On June 5, 2016 the German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF), in partnership with the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), convened a high-level seminar following the conclusion of the 2016 Shangri-La Dialogue. This third iteration brought together 65 senior delegates from Asia, Europe, and the U.S. for a two hour discussion aimed at deepen the transatlantic – and particularly European – dimension of the debate on security issues in the Asia Pacific.
This year the discussion touched on key takeaways from the main conference: The intensifying US-China strategic competition and the choices this will impose particularly on America’s European allies; the robust pledges by the UK and French defense ministers to increase their naval presence in Asian seas and the need for a unified approach to upholding freedom of navigation; the role of ASEAN; the future of regional trade initiatives and how the U.S and Europe should work with Asian partners to sustain a liberal economic order that helps underwrite common security.
The seminar also explored the security aspects of infrastructure projects in continental Asia, asking questions such as: Can continental Asia emerge as a region of great power cooperation, in contrast to deepening strategic completion in maritime Asia? How are Russia, India, Japan, the EU, and the U.S. reacting to China’s “Belt and Road” initiative, and what are the implications? How far are the objectives of major actors aligned on the new infrastructure development and connectivity plans, and to what extent are security concerns a source of division over these geo-economic schemes?