Donald Trump offers to mediate in protracted South China Sea feud

Donald Trump offers to mediate in protracted South China Sea feud

Donald Trump offers to mediate in protracted South China Sea feud

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang attends the 20th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Plus Three (APT) Commemorative Summit on the sideline of the 31st Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit in Manila on November 14, 2017.

In August, foreign ministers of the ASEAN states and China agreed to formally endorse a framework for a code of conduct on the South China Sea that was said to "cement" the regional bloc's members' and Chinese commitments to negotiate a binding code to ease tensions in the disputed waters.

"Of course, the claimant countries have to answer as a group or individually, and not one country can just give an instant reply because mediation involves all of the claimants and non-claimants", he pointed out. Non-claimants to the issue, such as the U.S., stress the necessity for freedom of navigation in the area.

Trump during his visit to Vietnam was quoted as saying: "If I can help mediate or arbitrate, please let me know". Several nations back an active American military presence in the region to serve as a counterweight to China's increasingly assertive actions, including the construction of seven man-made islands equipped with military installations.

While the South China Sea was not as dominant an issue at this summit at a time of relative calm, there was an underlying acknowledgement amongst ASEAN members that the risk of a miscalculation in the disputed waterway could flare up at anytime.

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"He acknowledged that war can not be promoted by anybody, (that) it would only mean destruction for all of us", Mr Duterte told reporters after flying back to Manila.

U.S. President Donald Trump, author of the bestseller "Art of the Deal", offered his assistance in the dispute over China's sweeping claims in the South China Sea.

President Rodrigo Duterte, this year's chairperson of Asean, was confident that the Southeast Asian leaders' meeting with China would pave the way for a "strategic parternship" between them. "They will not talk about it", Duterte said of China. I have done plenty of it from both sides.

"While the situation is calmer now, we can not take the current progress for granted", said the draft, a copy of which was seen by Reuters. He has refused to immediately take up with China a ruling by a United Nations -linked tribunal that invalidated Beijing's sprawling claims in the South China Sea, sparking criticism from nationalists and left-wing groups that wanted him to demand Chinese compliance with the landmark decision immediately.

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