Friday, 20 September, 2019

United States will not ask ASEAN allies to take sides: Mike Pompeo

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks with reporters aboard his plane en route to Thailand Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks with reporters aboard his plane en route to Thailand
Patty Aguilar | 05 August, 2019, 04:54

Pompeo hosted a U.S. -ASEAN meeting Thursday with his counterparts in Bangkok, saying many of them share a vision for security, peace and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific.

"Our engagement in this region has not been and will not be a zero-sum exercise", he said.

"Our interests simply naturally converge with yours to our mutual benefit".

He also urged the U.S.to abide by the one-China policy and deal with Taiwan-related issues with caution, in reference to USA weapon sales to Taiwan, which China considers part of its territory.

Pompeo said the US has a long tradition of supporting people's rights to free speech and peaceful protest and that those freedoms enhanced prosperity and development.

"ASEAN does not want to become a theater for major power rivalry", Kavi said.

From supporting state-led enterprises to disputes over contested territories, Pompeo took aim at China's actions and motivations in Southeast Asia, backtracking on comments on Thursday in which he told regional diplomats they were not expected to "choose" sides between the superpowers.

Beijing claims nearly the entire South China Sea and frequently castigates Washington and its allies for naval operations in the maritime region, where China has built numerous military installations with advanced ballistic-missile capabilities on reclaimed islands under its control.

Pompeo will meet Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Thursday as talks on ending a bitter U.S. China's development is peaceful with strong internal impetus.

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Sen. Bob Menendez, a Democrat from New Jersey, said "it is critical that China be held to account for its behavior in the South China Sea".

Meanwhile, the United States has expressed concern over the likelihood that Phnom Penh has struck a deal with Beijing to allow the Chinese military to use Cambodia as a staging post - something that would widen its strategic reach beyond installations in disputed South China Sea islands.

While emphasizing the importance of de-escalating tensions in the South and East China seas, Kavi dismissed the suggestion that ASEAN should side with the United States and Japan in countering China, a country critics see as undermining the free, open and rules-based worldwide order. -China relations, North Korea and other topics. "Putting 10% tariffs on China's imports is not a constructive way and it's not a right way to solve the trade disputes", he said.

Wang made the remarks to reporters on the sidelines of an Association of Southeast Asian Nations gathering in Thailand.

"It is neither fair nor possible to try to obstruct China's development". "It will not be stopped by anyone".

Manila has occupied Pag-asa, located about 300 miles (483 km) west of Palawan province, since the 1970s.

That included on a long-delayed code of conduct for the South China Sea, she said.

China's assertive territorial claims in the South China Sea, which carries a third of global shipping, has drawn rebuke from the United States and become a flashpoint for the region, with some sea features under overlapping claims by ASEAN members Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei. "We think it's important", Pompeo said aboard his plane.

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