US Secretary of State Pompeo to participate in a series of ASEAN meetings

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will meet with ASEAN foreign ministers today in a series of virtual meetings that

Pompeo ASEAN meetings

Photo: Lilian Suwanrumpha/AFP

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will meet with ASEAN foreign ministers today in a series of virtual meetings that will last until Friday.

Secretary Pompeo is scheduled to attend the East Asia Summit Foreign Ministers’ meeting and the US-ASEAN Ministerial meeting where he is expected to discuss the US role in the security and stability of the region. A detailed description of Pompeo’s discussion points was not released ahead of today’s meetings. However, with the recent deterioration in US-China relations resulting from Washington’s decision to limit the mobility and activity of Chinese diplomats, it is anticipated that Pompeo will discuss China’s role in the Indo-Pacific.

Expect Pompeo to review China’s activities in the South China Sea, which are perceived as a threat to regional stability. China’s illegitimate claim to territory within the ‘nine-dash line’, continued construction of artificial islands and military exercises have sparked sovereignty disputes and worry among littoral states such as Vietnam and the Philippines. Pompeo will certainly use this topic to reiterate Washington’s commitment to respect the self-determination of Indo-Pacific states.

It is too early to predict whether any actionable items will come out of today’s meetings. Friday’s Mekong-US Partnership Ministerial conversation, however, is predicted to end with a US commitment to provide Southeast Asian countries situated along the Mekong River with assistance to become more economically autonomous from regional powers such as China.

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