SINGAPORE – The Shangri-La Dialogue, an annual security summit held in Singapore, began on Friday, with tensions between the United States and China weighing heavily on the event.
Top defense officials from both countries are expected to attend the summit, which will run until Sunday.
The summit, which is in its 20th year, usually provides a venue for countries in the Asia-Pacific region to discuss security issues and regional cooperation.
This year, however, the focus is expected to be on the ongoing tensions between the U.S. and China, with both countries vying for influence in the region.
According to The Associated Press, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe are expected to attend the summit, along with other officials from around the world.
The summit’s opening remarks on Friday were delivered by Singapore Defense Minister Ng Eng Hen, who expressed concern over the current state of global affairs.
“The challenges we face today are stark,” he said. “We live in an increasingly complex and uncertain world, where the lines between peace and conflict are blurry.”
He added that economic tensions and disputes over territorial claims in the South China Sea were among the issues that needed to be addressed.
The summit is also expected to address emerging threats, including cyber attacks and terrorism, and to discuss ways to improve regional security cooperation.