Rex Tillerson to visit Pakistan during Asia tour

Oct 23, 2017, 01:31
Rex Tillerson to visit Pakistan during Asia tour

"The Secretary's visit to India will advance the ambitious agenda laid out by President Trump and Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the Prime Minister's visit to the White House in June", she said. "As we look ahead, there is room to invite others, including Australia, to build on the shared objectives and initiatives", he said.

India has a festering border issue with China and had a lengthy border standoff recently near a trilateral junction between the India Bhutan and China borders; the U.S. has been alarmed by China's assertiveness in the South China Sea territorial disputes.

Speaking less than a month before President Donald Trump is due to make his first state visit to China, Tillerson said the United States had begun to discuss creating alternatives to Chinese infrastructure financing in Asia.

Noting the Indo-Pacific needed a strong US -India partnership, he criticised China for undermining the "international, rules-based order even as countries like India operate within a framework that protects other nations' sovereignty".

In a statement on October 18 at a think-tank in Washington at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), Mr. Tillerson had been quoted by media reports from there as stating, "In this period of uncertainty and angst, India needs a reliable partner on the wporld stage".

Responding to a question about the US-India ties and whether Washington would take side in issues between Pakistan and India like the cross-border firing across the Line of Control, the spokesperson said that the US had always been very cautious about addressing those issues, "not wanting to contribute to any additional tensions".

"We'll never have the same relationship with China, a non-democratic society, that we can have with a major democracy", Mr Tillerson told a think tank in Washington.

"China's provocative actions in the South China Sea directly challenge the global law and norms that the United States and India both stand for", he had said.

"It's a speech that was designed for many audiences", the official said. The MEA said his statement brought out the various strengths of Indo-US partnership and highlighted India's shared commitment to a rule-based worldwide order.

Tillerson did not say what he meant by creating an alternative to Chinese infrastructure financing, but said the Trump administration had begun a "quiet conversation" with some emerging East Asian democracies at a summit in August.

"We hope the USA side can look at China's development and role in the worldwide community in an objective way, and abandon its biased views of China", foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said during a regular press briefing.

He said Chinese financing was saddling countries with "enormous" debts and failing to create jobs. "We will not be able to compete with the kind of terms that China offers, but countries have to decide what are they willing to pay to secure their sovereignty and their future control of their economies and we've had those discussions with them as well", he said.

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