Published: Wed, November 15, 2017
World | By Melba Underwood

Trump offers to mediate in protracted South China Sea feud

Trump offers to mediate in protracted South China Sea feud

Li made no mention of the South China Sea dispute, but said China was "committed to working with ASEAN to be good neighbors, good friends, and good partners and always stand together with ASEAN, rain or shine". The South China Sea will likely be a hot topic throughout the summit, as most claimants will be attending. The incident sparked deadly anti-China protests for several weeks. Non-claimants to the issue, such as the USA, stress the necessity for freedom of navigation in the area.

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.

Trump and Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang issued a joint statement calling for the "full and effective implementation" of the declaration on the conduct of parties in the South China Sea, and for all claimants to clarify their maritime claims.

"It's our policy to settle disputes in the East Sea through peaceful negotiations and with respect for diplomatic and legal process in accordance with worldwide law, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea", he said, referring to the South China Sea.

"He knows that if he goes to war, everything will blow up".

The disputed waters were among the issues discussed during the 20th ASEAN-China Summit, which is part of the 31st ASEAN summit and related summits chaired by the Philippines this year.

Mr Trump's offer faces major obstacles, as China has steadfastly opposed what it calls United States meddling in the disputes and is unhappy about the USA navy's incursions into what Beijing considers its territorial waters in the South China Sea.

More news: North Korean soldier shot while defecting to South Korea

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.

Vietnam has become the most vocal opponent of China's moves after Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte softened his country's stance on China.

The Chinese leader, however, would not back down on Beijing's territorial claim, Mr Duterte said.

"The visit marks a new step forward in Vietnam-China relations", he said. The dispute centers around the Spratly and Paracel Islands.

"We tried to put some structures in one of the sandbars near our island and the Chinese reacted", Lorenzana told a diplomatic forum in Manila, adding that Duterte later ordered, "Let's pull out".

Mr Trump and Chinese president Xi Jinping spoke separately about the territorial rifts before an annual summit of South-east Asian nations that also includes the US, China and other global players.

Like this: