Annual S'pore defence summit cancelled over Covid 'uncertainty'

An upcoming annual meeting of Defence Ministers and security officials in Singapore has been cancelled for the second year in a row due to "uncertainty" over the Covid-19 pandemic, organisers said on Thursday.
Annual S'pore defence summit cancelled over Covid 'uncertainty'
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The International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), a London-based think tank, said that holding an in-person Shangri-la Dialogue "has become inviable" due uncertainty caused by "the deteriorating global Covid-19 situation", reports dpa news agency.
The dialogue was to take place on June 4-5, with "a wide range of Defence Ministers, senior officials, corporate leaders and influential strategists from Asia, North America, the Middle East and Europe" set to attend.
Among the speakers was US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin, on his first official visit to South-East Asia.
In recent years the event, which was usually attended by Defence Ministers from the UK, France and Germany, saw Chinese and US officials spar verbally over the South China Sea and Taiwan.
Singapore has seen a slight uptick in coronavirus case numbers in recent weeks, prompting the reintroduction of some restrictions.
Forty-one new cases were reported by the Health Ministry on Thursday.
"In Singapore there has been a rise in local cases, recently introduced new restrictions, and the prospect of further tightening cannot be ruled out, all of which creates uncertainty," the IISS said.
Singapore's Defence Ministry said that although the cancellation was "regretful", it was "the responsible course".
The cancellation comes after the World Economic Forum said on Monday that its annual meeting, which earlier had been moved from Davos to Singapore, would not be going ahead in August as scheduled.

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