China, Vietnam reach consensus on appropriately handling contested South China Sea

Sung Kim does a “groufie” with YSEALI delegates

China claims nearly the entire South China Sea, while Taiwan, Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei all believe they have rights to certain parts.

Trump's comments come ahead of a state visit yesterday afternoon by Chinese President Xi Jinping who will meet with top communist leaders.

"Important that we cooperate to maintain peace, stability, freedom of navigation in and over-flight above the SCS (South China Sea), in accordance with global law", it said.

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

"We don't require; we don't even ask; we don't request other Asean countries to have a position with regards to the sovereignty claims of the claimants", Minh said.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said Xi, during a meeting in Danang, Vietnam, where they attended the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum this past week, assured him of China's peaceful intentions in the strategic waterway, where Beijing, the Philippines, Vietnam and three other governments have overlapping claims.

According to the new "Declaration for a Decade of Coastal and Marine Environmental Protection in the South China Sea (2017-2027)", the leaders note that "the current environmental situation in the South China Sea requires collective attention and action to protect the marine ecosystem and biodiversity".

Despite a Hague ruling that invalidated China's sweeping claims in the disputed territory, Beijing has continued to build man-made islands capable of housing military-grade weapons systems in the contested waters.

Bilateral relations plunged to their lowest level in years in 2014 when China parked a giant oil rig in an area claimed by Vietnam.

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

"I'm a very good mediator and arbitrator", Trump was quoted as saying.

And China, which has long insisted the United States has no role to play in the dispute, spoke out against what it deemed foreign interference.

The statement will be issued after a meeting later between China and the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in the Philippines capital, a diplomatic source said.

However no timeframe was announced for an actual code.

In a joint statement, Asean and China agreed to "intensify cooperation and assistance to combat corruption", as part of efforts to enhance regional cooperation under the Asean-China Strategic Partnership.

But the Philippines, after President Rodrigo Duterte took office a year ago, decided not to use the ruling to pressure China. But he said his tactics had eased tensions and opened the door to dialogue.

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