US, Japan, Australia affirm partnership to promote 'free, open Indo-Pacific'

Three-nation meeting held on sidelines of US-ASEAN Ministerial in Bangkok

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Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne (L), Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono (C), and U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo (R) (Photo from Marise...

Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne (L), Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono (C), and U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo (R) (Photo from Marise...

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – At the U.S.-ASEAN Ministerial hosted in Bangkok, Thailand on Thursday (Aug. 1), the U.S. Secretary of State and foreign ministers of Australia and Japan met on the sidelines to discuss the mutually concerning issue of North Korea rocket tests as well as Chinese military activity in the South China Sea.

At the Ninth Japan-United States-Australia Trilateral Strategic Dialogue, all three nations signaled their intention to cooperate in the region to ensure a “free and open Indo-Pacific,” according to MOFA Japan. To promote security and prosperity in Southeast Asia, all three countries are committed to jointly promoting high-quality infrastructure among ASEAN nations to further strengthen regional alliance-building,

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reportedly emphasized to Japanese Foreign Minister Kono Taro (河野太郎) and Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne that complete denuclearization of North Korea remains a strategic goal of the U.S. Both Kono and Payne expressed full agreement with the goal, reports MOFA Japan.

A press release from the U.S. State Department said that Mike Pompeo also met with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Thursday. In addition to asking for China’s help to persuade the Kim regime in North Korea on the issue of denuclearization, Pompeo also emphasized Washington’s growing concern with Beijing’s treatment of religious minorities.

In a separate meeting between the Japanese and Chinese foreign ministers, Kono reportedly asked that Beijing stop sending Chinese vessels into Japan’s territorial waters. The issue of North Korea did not come up in the meeting between Kono and Wang, reports Kyodo News.