WASHINGTON • US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will shorten his travel to Asia this week as the White House deals with the spread of the coronavirus among its top officials.
Mr Pompeo was set to arrive in Tokyo yesterday. He will stay till tomorrow for a meeting of the foreign ministers of four of the Indo-Pacific region's biggest democracies, State Department spokesman Morgan Ortagus said in a statement.
His earlier itinerary included trips to Mongolia and South Korea from tomorrow to Thursday.
President Donald Trump entered the hospital last Friday evening after announcing earlier in the day that he and First Lady Melania Trump had been diagnosed with Covid-19. His is the most prominent case in what has become an outbreak of coronavirus among top Republican leaders, and Mr Trump's inner circle.
Both Mr Pompeo and his wife have tested negative for the virus.
The US Secretary of State is meeting the foreign ministers of Japan, Australia and India - the so-called Quad group seen as a counter to China's influence in the region.
Beijing has made clear its opposition to the US' "Indo-Pacific strategy", which was conceived to elevate India as a potential regional counterweight to China.
The meeting is also one of the highest-profile diplomatic gatherings for the Trump administration before the US presidential election, where policy towards Beijing has become a major campaign issue.
It also comes as China and India try to defuse tensions on their disputed Himalayan border, after a military stand-off led to gunshots being fired over the frontier for the first time since 1975.
The Quad gathering will focus on pressing issues of the Indo-Pacific region, Ms Ortagus said.
"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.