Pentagon chief to begin East Asia trip next week

US Defence Secretary Mark Esper

Washington,  US Defence Secretary Mark Esper will travel to South Korea, Thailand, the Philippines, and Vietnam next week, the Pentagon has said in a statement.

Esper’s trip starts on November 13, and his first stop is South Korea, where he will attend the 51st US-South Korea security consultative meeting and discuss the alliance with his counterpart and other senior South Korean officials, according to the statement on Thursday.

The Pentagon chief will then participate in the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM-Plus) in Thailand. Later, Esper will visit the Philippines and Vietnam, meeting his counterparts of the two Southeast Asian countries.

ADMM-Plus is a multilateral platform that was attended by the defence ministers of ASEAN members as well as ASEAN’s eight Plus partners, namely Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, Russia, and the US.