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Religious extremism should be on agenda at upcoming Shangri-La Dialogue

(Xinhua)    18:42, January 26, 2015

SINGAPORE, Jan. 26 -- The upcoming Shangri-La Dialogue (SLD) should focus on four key themes, including the threat of religious extremism, dynamics between major powers, political instability in Asian countries, and trans-national challenges arising from disasters and cybersecurity threats, Singapore's defense minister said on Monday.

Ng Eng Hen made such remarks when he was giving a keynote address at the third International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) Fullerton Forum: The Shangri-La Dialogue Sherpa Meeting at the Fullerton Hotel.

Highlighting the important role SLD has played in the Asia- Pacific region in the previous years, Ng said the upcoming 2015 dialogue should pay attention to new themes, such as the threat of religious extremism. He cited the latest incidents such as the Sydney cafe siege and the deadly Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris.

"The central issue is the evolution of political Islam and its impact on regional and global stability." Ng said, adding that the integration of multi-racial and multi-religious communities could be further stressed when their indigenous communities are subjected to external forces.

Apart from terrorism, Ng also highlighted the dynamics between large powers such as the United States, China and Japan, saying that there have been positive measures by the U.S. and China to expand cooperation during the Beijing APEC summit and other important meetings.

Political stability and trans-national challenges that arise from disasters and cybersecurity are other themes that should be put on agenda, Ng noted. "The damaging effects of Typhoon Hagupit were mitigated and the search for missing AirAsia flight QZ8501 found quick resolution, in part due to the rapid response from collective efforts."

Looking ahead, Ng called on the forum to focus on optimizing multilateral platforms to improve regional security, implementing practical measures that would deliver concrete outcomes, and building real capacity to respond to challenges quickly and effectively.

"In today's interdependent world, it is crucial for us to recognize that regional peace and stability depend on the collective will, and indeed the collective efforts, of nations to address the security challenges facing our region."

Organized by the IISS, the Sherpa Meeting strengthens the Shangri-La Dialogue by providing an inter-sessional platform for delegates to engage in frank discussions on defense and security issues. Widely recognized as Asia-Pacific's foremost defense and security summit, the Shangri-La Dialogue brings together defense ministers, senior officials and security experts to exchange views on key issues that shape the defense and security landscape of the region.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Editor:Kong Defang,Bianji)

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