Building trust: China, Asean hold 1st computer-simulated naval drills

Zarif says no plans to meet Pompeo in Singapore

North Korean Minister of Foreign Affairs Ri Yong Ho will conduct an official visit to Iran following his trip to Singapore this week, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported on Thursday.

Singapore Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan announced at the start of an annual meeting of top diplomats from China and the 10-nation bloc that both sides have agreed on an initial draft that will be the basis of future negotiations.

"I expect and am eager for this frequent engagement to continue", Mr Pompeo said.

Wang, who is also China's foreign minister, urged the United States on Thursday to calm down and "carefully listen to the voices of USA consumers".

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pledged on Saturday to provide almost $300 million in new security funding for Southeast Asia, as China forges ahead with plans to bolster its engagement in the region. "We remain committed to promoting Asean's primacy in the regional architecture".

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Mr Trump is aiming to reduce his country's $375.6 billion trade deficit in goods - the gap between imports and exports - with China.

SINGAPORE, Aug 3 ― Asean looks forward to working closely with the United States (US) to bring the partnership to a higher trajectory, says Malaysian Foreign Affairs Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah.

The 16-nation Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership notably excludes the U.S., which had been leading another regional trade pact - the Trans-Pacific Partnership - until Trump abruptly abandoned it past year.

The Philippines is one example of a country which has taken a more conciliatory approach to China despite a bitter history of disputes over maritime sovereignty.

On his way back to Washington, Pompeo will stop in Jakarta, Indonesia, to meet with President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo to reaffirm the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership with world's third-largest democracy.

Yesterday, Asean ministers also held separate meetings with their counterparts from South Korea, Canada and the European Union.

Israel says Assad back in charge, Syrian front likely to be quieter
Because of the recent Syrian government offensive, there are now Islamic State forces "scattered in the area", Conricus said. Russian media said that Russia would soon deploy forces along the border to keep the warring factions from provoking Israel.

"Such practical cooperation will help build trust so that we can work together towards safer seas for all", Liang said.

Saifuddin co-chaired the meeting with Mike Pompeo, the US Secretary of State.

"As part of our commitment to advancing regional security in the Indo-Pacific, the United States is excited to announce almost $300 million in new funding to reinforce security cooperation throughout the entire region", he said.

Asean solidarity was also on display, and Mr Lee started his speech by conveying his condolences to two members which saw recent disasters - to Laos on the collapse of the Xe Pien-Xe Namnoy hydroelectric dam and to Indonesia on the Lombok quake.

In his opening remarks, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong called on the 10-member regional bloc to do more on its economic integration efforts and other economic goals amid global trade tensions, as well as make full use of technology to enhance development. "Is this what President Duterte calls an independent foreign policy?" she asked.

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