The world is watching the interplay of moves and events in the United States as it moves closer to its presidential election on November 3, only three weeks away.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was in Tokyo, Japan, last Tuesday to meet with officials of Japan, Australia, and India, America’s closest allies in Asia. He was due to proceed later to South Korea and Mongolia. The visits are seen as part of a US effort to build support in its continuing confrontation against China with its growing regional influence.
Analysts have pointed out that China’s neighbors want to avoid a direct confrontation because of economic ties. There is also the perception that all these moves against China intensified only during the Trump administration which seeks to correct the trade imbalance between the two economic giants.
But the administration may not be around much longer. President Trump of the Republican Party is facing the Democratic Party’s presidential candidate Joe Biden, who has a double-digit lead over Trump in opinion polls. Trump has been steadily losing support because of his policies and opinions on such issues as immigration and racial justice.
Then there is this COVID pandemic which has infected and killed more Americans than any other nation in the world. President Trump has generally been blamed for his handling of the problem, refusing for months to wear a face mask, thus setting a bad example for many Americans. Now he himself has fallen victim to COVID-19.
With the election only three weeks away, Trump, although still sick, chose to leave the Walter Reed Military Medical Center to return to the White House to resume his presidential campaign. There is this interplay between the election and COVID-19 issues that the whole world – not just the American electorate – will be closely watching in the next three weeks of the election campaign.
It is against this background of national politics, pandemic issues, and American world policy that Secretary of State Pompeo is now in East Asia seeking support for the US in its campaign to counter growing Chinese influence.
A State Department official reported Secretary Pompeo’s meeting with Australia Marise Payne. A statement issued by Pompeo’s State Department said they shared concerns regarding China’s “malignant activities” in the region. Significantly, no joint statements were issued in the meetings.
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