The Shangri-La Dialogue is a forum for government ministers and senior officials, as well as business leaders and security experts, to discuss Asia’s evolving security challenges. The context of the 19th Shangri-La Dialogue was held in the geopolitical competition between China and the United States. The SLD was based on the Munich Security Policy Conference, and the point of divergence was the creation of a Track One organization. Initially, an invitation was issued to ASEAN member states to act as a regional security system.
After a two-year hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic, discussions resumed in Singapore in 2022, attracting more than 500 official representatives from 59 countries. The Shangri-La Dialogue 2022 (organized by SLD22) was a success in itself as it demonstrated the region’s confidence and determination to resume business after a two-year hiatus due to Covid-19. Many Asian thinkers extrapolated the summit as a struggle between “rule of law” and “major power” as it restarted under the specter of the war in Ukraine. The debate shows that the outcome of the geopolitical struggle between the United States and China will have a major impact on Asia’s future by providing a much-needed sketch and update of military dynamics in the region. Maintaining the rules-based order, China’s interests, Asia’s future and regional cooperation have emerged as three key issues for the dialogue.
Rebalancing Asia and the Americas
Pandemics, climate change, the nuclear threat from North Korea, the coercion of a stronger government on its smaller neighbors, and the brutality and murder of Myanmar’s military junta are just some of the problems facing the region. The platform could be the best platform for de-escalating points of conflict between the United States and China, bringing together defense leaders, diplomats, strategic thinkers, journalists and business leaders from both countries to discuss the most pressing challenges to regional security and prosperity. But the dialogue saw the competitive mentality of the representatives of the two countries. Serious divisions have also emerged between the US alliance – Japan, Australia, the UK, the Netherlands and China. The concept of Indo-Pacific is mainly discussed in the dialogue. At the first plenary session, the U.S. Secretary of Defense delivered a speech titled “Next Steps in U.S. Indo-Pacific Strategy.” In his speech, he made clear references to how the United States is supporting the region in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as Asian partners’ commitment to a “free, inclusive and rules-based Indo-Pacific.” The defense secretary highlighted the region’s largest budget for 2023 under a Biden administration. Nearly 300,000 U.S. military personnel are stationed in the region, and the U.S. Pacific Deterrence Program costs nearly $6.1 billion to enhance multilateral information sharing and support training and testing with regional partners.
On the other hand, at the Fifth Plenary Session, State Councilor and Defense Minister Wei Fenghe of the People’s Republic of China delivered a speech titled “China’s Vision for Regional Order”. He mentioned four points about China’s belief in a multipolar regional system. oneAll countries should strengthen solidarity and cooperation and oppose confrontation and division. secondWorld affairs should not be controlled by one country or a few countries, but should be managed through consultation by all parties involved. thirdall countries should uphold the sovereign equality of all countries, say no to bullying, and join forces with each other. fourthCountries should promote exchanges and mutual learning, and oppose the practice of closing doors and excluding others.
It is well known that the great powers are engaging in geostrategic competition in Asia. During the dialogue, the US and its SLD22 partners Japan, Australia, the UK and the Netherlands accused China of “unilateral attempts to change the status quo” and its “more coercive and aggressive approach to its territorial claims”. China’s defense minister accused the United States of trying to “hijack” the support of Asia-Pacific countries to turn them against Beijing, claiming that Washington is pursuing its own interests “under the guise of multilateralism.”
New ideas for developing regional security
The beneficial purpose of the Shangri-La Dialogue is to allow leaders in the Asia-Pacific region to talk to each other and build personal connections that help counter regional hostility, and the dialogue helps to find a better idea of regional security. In an interconnected world, tensions between Russia and the West over Ukraine directly affect regional security in Asia. Many leaders see the conflict as a new Cold War, a struggle between two ideologies. Since then, speakers of the conversation have vividly made several key points.
first, Asia is a diverse and diverse region, and a battle is unlikely to attract many players. Asia has its own disputes that differ from those of the West, including differences in the East and South China Seas, tensions across the Taiwan Strait, instability on the Korean Peninsula, and conflicts on the borders between China and India and India and Pakistan. There is no conflict based on ideology; despotism versus democracy. second, The multilateral liberal internationalist system proudly embraced the collective security, economic openness, and social progress of the post-World War II era. But now the region faces common and transboundary threats that require a new concept of regional security and a multilateral system of cooperation through ASEAN, the United Nations, BIMSTEC and APEC. In his statement, the representative of Malaysia rightly referred to the new idea of prioritizing small countries and small groups. He shared the example of the Trilateral Cooperation Agreement (TCA), established by Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines in response to a wave of kidnappings and terrorist attacks by militant groups in mid-2016. An important part of the national defense strategy is security reform and cooperation. From this perspective, the benefits of small groups help to understand the importance of the great power system in international security affairs.
Military Modernization and New Defense Capabilities
The global and regional security situation is more unstable, uncertain, complex and ambiguous. As a result, defense and security agencies are forced to keep up with global trends, which are reflected in the dynamics of their security environments, such as in the Pacific. Asia is currently embroiled in an arms race, and at the summit there was little disguise about the formation and tightening of alliances. In the region, although China’s weapons and military budget can be seen, other countries in the region are also expanding their military and defense budgets. While the modernization of military and defense systems is costly to the region, modernization is taking place in a more specific context in the Asia-Pacific region, where major powers are in geopolitical conflict with each other. South Korean Defense Minister Lee Jong-sub told the Singapore conference that South Korea will strengthen its defense capabilities and work closely with the United States and Japan to jointly address North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats. With the modernization of technology and the sharing of information and intelligence among countries, the concepts of mutual respect, non-interference, harmony and unity should also contribute to maintaining regional peace, stability and prosperity.
problem that should be solved
The war in Ukraine changed the political climate in Asia. Politically, the Ukrainian war has caused rifts in Asia. Japan and South Korea worry about China and, unsurprisingly, join the US in condemning Russia. Japan has partnered with the United States and the G7 to impose sanctions on Russian financial institutions. In addition to a $300 million financial and humanitarian aid package, Japan has provided Ukraine with drones, body armor, helmets and other defense supplies. On the other hand, North Korea recognized the independence of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR) on July 13, 2022. Participate in Asia through ASEAN, QUAD and IPEF. In 2020, the U.S. government approved the sale to Taiwan of 100 Boeing-made Harpoon coastal defense systems, three weapons systems consisting of missiles, sensors and artillery, and four advanced aerial drones.
In SLD-2022, we saw a direct split in world leaders. The balance of economic power is shifting relentlessly toward the Asia-Pacific region, which accounts for 60 percent of people’s lives. The Asia-Pacific region faces the same security challenges as other regions. The ongoing conflict in Ukraine has highlighted several challenges it shares with Europe, from managing regional security hotspots to maintaining a rules-based order. Affected by the epidemic, the annual meeting is held in Singapore for the first time since 2019, usually focusing on US-China relations, but this year Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has become the focus. SLD is also known as Asia’s Security Dialogue. The dialogue provides an open platform for discussing government policies that will lead to the light of convergence between Asia and the West.