Xi calls on China, Vietnam to enhance high-level strategic communication

Trump and Putin stand side by side for APEC family

The Chinese leader, however, would not back down on Beijing's territorial claim, Duterte said, and justified his decision not to immediately demand Chinese compliance with a ruling by a United Nations -linked tribunal that invalidated China's sweeping claims in the South China Sea on historical grounds.

Vietnam gave Chinese President Xi Jinping the red carpet treatment on Sunday at the start of a state visit, as the two communist neighbours try to broaden their economic ties and resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea. From left, with formal titles: Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak, Myanmar's State Counsellor and Foreign Minister Aung San Suu Kyi, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Mr Li, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Brunei's Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, Indonesia's President Joko Widodo and Laos' Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith.

The commitment was made by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang during the 20th Asean-China summit held at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City.

FILE PHOTO - Satellite photo shows Chinese-controlled Tree Island, part of the Paracel Islands group in the South China Sea, on October 12, 2017.

"I'm a very good mediator and arbitrator", Trump said Sunday at a news conference with Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang in Vietnam's capital, Hanoi, before flying to Manila for the summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

"We believe that regional countries have the will, wisdom and capability to deal with the South China Sea issue in a proper way", Geng said, without directly mentioning Trump's offer.


"Li said China is the largest country in the South China Sea and a major nation that uses the lanes in the sea, thus China shows more interest in safeguarding peace, stability, and navigation freedom in the South China Sea than any other country in the world", Xinhua said.

All the claimants were in attendance at the summit in the Philippines, except for Taiwan.

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.

After the Philippines backed China's position, ASEAN agreed it would not have legal force.

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. I have done plenty of it from both sides.

"If I can help mediate or arbitrate, please let me know..." 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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