Pompeo arrives in Japan for trip shortened by Trump’s COVID-19
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived in Japan on Tuesday shortly after midnight for a visit that has been cut short by President Donald Trump’s hospitalisation with COVID-19.
The trip has been scaled back to one full day in Japan after Trump took ill and the State Department said Pompeo would not go to Mongolia and South Korea as originally planned.
Pompeo is expected to meet with Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga on Tuesday for the first time since Suga took office and attend a wider meeting with the foreign ministers of India and Australia.
That meeting of the Quad grouping – the United States, Japan, Australia and Japan – comes at a time of intense tension between Washington and China.
Pompeo told reporters before departing for Japan that he hoped for “significant achievements” from the meetings with Quad partners, but he did not elaborate.
China has denounced the Quad as an attempt to contain its development. Indian foreign ministry spokesman Anurag Srivastava said the foreign ministers are likely to emphasise their support for a free and open Indo-Pacific region at the meeting.
They will discuss the new international order in a post-COVID world and the need for coordinating responses to the pandemic, he said.
The abbreviated visit is Pompeo’s first to East Asia in more than a year. The State Department said he was expecting to travel to Asia again in October and will work to reschedule the visits in his original itinerary.
Trump announced his illness in the early hours of Friday and was flown from the White House to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center near Washington.
Before departing, Pompeo said he had spoken to Trump earlier on Sunday. “His spirits are great, he’s in a great mood,” Pompeo told reporters.