Pompeo arrives in Pyongyang for talks with North Korean officials
Secretary of State will hold a series of meetings with colleagues from ASEAN countries
WASHINGTON – US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo came to Thailand for the ASEAN summit, just hours before which North Korea conducted another ballistic missile test – the second in a week.
Pompeo will host a US-ASEAN meeting with counterparts in Bangkok on Thursday, noting that many share a vision of security, peace and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific.
Secretary of State will also deliver a speech on the US economic role in the region.
On the way to Thailand, Pompeo was asked when negotiations with the North Korean authorities would resume.
“Some preliminary work needed to be done. I don’t want to name the dates, but I hope that soon Special Representative (Stephen) Bigan will speak with a new colleague from North Korea, ”Pompeo replied..
Last year, the ASEAN annual summit was used as an opportunity to negotiate between US and North Korean officials, but Pyongyang made it clear that its foreign minister might not attend the event this year..
Pompeo said he will meet with Chinese counterpart and discuss a range of issues.
Bilateral talks with China will take place against the backdrop of renewed trade talks and escalating tensions in the region over Beijing’s territorial claims in the South China Sea.
When asked about the rapprochement of some Southeast Asian countries with China, Pompeo said it was wrong to consider them “vassal states” that are “in the grip of China.” “They are looking for partners,” he said. “It’s not about luring them back.”.
When asked about the protests in Hong Kong, Pompeo said: “In Hong Kong, the people are calling on the government to listen to him. It is always appropriate for any government to listen to its people “.
Pompeo was also asked to clarify the planned withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan..
The Secretary of State said there is no deadline, however, the US plans to reduce operational involvement in Afghanistan as soon as the situation in the country allows, as the US also needs to ensure that terrorism does not spread from Afghanistan..
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