Thailand hosts regional diplomatic meeting, Pompeo attends

ASEAN chair country Thailand hosted a meeting of the regional organization’s foreign ministers last week that was attended by top diplomats from ASEAN’s global dialogue partners.

United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was among 30 leading global diplomats who took part in the meeting to strengthen relations and cooperation on a range of issues with an economically vibrant, strategically important, and diverse region of 650 million people.

In the opening session, Thai Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai urged his counterparts from ASEAN – the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations – to resist the growing global trends towards nationalism if they want their region to thrive.

“Amidst a great turmoil, we must be more outward and forward-looking than ever before,” Don said. “It is a difficult balancing act, but overcoming fear and distrust among ourselves, and between us and other powers will make ASEAN an integral part of sustainable global peace and prosperity that could lift all boats.”

Aside from meetings with ASEAN’s 10 dialogue partners – Australia, Canada, China, European Union, India, Japan, Republic of Korea, New Zealand, Russia, and the United States – the organization also hosted the 26th meeting of the 27-member ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), which focuses on security issues, and the 9th East Asia Summit (EAS) Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, which discusses strategic and cooperation issues such as disaster relief, connectivity and security challenges.

The ministers discussed a range of other issues including trade, the environment, ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific and regional issues, while many ministers and diplomats used the meeting to also hold bilateral meetings.

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