Pompeo cuts short Asia visit as White House battles virus

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will be skipping planned stops to South Korea and Mongolia. (Reuters pic)

WASHINGTON: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will cut short his trip to Asia this week, a department spokesman said Saturday, visiting Japan but skipping planned stops to South Korea and Mongolia.

The schedule change comes as President Donald Trump is hospitalised near Washington after testing positive for Covid-19.

The US top diplomat will be in Tokyo from Sunday to Tuesday, spokesman Morgan Ortagus said in a statement, where he will meet with foreign ministers of Australia, India and Japan.

“Secretary Pompeo expects to be travelling to Asia again in October and will work to reschedule visits on that trip, that is now just a few weeks off,” she said, without mentioning Trump’s illness.

However, Pompeo touched on the topic Friday after reporters asked if Trump’s health will change his schedule.

“We’re still planning on making the trips, but we’re going to take a look at them,” he responded.

“We’ll see which one – see which or some parts of those trips make sense and which may not, and we’ll continue to on an hour-by-hour basis take a look at it.”

Pompeo had originally been scheduled to visit Ulaanbaatar on Wednesday and stop in Seoul from Wednesday to Thursday, to meet with senior officials.