Published: Thu, November 15, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Mike Pence’s message to China: aggression has no place in Indo-Pacific

Mike Pence’s message to China: aggression has no place in Indo-Pacific

Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged the US defence industry to set up manufacturing facilities in the country and make India a hub for exports during his meeting with US Vice President Mike Pence in Singapore on Wednesday.

Trump has said he hopes to have a second meeting with Kim early next year, but talks between Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and a top North Korean official planned for last week, partly to prepare for the meeting, were cancelled.

The Prime Minister is expected to speak to an expected audience of almost 40,000 people on the third day of the conference, November 14, Wednesday.

While the regional leaders are discussing trade deals in Singapore, the summit through Thursday will probably only produce a joint statement rather than substantive deals, said Oh Ei Sun, global studies instructor at Singapore Nanyang University.

Modi thanked Pence and reminded him that in one way or another all the traces and all the leads in the global terror attacks ultimately leads to a "single source and single place of origin", without naming any country or organisation. And, in that context, Modi pointed out that "the mainstreaming of the people involved in Mumbai terror attacks in a political process, which had taken place in a recent election in Pakistan, should be a matter of serious concern not just to the two countries, that is, India and the United States, but to the worldwide community", Gokhale said. "We agreed that in a new relationship we are building with the United States where trade is expanding, we need to find ways in which we can help that process to take place", Gokhale said.

During the Korea-ASEAN summit scheduled for Wednesday, Moon plans to propose holding a special Korea-ASEAN summit next year to further solidify relations with the Southeast Asian nations under his "new southward policy".

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Citing the report, the New York Times claimed North Korea has been operating 16 hidden bases for its ballistic missile program and that its leader Kim Jong-un broke the commitment made upon meeting with US President Donald Trump in Singapore in June. But significantly, Mr Modi pitched for U.S. cooperation in making India a hub for making defence equipment. "Both sides agreed that there had been a substantial enhancement in our defence relationship, in our imports of equipment from the U.S., but the prime minister in particular stressed that there was a great opportunity for the United States in India in making defence equipment and setting up defence industry in India".

He conveyed to Pence that his vision of Indo-Pacific was gaining acceptability and that "we should utilise the forthcoming East Asia summit to further build on that", Gokhale said, amid China flexing its muscles in the East and South China Seas. They also discussed counter-terrorism cooperation and ways to boost trade, with India indicating interest in expanding the newly initiated imports of oil and gas from the U.S., now valued at US$4 billion (S$5.5 billion).

Asked if China, which has been the North's main economic benefactor, was doing enough to maintain sanctions pressure, Pence said Beijing has done more than they have ever done before and Trump was grateful for that.

Over the past few years, Beijing has cultivated an array of military assets in disputed strategic areas of the resource-rich South China Sea for what it described as national defence purposes. "We are happy that ties with ASEAN are strong and are contributing to a peaceful and prosperous planet", Modi tweeted.

The controversy appears to reflect the frustration of Washington's foreign policy establishment, which is critical of South Korean and U.S. leaders' approach toward North Korea's nuclear program.

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