Pompeo Urges Southeast Asia to Stand Up to China
Secretary of State recommends countries in the region to reconsider relations with Chinese state-owned companies
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday called on Southeast Asian countries to counter Chinese intimidation and renegotiate dealings with its state-owned companies..
In a virtual address to ASEAN foreign ministers, Pompeo assured the region can count on US support.
“Today I say to you: don’t give up. Don’t just talk, act, ”Pompeo said. – Redefine business relationships with state-owned enterprises that intimidate the ASEAN coastal states in the South China Sea. Don’t let the Chinese Communist Party sit on our necks “.
ASEAN says it is unwilling to take sides amid tensions amid the recent surge in military activity by both powers in the South China Sea.
Asked by Reuters about tensions between the US and China, Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsoudi said: “We don’t want to be drawn into this rivalry.”.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told ASEAN ministers on Wednesday that the United States is intervening and militarizing the South China Sea..
China claims to have historical sovereignty over much of the South China Sea, but its neighbors and the US insist that this claim has no basis in international law, including the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, which China signed..
In a joint statement released on Thursday, ASEAN member states noted progress in negotiations to develop a code of conduct in the South China Sea that is consistent with international law.
According to the text of the statement, some ministers expressed concern about actions and incidents in the region that “undermine confidence and confidence, increase tensions and can undermine peace, security and stability in the region.”.
Washington recently imposed sanctions on 24 Chinese organizations involved in building artificial islands in disputed waters and installing missile systems on them..
The blacklisted companies have entered into lucrative contracts, in particular with the Philippines, which is an ally of the United States. Philippine President Says Contracts Will Not Be Canceled.
ASEAN ministers on Thursday also held remote meetings with representatives of Japan and Australia.
Australian Foreign Minister Maris Payne said her country is committed to a peaceful Indo-Pacific region “free from coercion and respecting the sovereignty, international law and rights of all nations.”.
Vietnamese Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh in his statement welcomed the US role in supporting ASEAN’s hopes for peace, stability, security and freedom of navigation.