Pompeo cancels visit to S. Korea after Trump’s virus diagnosis

Mike Pompeo. Photo by The Himalayan Times. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

SEOUL, Oct 4, 2020, Yonhap. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo canceled a planned visit to South Korea, the State Department announced Sunday, after President Donald Trump tested positive for COVID-19, Yonhap reported.

The State Department released an update on Pompeo’s planned Asia visit, which included a single travel itinerary to Tokyo from Sunday to Wednesday.

The update did not include the previously announced trips to South Korea and Mongolia.

The State Department earlier said the top U.S. diplomat would visit South Korea for a two-day stay starting Wednesday after stopping by Ulaanbaatar following his trip to Tokyo, where he will attend a four-way meeting with his counterparts from Australia, India and Japan in what is known as the Quad.

“Secretary Pompeo expects to be traveling to Asia again in October and will work to reschedule visits on that trip, that is now just a few weeks off,” the statement said.

Seoul’s foreign ministry had said South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha and Pompeo were set to hold talks Thursday to discuss bilateral relations, the Korean Peninsula situation and regional and global issues. Pompeo was also expected to pay a courtesy call to South Korean President Moon Jae-in.

The last time Pompeo visited Seoul was in June 2019, when he accompanied Trump to the Demilitarized Zone that divides the two Koreas for a meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

In a statement to the press, Seoul’s foreign ministry acknowledged the cancellation of Pompeo’s trip, explaining that it received notification from its American counterpart of the secretary’s changed schedule beforehand.

The ministry also said it looks forward to Pompeo’s visit to South Korea as soon as possible.

The announcement of Pompeo’s Asia visit rescheduling was made two days after Trump and his wife, Melania Trump, tested positive for the new coronavirus.

On Friday, Moon sent a message to Trump and the American first lady, wishing for their quick recovery from COVID-19.

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