Philippines president says South China Sea row 'better left untouched'

FILE Chinese Premier Li Keqiang speaks on urbanisation at a high-level conference co-organised by Friends of Europe

Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang said Sunday that his country wants to end disputes in the South China Sea through peaceful means.

Trump's time in the Philippines will be a delicate balancing act between praise and frankness with Duterte, a leader whose war on drugs has led to thousands of extrajudicial killings and drawn global condemnation.

United States President Donald Trump made it clear to President Duterte that he is seeing him in Manila today for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and East Asia summits.

Trump, who has been urged to confront Duterte on human rights, praised the Philippine leader in May for doing an "unbelievable job on the drug problem".

The report added that Duterte had pledged that his nation will handle "maritime issues through bilateral channels in accordance with the consensus reached by the two sides". Human rights is unlikely to be on the agenda.

Duterte won last year's presidential elections after promising to eradicate illegal drugs with an unprecedented crackdown that would see up to 100,000 people killed.

Upon winning election past year, he implemented a drug war that has seen thousands of people killed, including children.

When people in the crowd laughed, Duterte assured them he wasn't kidding.

"A real person. During a rumble".

"Trump is the CEO of the imperialist government of the US, said 18-year-old student Alexis Danday after the protesters were scattered".

A spokesman for the Philippine President said later that he thought the comment "was in jest".

Chinese President Xi Jinping received a red carpet welcome at the start of his state visit to Vietnam Sunday despite growing tensions between the two communist countries.

But Trump and Duterte have expressed mutual admiration for other.

"How much more now that I am President?" he concluded, to laughter from the audience.

But the ICC has yet to respond and, despite some vocal critics in the West, Duterte goes into the Manila summits full of confidence that Trump and the others will effectively endorse his rule by not speaking against the killings.

A Trump administration official, in previewing the visit, stressed that Trump and Duterte have "a warm rapport".

Duterte boasts that as mayor of the southern city of Davao, he has killed suspects to serve as an example to his police officers.

"While the South Korean people are opposing war threats against the north and demanding peace in the region, here is the president of the Philippines who could not even commit to peace in his own country, allowing the country as a launching pad of United States aggression and putting the Filipino population to the danger of nuclear obliteration", he said in a statement.

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