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Trump offers to mediate on South China Sea
13 November 2017, 12:52 | Darnell Patrick
The Philippine-claimed Thitu Island off the disputed South China Sea in western Philippines
"I've done plenty of it from both sides, so if I can help you, let me know", he added. The disputes are expected to get the spotlight at the summit, along with the North Korean nuclear threat and terrorism.
In August, the foreign ministers of the Southeast Asian countries and China adopted a negotiating framework for a code of conduct in the South China Sea, although critics see it as a tactic to buy China time to consolidate its power. "Unbridled, undisturbed, unmolested while we use that small way from the Indian Ocean. facing Palawan", Duterte said, referencing the southern Philippines province which juts out into the South China Sea.
"I mean there's an bad lot of reported extrajudicial heavy-handedness", Kelly told a group of reporters after a presidential news conference in Vietnam on Sunday morning, hours before Trump was set to fly to the Philippines.
Trump's offer faces major obstacles.
Vietnam has courted support from Washington in the row, in the face of Beijing's efforts in recent years to cement its claims by building artificial islands in disputed areas.
From Vietnam, Trump left for the Philippines - the last stop on his tour - for a meeting with leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
I am a very good mediator, " the deal-making American leader told Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang during an official state visit.
"He acknowledged that war can not be promoted by anybody, (that) it would only mean destruction for all of us", Duterte told reporters after flying back to Manila.
Duterte said earlier in the week that he planned to ask China to make clear its intentions in the South China Sea.
China has dismissed that ruling as a "sham" and did not participate in the arbitration case that the Philippines filed during the administration of Duterte's predecessor.
Whilst in Vietnam, Chinese Premier Xi Jinping also discussed the South China Sea issue with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, which has claims in the region.
"The discussions focused on cooperation based on their converging vision and values for the promotion of peace, stability and prosperity in an increasingly inter-connected region that they share with each other and with other partners", the ministry of external affairs (MEA) said.
The ASEAN summit opens Monday under extra-tight security at a theater and convention complex by Manila Bay.
Vietnamese and US companies signed memorandums of understanding on gas development and automobiles as well as aircraft engine purchase and support during Trump's visit.
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