Singapore reaffirmed its bilateral relations with France, Germany, Italy and the UK when Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen, who is in Germany from Feb 6 to 8, 2015, met with his European counterparts - French Minister of Defence and Veterans Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian, German Minister of Defence Dr Ursula von der Leyen, Italian Minister of Defence Roberta Pinotti, and UK Secretary of State for Defence Michael Fallon.
Dr Ng is in Munich to attend the 51st Munich Security Conference (MSC), where he spoke on the topic "Pacific Geopolitics: Reaping Promises and Avoiding Perils" as part of a panel discussion with four other speakers: Chinese Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Liu Zhen Min, Japanese Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Minoru Kiuchi, Korean Chairman of the National Defence Committee, National Assembly Jin Ha Hwang and Chief Executive Officer of the Center for a New American Security and Former US Under Secretary of Defence for Policy Michèle Flournoy.
The MSC is an annual high-level security conference that brings together foreign affairs and defence leaders from around the world.
Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen during a panel discussion during the 51st Munich Security Conference.
Dr Ng stressed the need for the region to work collectively to avoid perils in the Asia-Pacific security landscape, citing increasing military spending as well as the lack of a well-developed security architecture and strong collective will to protect the global commons as examples. At the same time, Dr Ng highlighted reasons for optimism, such as Asia's fundamental pragmatism, multiple stakeholders in the region, and the rise of the Asian middle class.
Dr Ng and his French counterpart Mr Le Drian reaffirmed both countries' commitment to increasing bilateral defence cooperation, underpinned by the Republic of Singapore Air Force's Advanced Jet Training in France. They also discussed security and political developments of mutual interest.
During the bilateral meeting with Dr von der Leyen, both sides reaffirmed the strong bilateral defence relations between Singapore and Germany. Dr Ng also conveyed Singapore's appreciation for Germany's support for the Singapore Armed Forces' armour training in Germany. They also discussed political and security developments in Europe and Asia.
In his meeting with Ms Pinotti, both Defence Ministers noted the warm and growing defence relations between Singapore and Italy, and exchanged views on security developments and bilateral defence cooperation.
Dr Ng and Mr Fallon reaffirmed the long-standing defence relationship, underscored by a wide range of interactions between the defence establishments of Singapore and the United Kingdom. They also affirmed the importance of the Five Power Defence Arrangements in contributing to strong bilateral relations. Both sides also exchanged views on security issues of mutual interest.
Dr Ng will be addressing the 7th Munich Young Leaders Round Table on "Security Challenges for a New Generation", before wrapping up his official visit to Germany later today.
The Munich Young Leaders Round Table, held on the sidelines of MSC, brings together young leaders from governments, think-tanks and the private sector from the US, Europe, the Middle-East as well as selected Asia-Pacific countries to discuss issues related to foreign and security policy.