EU Security in Southeast Asia: Insights into the 2023 Shangri-La Dialogue

2-4 June 2023 saw the Shangri-La hotel in Singapore host its nineteenth Shangri-La Dialogue, having been held annually since 2002, besides its two-year pause due to the pandemic (2020 and 2021). The Dialogue is an inter-governmental security conference that has manifested to become one of the most important independent forums for the exchange of views through talks and bi-lateral agreements by international policy decision-makers.

The Dialogue is usually attended by a variety of government representatives including defence ministers, military chiefs, experts and academics from across the majority of the Indo-Pacific States as well as the EU and the US. This year’s Shangri-la Dialogue hosted the strongest European delegation yet, with central topics of conversation including the Russia-Ukraine War, China’s presence in the South China Sea, Taiwan security and the interactions, or lack thereof, between the US and China.

This year’s Dialogue also saw Heads of State attend such as the Prime Minister of Australia Anthony Albanese; Prime Minister of Timor-Leste Dr José Ramos-Horta; and the Prime Minister of Estonia Kaja Kallas, all of whom gave speeches throughout the Dialogue. This EIAS Policy Brief is going to provide an overview of the 2023 Shangri-la Dialogue by first dissecting its history and significance, before delving into the EU’s prospects going into it, followed by its overall key security takeaways. What benefits and security provisions can the EU bring to Southeast Asia whilst taking into consideration the conflict in Ukraine, the increasing tensions in the Taiwan Strait and South China Sea. 

Author: Anna Losty, EIAS Junior Researcher

Photo credits: Pixabay