Vietnam: Pompeo urges ASEAN states to not let China “walk over” them
US Secretary of State to Discuss North Korea and South China Sea Issues
The United States does not rule out working-level talks with North Korean officials on the sidelines of the Southeast Asian summit in Thailand this week. Experts note that Pyongyang’s recent missile launch is unlikely to nullify Washington’s current diplomatic efforts..
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will arrive in Bangkok on August 1 to co-chair the Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Meeting.
On August 2, Pompeo will attend the East Asian Foreign Ministers Summit, the ASEAN Regional Forum, and hold a bilateral meeting with Thai Foreign Minister Don Pramudvin to discuss ways to further strengthen the US-Thailand alliance.
“Tomorrow at noon I will go to Asia, I will be in Bangkok for a couple of days. We hope that we can start discussions at the working level, which will begin very soon, “- said Pompeo, answering a question about diplomatic engagement with North Korea..
“We will not talk about specific bilateral meetings other than those that have been announced,” a senior State Department official said at a briefing when asked if US officials would hold talks with North Korean officials on the sidelines of ASEAN..
Earlier, the United Nations Joint Command, led by the United States, said it will continue to support the confidence-building measures needed to achieve permanent peace and the ultimate verifiable denuclearization of North Korea..
After North Korea’s last ballistic missile test last Thursday, Pompeo said talks could still continue..
“I think we will continue,” the US foreign minister said in an interview with Fox News. “I think we’re still going to sit down and talk about it. North Korea was involved in activities before we had diplomatic talks. “.
According to media reports, North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho will not be attending ASEAN-related meetings in Bangkok this week. In the past, the North Korean Foreign Minister has missed the summit from time to time, but Pyongyang has always sent other diplomats to attend..
“We will certainly continue to communicate with our allies who are facing this problem closely enough,” State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus told Voice of America on Monday..
Foreign Ministers of Japan and South Korea will also attend the East Asia Summit in Bangkok.
Todd Rosenblum, senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, believes the latest rocket launch in Pyongyang “should not and likely will not have much impact on the ongoing negotiation efforts.”.
South China Sea
Pompeo’s meetings with ASEAN foreign ministers also come amid growing assertiveness by China in the South China Sea, a resource-rich region contested by several ASEAN members, Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam, as well as Taiwan and China..
“We are interested in ensuring stability in the region,” a senior State Department official said..
The US strongly opposes China’s attempts to assert its illegal maritime claims in the South China Sea. Washington Calls for the China-ASEAN Code of Conduct to be “in line” with existing international law.