Selangor Journal

Shangri-La Dialogue: I prioritise bilateral talks, says minister

KUALA LUMPUR, June 10 — Defence Minister Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan has stressed there was no need for him to give speeches at the recent Shangri-La Dialogue summit in Singapore, but instead he prioritised bilateral talks with leaders of other countries.

The bilateral talks, between the defence ministers and the leadership of the armed forces at the conference, were seen to be more effective in conveying Malaysia’s position on defence and national security issues rather than giving speeches.

“When we held a plenary session or a summit, we delivered speeches, and most of the country’s leaders were absent, there were only members of the public, students and others who attended.

“For me, I prioritise bilateral talks, and I managed to hold (bilateral talks) with 13 countries, among them… the United States Secretary of Defence, China’s Defence Minister and several European countries who are interested in knowing Malaysia’s position regarding the situation in the Indo-Pacific, the Taiwan Strait and in the South China Sea,” he said.

Mohamad was speaking to reporters during a visit to the media centre at the 2023 Umno General Assembly, earlier today.

He was commenting on the statement of former health minister Khairy Jamaluddin, who questioned the decision of the Rembau MP not to give an address at the recent Shangri-La Dialogue summit in Singapore.

According to Mohamad, some matters involving defence are not suitable to be highlighted to the general public, but rather it is better to discuss them bilaterally with interested individuals.

“It is better if we hold bilateral talks; more beneficial than giving speeches to (only) university students and members of the public,” he said.

— Bernama

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