US Defence Secy to attend talks with S. Korean, Japanese counterparts in Singapore

Washington, May 25 (IANS) US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin will attend a trilateral meeting with his South Korean and Japanese counterparts on the margins of an annual security forum in Singapore slated to begin next week, the Pentagon has said.

Austin will attend the Shangri-La Dialogue set to take place from May 31-June 2, during which he will join the three-way meeting with the Asian allies, and bilateral meetings with China’s Minister of National Defense Adm. Dong Jun and other counterparts, Yonhap news agency reported, citing the Department of Defense.

His trip comes as tensions persisted in the region over China’s military exercises encircling Taiwan this week and apparent signs of North Korea preparing to launch another military reconnaissance satellite, as well as Russia’s prolonged war in Ukraine.

At the security forum, Austin plans to deliver plenary remarks. He is also set to meet Singapore’s new Prime Minister Lawrence Wong and other senior Singaporean officials and convene a multilateral meeting with his counterparts from Southeast Asia, according to the department.

“Secretary Austin’s tenth trip to the Indo-Pacific comes as the Department of Defense continues to strengthen US relationships with allies and partners in support of a shared regional vision for peace, stability, and deterrence,” the department said in a release on Friday.

In Cambodia, the secretary will meet with senior officials following his 2022 visit to Phnom Penh for a regional gathering of defence ministers.

Austin will conclude his trip in France, where he will mark the 80th anniversary of the Normandy landings in 1944 during World War II.



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