NATO Delegation, European Defence Ministers Attend Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, With Support for Ukraine at Forefront

Kos Temenes
By Kos Temenes
June 6, 2023Worldshare
NATO Delegation, European Defence Ministers Attend Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, With Support for Ukraine at Forefront
NATO Chair of the Military Committee Adm. Rob Bauer holds a closing press conference after a NATO Military Chiefs of Defence Meeting at NATO headquarters in Brussels, Belgium on Jan. 19, 2023. (Omar Havana/Getty Images)

NATO officials and European Defence Ministers attended the Shangri-La Dialogue—Asia’s premier defense summit—in Singapore from June 2 to June 4, where they met with military officials from the Asia-Pacific region with a focus on the Russian-Ukraine war during their talks.

The summit was attended by the chair of the NATO Military Committee, Adm. Rob Bauer, and Assistant Sec.-Gen. for Defence Policy and Planning Angus Lapsley, who met with high-level political and military officials from Australia, Japan, New Zealand, and Singapore.

As part of this, Adm. Bauer met with New Zealand’s Minister of Defence, Andrew James Little, where he reiterated NATO’s pledge to cooperate with like-minded partners such as New Zealand.

Adm. Bauer reportedly asserted the necessity of upholding the international rules-based order as a key element for the alliance’s success. According to Sec.-Gen. Little, this would include continued support for Ukraine in the conflict with Russia.

The NATO officials also discussed such matters with the Japanese Chief of Joint Staff, Gen. Yoshihide Yoshida, and Australian Chief of Defence, Gen. Angus J. Campbell.

“We have common challenges; it only makes sense to work together on common solutions. Australia and Japan can seem a long way from Europe. But we are on the same side when it comes to the values we hold dear and must protect in a significantly changed global security environment,” Adm. Bauer said in a statement.

The NATO officials also met with officials from China, Israel, Pakistan, and Mongolia.

According to NATO, Adm. Bauer sat down with the Deputy Chief of the Joint Staff of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army to emphasize the importance of continued dialogue and military transparency. He reportedly stressed the significance of the military-to-military dialogue to avoid misunderstandings, miscalculations, and misconceptions.

European Delegation

The summit also featured an unusually high attendance by a European delegation, including Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, Ukrainian Defence Minister Oleksiy Reznikov, and U.K. Defence Secretary Ben Wallace.

In addition, German Defence Minister Boris Pistorius, Dutch Defence Minister Kajsa Ollongren, and Sweden’s Defence Minister Pål Jonson were at the summit, according to Politico.

The European delegation aimed at ramping up support for Ukraine after Europe raised concerns that Asian countries are not sufficiently supporting war efforts in Ukraine against Russia.

According to Politico, despite many Asian nations denouncing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine at the onset, countries like India and Vietnam have a continued dependence on Russian military or energy supplies.

Meanwhile, domestic laws prevent countries like Japan and South Korea from supplying Ukraine with lethal aid.

Only a few Asian nations, such as Singapore and Japan, have joined Western efforts in sanctioning Russia.

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