Still a way to go on N. Korea - Pompeo

Mike Pompeo

Mike Pompeo

The drill is a possible first step toward expanded cooperation between China and ASEAN countries in the South China Sea, where competing territorial claims have often led to tension.

Iran had nemorous meetings with Americans for two years [during the course of nuclear negotations], but the current United States administration has proved that it can not adhere to its commitments, he told IRNA on the sidelines of the ASEAN ministerial meeting in Singapore.

"It is important that Asean continues to support the multilateral trading system".

Arriving in Singapore ahead of a security forum, Pompeo said that "we can see we still have a ways to go to achieve the ultimate outcome we're looking" for when it comes to North Korea.

However, it was too early to say when negotiations would be complete, he added.

Washington has also been stepping up pressure on Beijing on the military front following the Trump administration's decision to list China as one of America's greatest rivals in his national security strategy past year.

ASEAN ministerial meeting on August 3, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said his country will maintain its role in a commitment to peace and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific with ASEAN at its centre.

Singapore's navy hosted the drills at a training center in Changi naval base, where officers coordinated their force deployments and helicopter landings on navy ships.

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Founded in 1967 in the Cold War era as a bulwark against communism, ASEAN has a bedrock principle of non-interference in each other's domestic affairs and decides by consensus, meaning even one member state can doom any proposal it deems offensive.

Both sides also agreed on the key modalities for future rounds of talks.

Beijing also suggested that China and ASEAN could carry out joint oil and gas exploration in the waters but again proposed that firms from countries outside the region be excluded from such activities, the document showed.

The US and China are competing for influence in Indo-Pacific, a term that gained ground when US President Donald Trump used it on his tour of Asia a year ago.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop of Australia, which together with the US, Japan and India form the so-called quad of countries championing greater security cooperation as part of an Indo-Pacific strategy, told the Asean-Australia ministerial meeting: "Asean sits at the heart of the Indo-Pacific".

The US is embroiled in trade spats with China and close allies including the European Union, imposing tit-for-tat tariffs on billions of dollars worth of goods and heightening fears of economic pain that could spread worldwide.

However, opposition has weakened in other parts of Southeast Asia, with analysts saying that countries are keen to attract Chinese investment and are anxious about United States commitment to the region under President Donald Trump.

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