Asia defense summit kicks off in Singapore

Delegates from Asian and Western countries gather in Singapore this weekend to discuss global security issues.

The security forum known as the Shangri-La Dialogue opened on Friday.

In the three-day meeting, officials will debate topics including the rivalry between the US and China in the Indo-Pacific and Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

The meeting is being held for the first time in three years due to the pandemic.

All eyes are on the sideline talks between US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe.

The two superpowers' discussion is thought to have covered Taiwan and the South China Sea. They likely tried to make headway resolving differences and swapped ideas on how to avoid accidental clashes.

Austin is scheduled to deliver remarks laying out Washington's plans for deepening security ties with its Asian allies on Saturday.

On Sunday, Wei will give a speech on Beijing's outlook for the region. How each side reacts to the other's address is another focus of attention.

On Friday, Austin met with ASEAN defense chiefs. They took up the situation in Ukraine and furthering collaboration in Southeast Asia, including on Myanmar where turmoil has continued since last year's coup.

Other hot topics on the dialogue's agenda are Russia's aggression and how to deal with North Korea and its repeated missile launches.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy will make a special address by teleconference on Saturday.

The summit may give us a better idea of how things in the Indo-Pacific and the world at large will play out in the near future.