U.S. Embassy to Colombo cited “unavoidable scheduling conflicts,” for not being able to make the trip, which would have come nearly two months after the deadly Easter Sunday terror attacks that killed more than 250 people at hotels and churches.
“Secretary Pompeo “regrets that he is no longer able to visit Colombo at this time,” the embassy said in a statement. “He hopes to travel to Sri Lanka at a later date to underscore our strong partnership with Sri Lanka, which is rooted in a commitment to democracy, economic growth and a free, open Indo-Pacific region.”
The top U.S. diplomat is traveling to India, Japan, and South Korea from June 24-30 to broaden Washington’s partnerships with allies in the Indo-Pacific region. Trade and North Korea are high on the agenda.
The secretary of state’s visit to New Delhi comes after a decision by Trump to end preferential trade treatment for India amid a deepening dispute over protectionism.
“We remain open to dialog, and we hope that our friends in India will drop their trade barriers,” said Pompeo during a recent event at the U.S.-India Business Council.
In New Delhi, Pompeo will discuss the U.S.-India strategic partnership with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who won re-election last month.
The top U.S. diplomat joins President Trump for the G20 Leaders’ Summit where Trump is expected to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping on the margins of the gathering, amid escalating trade disputes between the world’s leading economies.
The highly-anticipated Trump-Xi meeting also comes after Xi’s scheduled visit to North Korea later this week, which makes Xi the first Chinese leader to visit Pyongyang in 14 years.
Pompeo will join Trump in a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on the sidelines of G20 Summit. Following the G-20, the secretary will also accompany Trump to Seoul to meet with President Moon Jae-in, according to the State Department.
Officials say U.S., South Korean and Japanese leaders will strengthen trilateral cooperation on a unified approach to achieve “the final, fully verified denuclearization” of North Korea.