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The Shangri-La Dialogue, an annual conference of security officials and experts convened in Singapore by the London-based Institute for International and Strategic Studies (IISS), has become the premier Asian defense meeting, the easiest and quickest way to assess the regional zeitgeist on such issues.

This year’s gathering, the 19th, featured the first appearance by China’s defense minister, a welcome addition as geopolitical competition between Washington and Beijing intensifies. It is important that the two countries together publicly make their case to regional constituencies. At a time of intense and accelerating change, nothing can be taken for granted.

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