China, ASEAN Countries Hold Joint Naval Drill

US Secretary of State Pompeo calls on Dr Mahathir

US Secretary of State Pompeo calls on Dr Mahathir

The "tabletop" simulated exercise in the city-state involved the navies of China and all 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), ahead of the first maritime drill set to be held in waters in China in October.

Earlier in the day, Kang had a bilateral meeting with her Chinese counterpart Wang Yi.

After Pompeo's initial announcement, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said China welcomed the plan and that it would be good if the three countries could increase their investment in the region.

Wang also noted that China stands ready to share opportunities with ASEAN, jointly meet challenges, and make the bilateral cooperation a pillar of regional peace, stability, development and prosperity.

Sales of Chinese products in the United States, one of the world's major markets, are also expected to become sluggish, possibly dragging down the economies of ASEAN nations that have supplied components to manufacturers in China.

The draft however showed that Beijing wanted to stage military drills with ASEAN in the seas that excluded outside countries, a move analysts said was aimed at diminishing U.S. influence.

USA military ships and jets patrol the waters, a presence that Washington maintains is created to promote freedom of navigation and overflight.

Trump proposes raising Chinese tariffs
That case concluded China was stealing American technology and tariffs were needed to offset the damage. He also has threatened a further round of tariffs on $300 billion of Chinese goods.

According to Wang, China will provide more financial support to China-ASEAN cooperation in the future.

Singapore's prime minister said on Thursday he hoped to complete by the end of the year a massive China-backed regional trade pact that has taken centre stage as Washington embarks on a unilateral, protectionist agenda.

Earlier this week, Pompeo unveiled $113 million in new USA 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.

The suggestion to exclude outside countries "is obviously targeted at the United States which has been dominating the waters of the Western Pacific and the South China Sea in particular", Hoang Thi Ha, from the ASEAN Studies Centre, ISEAS Yusof Ishak Institute in Singapore, told AFP.

The result was that across Asia, more and more countries were pulled into China's orbit: softening their stance on territorial disputes in the South China Sea and borrowing billions of dollars from Beijing to develop infrastructure.

Asean pledged its commitment to the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership that includes China, saying it will form a "centerpiece of its external economic relations, particularly at a time of growing uncertainties in global trade".

The US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo attended the meeting with the ASEAN nations also stated that the US will continue to mount pressure on North Korea.

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