Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore cancelled amid COVID-19 surge

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Representative image
Representative image

Singapore City [Singapore], May 20 (ANI): The Shangri-La Dialogue that was scheduled to be held next month in Singapore has been cancelled amid the COVID-19 surge.

A spokesman for the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) said it was "with regret and sadness" that the security summit had to be called off, Straits Times reported.

The Asian security summit dialogue scheduled for June 4-5 was supposed to be a fully in-person event held within a bubble at Shangri-La Hotel. United States Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin had confirmed his attendance, while Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga had been invited to headline the event as keynote speaker.

The IISS Shangri-La Dialogue is Asia's premier defence summit which started in 2002.

"Unfortunately, the global Covid-19 situation has recently deteriorated, in part because of the rise of infectious new Covid variants," said the IISS spokesman.

"In Singapore, there has been a rise in local cases, recently introduced new restrictions, and the prospect of further tightening cannot be ruled out - all of which creates uncertainty. Taken together, all of these various factors mean that holding an in-person Shangri-La Dialogue this year has become unviable," the statement added

A spokesman for the Singapore Ministry of Defence said it supported the decision to cancel the dialogue "due to the continued uncertainties surrounding the global and local Covid-19 situation".

Earlier this week, the IISS had reaffirmed its intentions to continue with the dialogue, in the wake of the World Economic Forum cancelling its special annual meeting scheduled to be held in Singapore in August.

The think-tank had said the same after a spike in local infections was reported last week. (ANI)

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