The Asian security dialogue is about verbal jabs and thought balloons. And policy signaling and point scoring. And, ideally, some meeting of minds, reaching towards actual agreement.
The Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, the 14th Asia Security Summit, had plenty of the usual show and shove.
Compared to the last couple of years, though, the verbal biffo from the Chinese delegation was dialed down a few notches. Having been busy creating new geographic features in the South China Sea, terraforming with mountains of sand, the Chinese at Shangri-La seemed keen to judge the effect of their recent show, rather than do much shoving.
What response would they get to their fast build towards a fait accompli? The leader of the Chinese delegation was a Navy man, so they came prepared. The relative calm of China’s pushback suggested a certain comfort with the jabs they got.
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