Singapore: The Shangri-La Dialogue 2020 has been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, organisers said on Saturday.

The International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), an international affairs think-tank, said it it came up with the decision to cancel the annual event after close consultation with host country Singapore, reports Channel News Asia.

"Many countries have imposed travel restrictions in response to the pandemic and these may still be in force at the time that this year's Shangri-La Dialogue would have been convened," the IISS said in a statement.

"Given that the Dialogue draws participation from more than 40 countries, many of which have imposed such restrictions, the IISS has decided that the only sensible course at this point is to notify delegates and other interested parties that the event will not take place this year."

The IISS added that it would work towards an "exceptionally strong" Shangri-La Dialogue next year.

Launched in 2002, the Shangri-La Dialogue had been held every year in Singapore. The defence summit was scheduled to take place from Jun 5 to 7.

"Looking at the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, with epicentres now in Europe, UK and the US, and travel restrictions imposed by many countries, it would be a significant challenge to hold SLD as scheduled in early June," Channel news Asia quoted Singapore Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen as saying a Facebook post in reaction to the cancellation.

"Government leaders and delegations from nearly 40 countries attend this premier security dialogue, so it''s important to give advance notice now.

"I thank all our defence partners for their strong support to Singapore and the SLD over the years. We look forward to resuming the SLD next year," he added.