U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin will be visiting Singapore as part of an Indo-Pacific region official trip, according to a statement by the U.S. Department of Defense on May 25, 2023.
This will be his third visit to Singapore. His first visit was during an introductory trip to the region in July 2021, a few months after he took office.
Austin will travel to Singapore to deliver plenary remarks at the 20th Shangri-La Dialogue, a top security forum organised by the International Institute of Strategic Studies (IISS).
The dialogue, where defence officials from various countries meet to discuss regional security at a neutral venue, will be held from Jun. 2 to Jun. 4, 2023.
The statement said that Austin would meet with "key leaders" on the margins of the dialogue to “advance U.S. defence partnerships across the region” in support of a "shared vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific, anchored in ASEAN centrality".
Meeting with China’s defence chief?
Whether Austin will meet with China’s national defence minister Li Shangfu in Singapore remains a question.
It was previously reported that the duo might not meet each other.
This came after China called on the U.S. to lift sanctions on Li ahead of the dialogue.
The U.S. sanctioned Li over the purchase of military aircraft and equipment from Russia.
Before visiting Singapore, Austin will first head to Tokyo to meet with senior Japanese defence officials and visit American troops stationed there.
After his stop in Singapore, Austin will travel to New Delhi, which the U.S. Department of Defense saying the visit "provides an opportunity" to push for new areas of cooperation and to "drive ongoing efforts" between the two countries.
He will then conclude his trip in France to commemorate the 79th anniversary of D-Day (Jun. 6, 1944), where he will meet with defence leaders from France and the United Kingdom.
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Top image via Getty Images - Drew Angerer