Pompeo shortens Asia trip; to visit only Japan for QUAD foreign ministers meet
Washington: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will travel to Tokyo to attend the second ministerial meeting of the four countries under the Quad — India, Japan, Australia and US — but will not go to Mongolia and South Korea as originally planned, the State Department has said.
Pompeo was scheduled to visit Japan, Mongolia and South Korea between October 4 and October 8.
In a statement on Saturday, the State Department said Pompeo was expecting to travel to Asia again in October and will work to reschedule the trips in his original itinerary.
Pompeo will travel to Tokyo on October 4 to 6, State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said.
“Planned meetings with the Quad Foreign Ministers in Tokyo will focus on pressing issues of the Indo-Pacific region, she added.
Pompeo expects to be travelling to Asia again in October and will work to reschedule visits on that trip, Ortagus said.
The second India-Australia-Japan-US ministerial meeting will take place in Tokyo on October 6 in which the foreign ministers of the respective countries will discuss the post-COVID-19 international order and the need for a coordinated response to the various challenges emerging from the pandemic.
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar will visit Tokyo from October 6 to 7 to attend the ministerial meeting of the Quadrilateral coalition and hold talks with his Japanese counterpart Toshimitsu Motegi on ways to further deepen bilateral ties.
The second meeting of the Quadrilateral coalition or Quad comes in the backdrop of growing global concerns over China’s military muscle flexing in the Indo-Pacific region.
The first meeting of foreign ministers of the four countries under the ‘Quad’ framework had taken place in New York in September 2019.
On its part, the US has been pushing for a greater role for India in the Indo-Pacific which is seen by many countries as an effort to contain China’s growing clout in the region.
Pompeo is likely to travel to India in his next Asia trip later this month for the India-US 2+2 ministerial dialogue. For the 2+2 dialogue, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh will join with US secretary of Defence Mark Esper in New Delhi. Pompeo and Jaishankar will also participate in the meeting.
Dates for the 2+2 talks have not been announced yet.