AUSTRALIA’s Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is expected to discuss terrorism, North Korea’s missile threat and the South China Sea in his keynote address to the annual Asia Security Summit at the Shangri-La Hotel in Singapore.
In the wake of a string of deadly attacks in Southeast Asia, Turnbull warned on Friday morning of a growing threat from Islamic State fighters not “killed in the field” who might return home to launch attacks on Australian soil, reports The Australian.
As the Philippines military continues to battle the IS-affiliated Maute group in Marawi spurring fears of a developing extremist hub in the region, Turnbull said the threat of extremists is no longer “far away.”
Last week, around the same time as the Marawi siege, neighbouring Indonesia fell victim to a twin suicide bombing in the capital of Jakarta that was later claimed by the Islamic State. That and an earlier bomb attack in Bangkok have further fuelled concerns of extremism taking a foothold in Southeast Asia.
Turnbull will also likely discuss the nuclear weapons threat posed by North Korea, having already joined US President Donald Trump in calling for China to put greater pressure on its neighbouring, reclusive ally.
Some 50 leaders from Asia-Pacific nations are expected to attend the three-day summit in Singapore over the weekend.
On Saturday, the US Secretary of Defence James Matts will provide a “major policy speech,” marking his first public remarks regarding US foreign policy in the Asia-Pacific under the Trump administration.
Other panels during the conference will feature the defence ministers of Australia, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, New Zealand and Canada, as well as the Chairman of Pakistan’s military’s Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee General Zubair Mahmood Hayat.
Shangri-La Summit conferences in recent years have focused on terrorism and the issue of the South China Sea, and have led to some public clashes between defence officials from different nations.
Delighted to meet the ASEAN Committee of Permanent Representatives to discuss the 2018 ASEAN-Australia Special Summit. pic.twitter.com/IOe9wy7Kte
— Malcolm Turnbull (@TurnbullMalcolm) June 1, 2017
Alongside the summit, Turnbull has met with Asean representatives ahead of the inaugural Asean-Australia Special Summit to be held in Sydney in March 2018, which will focus on both trade and defence.
Asean is Australia’s third largest trading partner and the government says the summit will provide “an historic and unprecedented opportunity to strengthen Australia’s strategic partnership with Asean.”
The Australian PM will also meet with his Singaporean counterpart Lee Hsien Loong for the second annual Singapore Australia leaders talks, reported the ABC. Lee reportedly refers to the relationship as “the little red dot and the wide brown.”
Last year, Singapore announced 14,000 additional troops would be stationed in Australia by 2021.