China says USA pressure will not impact trade talks

US Secretary of State Pompeo calls on Dr Mahathir

US Secretary of State Pompeo calls on Dr Mahathir

Led by the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the ASEAN Regional Forum kicked off Thursday, bringing together key countries in the Korean Peninsula's denuclearization efforts.

He is expected to meet his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, and foreign ministers of other countries on the sidelines of the forum.

In fact, Asean and Beijing finalized a work document that will serve as a base for future negotiations on the COC, binding instrument that looks to prevent an escalade in tensions in those waters where there are still some territorial conflicts.

At a news conference later, Wang said: "We believe that without any disturbances from the outside, COC consultations will accelerate".

Meanwhile the United States - traditionally the dominant military power in the area - has more frequently carried out patrols aimed at ensuring freedom of navigation.

Pompeo also told a gathering of top diplomats from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in Singapore that Asean had been the top destination for U.S. investment in Asia.

An indoor "table-top" exercise between the two sides has been held in Singapore this week as a prelude to the bigger sea maneuvers, the Chinese premier said.

China has accused the United States of meddling into an Asian dispute.

Despite not being reported to have visited the country this year, KCNA stated that Ri met with Iranian counterparts during a Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) ministerial meeting in Baku, Azerbaijan in April.

The naval drills came amid growing tensions in the widely-disputed South China Sea.

South Korea's top diplomat is also likely to discuss specific issues with these countries.

Earlier this week, Pompeo unveiled $113 million in new US investment to support technology, energy and infrastructure in the Indo-Pacific, widely seen as a step to counter China's increased regional economic engagement through President Xi Jinping's multibillion-dollar "One Belt, One Road" cross-border infrastructure initiative.

Lee said the rules-based multilateral trade system is under pressure and the ten ASEAN member states should strive to conclude the negotiations on regional comprehensive economic partnership agreement.

Captain Liang Zhijia, deputy chief of operations in the Naval Forces of China's People's Liberation Army, said the exercises are a good platform to build confidence, cooperation and understanding between the country's navies.

Concerns over ongoing nuclear and missile activity in North Korea surged after The Washington Post reported Tuesday that USA intelligence officials believe Pyongyang is continuing to build new missiles in the same research facility it used to build intercontinental missiles capable of reaching the East Coast of the United States.

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