed to sign a security agreement that wouldfacilitate training arrangements. At the same time, there have beenindications of intensifying multilateral security cooperation, notably in themaritime sphere: the ReCAAP (Regional Cooperation Agreement againstPiracy) Information Sharing Centre became operational in Singapore inNovember 2006, and the Western Pacific Naval Symposium staged itsSecond Multilateral Sea Exercise, using Singapore as a base, in May.The resumption of Six Party Talks offers some hope of a process survivingfor the denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula. The strengthening of theEast Asia Summit shows that the multilateral spirit remains strong in theregion, strong enough that Americans and Europeans are askingthemselves how they might connect themselves, even at one remove, tothat diplomatic instrument. India is showing renewed interest in widersecurity co-operation and China too, is displaying a more extrovertapproach to its foreign and security policies.All these and more issues will be discussed both publicly and moreprivately among delegation leaders at this year's summit. The IISS wouldlike to thank the Government of Singapore for their support to this effort,and also to pay tribute to our sponsors: BAE Systems, Boeing, EADS, theMacArthur Foundation, Northrop Grumman, Autonomy, KeppelCorporation, Mitsubishi Corporation, ST Engineering, The Asahi Shimbun,the S Rajaratnam School of International Studies, and for tonight's dinner,Bain and Company.Our special guest at this evening's Opening Dinner is in the best possibleposition to develop some of the international security and defence themesthat will be the subject of both public and private discussion at this year'sShangri-La Dialogue. To introduce him, I should like to invite to the podiumthe Chairman of the IISS, Professor Francois Heisbourg. Thank you very much.