Trump willing to help mediate between claimants of South China Sea

13 November, 2017, 00:51 | Author: Valerie Burke
  • The South China Sea

US President Donald Trump said on Saturday that China was helping to rein in North Korea, but he hoped Beijing would do more. Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam also have conflicting claims there.

"I'm a very good mediator and arbitrator", he said.

"China is to work with ASEAN countries to maintain peace and stability, as well as development and prosperity in the South China Sea region", Xi Jinping said at the leaders' meeting on Sunday.

Duterte revealed that Chinese President Xi Jinping signaled to him during a meeting that he wanted peace in the region, saying he does not want to "waste the lives of my countrymen for a useless war that can not be won by anyone".

Vietnam has long courted support from Washington in its dispute with China over the precious waterway where Beijing has built military installations and artificial islands.

Kelly, Trump's chief of staff, said human rights would be a "hot topic" in the Philippines but declined to make definitive statements about Duterte's possible role in abuses-or whether reports of abuses were true.

"We have to be friends, the other hotheads would like us to confront China and the rest of the world on so many issues", Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte said at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit in the Philippines capital, Manila, on Sunday.

The United States has criticized China's construction of islands and its build-up of military facilities in the sea, and is concerned they could be used to restrict free nautical movement.

The long-simmering disputes are one issue where the two major powers' influence, focus and military might have been gauged, with the USA and China both calling for a peaceful resolution but taking contrasting positions in most other aspects of the conflict.

He said that Trump and Xi had discussed ways to "prevent mishaps, misunderstandings and miscalculations" in the vital seaway. For one, China has steadfastly opposed what it calls U.S. meddling in the disputes and has balked at the U.S. Navy's incursions into what Beijing considers its territorial waters in the South China Sea. At $32 billion previous year, it was the sixth largest with the United States, though less than a tenth the size of China's. China bridled against interference by outside countries.

In recent days, North Korean state-run media has taken to referring to Mr Trump's age. The country claims a huge swathe of the South China Sea. The Hague rejected China's territorial claim to the maritime area in 2016 and found in favour of the Philippines, but China rejected the ruling.

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