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Singapore defense talks focus on online terror fight

Associated Press logo Associated Press 2/06/2017 By ANNABELLE LIANG, Associated Press
From left, Australian Defense Minister Marise Payne, Malaysian Defense Minister Hishammuddin Hussein, Singapore's Defense Minister Ng Eng Hen, New Zealand Defense Minister Mark Mitchell link hands as they pose for a photograph at a joint press conference at the Five Power Defense Arrangements Defense Ministers Meeting in Singapore Friday, June 2, 2017. (AP Photo/Joseph Nair) © The Associated Press From left, Australian Defense Minister Marise Payne, Malaysian Defense Minister Hishammuddin Hussein, Singapore's Defense Minister Ng Eng Hen, New Zealand Defense Minister Mark Mitchell link hands as they pose for a photograph at a joint press conference at the Five Power Defense Arrangements Defense Ministers Meeting in Singapore Friday, June 2, 2017. (AP Photo/Joseph Nair)

SINGAPORE — Five countries in a longstanding defense pact met in Singapore on Friday and said that they will continue working together and use the internet to fight terrorism.

Officials from the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia and Singapore held a joint news conference after meeting in the city-state. The countries are part of the Five Power Defense Arrangements, which was put in place in 1971 for the joint defense of Malaysia and Singapore, then newly independent.

Malaysia's Defense Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said that terrorism, extremism and militancy in the region were key areas of concern.

The group is "looking at social media on how to counter the narrative that is coming out from this very evil group of people who are determined to establish in the region," he said.

Australian Defense Minister Marise Payne said that the grouping would "move with the times" and work together to counter the threat of extremism being spread online.

The officials were meeting ahead of an international security conference kicking off Friday in Singapore.

The three-day Shangri-La Dialogue will be attended by defense ministers and experts from 40 countries. It covers topics that include terrorism, nuclear dangers and emerging technologies. Australia's Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will deliver the keynote address.

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