The European Union's head of foreign and security policy, Josep Borrell, was forced to cancel attendance at the Shangri-La Dialogue defense summit in Singapore this weekend, after testing positive for COVID-19.
Even though the European Union at the event wanted to show its partners in the region, that the EU-ASEAN partnership and security cooperation would not be disturbed even though Europe was busy with the war in Ukraine.
Reported from the DW Indonesia page, Saturday (11/6/2022), the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore is the most prestigious defense summit in Asia which is held annually by the think tank International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) and this year it will take place 10-12 June.
Keynote addresses will be delivered by China's defense minister, Wei Fenghe, US defense minister, Lloyd Austin, and Japanese Prime Minister, Kishida Fumio. France, Germany and the UK are also expected to send high-level delegations.
The European Union had hoped to introduce its contribution to security in the Asia-Pacific. On June 12, a plenary session will be held with the theme "Joint Challenges for Defense of the Asia-Pacific and Europe."
Last September, the European Union released its Cooperation in the Asia-Pacific strategy paper and emphatically stated it "intends to increase its engagement with the region." Maritime conflicts, cybersecurity and counterterrorism are the three main areas of priority, said Nicola Leveringhaus, East Asia security specialist in the Department of War Studies at King's College London.
Last February, the German frigate Bayern had just returned home after a seven-month deployment in the Asia-Pacific, tasked with conducting operations to support freedom of navigation and joint exercises with the navies of Australia, Singapore, Japan and the US. France and Britain have previously deployed naval vessels to the region in recent years.
The European Union and Japan in October last year held joint naval exercises off the coasts of the Gulf of Aden and the Arabian Sea. At the EU-Japan summit last month, the two sides pledged to "further enhance already close consultations on security and defense."
"Asia-Pacific security is also very important for the European Union because of its links to China and the United States," said Nicola Leveringhaus. "The polarization of the US-China geopolitical rivalry in the region complicates the security challenges there and their consequences for the European Union and its member states," he added