Singapore (ANTARA News) - Indonesian Defence Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro and Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung delivered speeches at a three-day military gathering held here from Friday to Sunday to address pressing geopolitical challenges in the region.

Along with the Indonesian minister attending the 12th IISS Asia Security Summit, or the Shangri-La Dialogue, are senior military officers and top defence analysts from 31 countries in the Asia-Pacific region, North America and Europe.

The summit is held when there have been pressing geopolitical challenges in the Asia-Pacific region, including North Korea`s nuclear-weapons programme, ongoing tension over the South China Sea and territorial disputes between China and Japan.

It is therefore encouraging that senior defence officials have made time in their busy schedules to attend the Dialogue.

Convened by the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), the Shangri-La Dialogue is a key forum for the discussion and analysis of defence and security issues in the region and beyond.

During this year`s Dialogue, lasting from May 31 to June 2, delegates from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) members, China, the US, Russia, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Australia, New Zealand, France, Germany, the UK, Canada and others will participate in five plenary sessions.

They will discuss the US approach to regional security; defending national interests and preventing conflicts; military modernization and strategic transparency; new trends in Asia-Pacific security; and advancing defence cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region.

Minister Purnomo will be a speaker in the third plenary session on Saturday along with Minister for Defence Stephen Smith of Australia and Secretary of State for Defence Philip Hammond of UK.

Delegates also join in special session discussions on avoiding incidents at sea; the Afghan draw-down and regional security; missile defence and the Asia-Pacific; new military technologies and doctrines; defence diplomacy and conflict prevention; and the cyber dimension to Asian security.

Bilateral meetings will be also held on the sidelines of the dialogue.

Vietnamese Ambassador to Singapore, Tran Hai Hau told Vietnam News Agency recently that "Host Singapore and the organizing board`s inviting Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung to deliver the keynote opening dinner address at the Dialogue reflects their appreciation of Vietnam`s role towards regional security."

The Ambassador noted, Prime Minister`s acceptance to attend 2013 Dialogue served as a reflection of Vietnam`s foreign policy of activeness and responsibility towards peace, stability, security and cooperation in the region as well as towards building the ASEAN community by year 2015.

Vietnamese Prime Minister`s participation is significant to joint efforts by ASEAN to maintain peace and security in the East Sea, especially at the time when all ASEAN member countries are unanimous on early launch of negotiations with China on the Code of Conduct in the East Sea , the diplomat added.

Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung is scheduled to deliver a keynote speech at the Dialogue on Friday evening.

Dr John Chipman, Director-General and Chief Executive of the IISS, said, "The Summit is now recognised as an indispensable element of the Asia-Pacific`s regional security architecture. This year, as ever, it will provide a crucial space where ministers and key officials can discuss security policy issues present and future."

The IISS said in its statement that Vietnamese Prime Minister`s participation indicates the crucial role the Dialogue plays in inter-governmental discussions about defence and security in the Asia-Pacific region.

"We are delighted that Prime Minster Nguyen Tan Dung will be speaking at the Shangri-La Dialogue. His participation and the perspective of Vietnam on current defence issues and conflict resolution opportunities will add significant weight to the crucial discussions about regional security which will take place there," Dr Chipman said.

Initiated by the IISS, the annual Shangri La Dialogue was first held in 2002. It is a venue for leaders, policymakers and scholars across the Asia-Pacific region to discuss regional and global situations, strategic orientations for regional security, and measures to promote defence cooperation and enhance mutual understanding and trust.

Prime Minister Dung will be the fifth head of government/state other than Singapore to make the keynote speech at the summit, following Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd at Shangri-La Dialogue 2009, RoK President Lee Myung-bak in 2010, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak in 2011 and Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono last year.

The Indonesian leader was joined by a host of defence ministers including US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, Russian vice`s premier in charge of defence, Dmitry Rogozin, and Singapore`s Defence Minister Dr Ng Eng Hen.

Indonesia as a G20 country and this year hosts the APEC summit has given its perspective to set the stage for a very special debate on regional security trends at last year`s Shangri-La Dialogue.

And now Vietnam with its economic and political development affirms the position, role and proactive contributions in ensuring regional and international peace, security, cooperation and development

Hanoi also calls for countries to strengthen bilateral and multilateral dialogue mechanism with a view to building trust, improving understanding for peaceful resolution of disputes on the basic of respecting other countries` independence, sovereignty and comply with international law.

Reporter: Mohammad Anthoni
Editor: Aditia Maruli Radja
Copyright © ANTARA 2013