China wants military drills with ASEAN

US Secretary of State Pompeo calls on Dr Mahathir

Malaysia Chronicle

The ASEAN ministers also welcomed rapprochement between North Korea and South Korea and the US and reaffirmed their commitment "to combat the scourge of violent extremism, radicalization and terrorism".

The United States has pledged to disburse US$300 million to Southeast Asian countries to enhance security in the ASEAN region.

Foreign Minister Mevlut Çavuşoğlu discussed bilateral ties with his Japanese, Iranian and Russian counterparts on the sidelines of the 51st Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) meeting in Singapore Thursday.

"The exercise is beneficial to promote military exchanges and cooperation between China and ASEAN member states, [and] to advance our mutual trust", Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy Captain Liang Zhijia told reporters.

So far, the United States has imposed duties on US$34 billion of imports from China as part of a first tranche of sanctions on US$50 billion of goods.

Asean foreign ministers started a meeting Thursday in Singapore, focusing on North Korea's nuclear weapons programme and China's assertiveness in the South China Sea.

Elsewhere, Zarif touched upon meetings with Indonesian prime minister and also with his Philippinian, Japanses and Turkish counterparts on the sideline of the event, saying that all of the officials expressed their resolve for saving the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) after the USA pullout, as well as using innovative approaches to continue their economic ties with Iran.

In a move that goes against the spirit of the first-ever U.S.

US Secretary of State Pompeo calls on Dr Mahathir

One of Trump's early acts in office was to pull out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement, which involved four Southeast Asian states.

"We can continue to trade with China while we continue to defend our sovereign rights", Carpio had said.

Last year, the release of the customary communique at the end of the meetings was delayed with reports suggesting that there was a lack of consensus on how to refer to disputes in the South China Sea.

Its President Rodrigo Duterte frequently praises Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping and in February caused a stir when he jokingly offered the Philippines to Beijing as a province of China.

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

China's Defense Ministry did not respond to a request for comment.

Critics say the consensus approach to negotiations on the code could mean a final deal is still years off and works in China's favour as a delaying tactic to ease scrutiny of its militarization of man-made islands in the region.

US President Trump has demanded that Beijing make a host of concessions to avoid new duties, however, China shows no sign of bending to Washington's pressure.

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