Trump offers to mediate in South China Sea dispute

Trump offers to mediate in South China Sea dispute

The demonstrators carried placards reading "Dump Trump" and "Down with U.S. Imperialism", the report said.

"We have to be friends, the other hotheads would like us to confront China and the rest of the world on so many issues", Duterte said at a ceremony on the eve of a summit of East and Southeast Asian nations in the Philippine capital.

President of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte sang on stage at the request of President Donald Trump, who is presently in the Philippines for an official visit.

The two met on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in the Vietnamese resort city of Danang.

In Hanoi earlier on Sunday, Trump said he was prepared to mediate between claimants to the South China Sea, where four ASEAN countries and Taiwan contest China's sweeping claims to the busy waterway. He added that he is "a very good mediator and arbitrator". ASEAN meets with China and the US early in the week ahead of a joint meeting with the leaders of nations including the US, China, Japan, Australia, India and Russian Federation.

"As the American people and peoples of the world condemned US president Trump for its war-mongering and outright repression in the US, Duterte is inevitable to follow, as the number of poor Filipinos fed up of his empty promises and pointless rhetorics, are mounting, it is a matter of time for him to follow the footsteps of his idol dictator and ousted Ferdinand Marcos", Casilao said. Trump has previously praised Duterte's handling of his nation's drug problems.

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China claims nearly the entire South China Sea, with competing claims from Taiwan, Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei.

The South China Sea dispute will be one of the major issues at the East Asia Summit in The Philippines this week.

Tensions in the contested waters have ratcheted up since 2014 as China has turned sandbars into islands, equipping them with airfields, ports and weapons systems and warned U.S. warships and aircraft to stay away from them.

Trump headed to Manila later yesterday for the final stop on his marathon Asia tour that has mainly focused on building regional consensus against North Korea's nuclear ambitions and espousing his "America First" vision of global trade. The South China Sea will likely be a hot topic throughout the summit, as most claimants will be attending.

The framework will be endorsed by China and the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) on Monday, a diplomat from one of the regional bloc's countries said. The country claims a huge swathe of the South China Sea.

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