PH thanks Trump for offering to mediate maritime row

PH thanks Trump for offering to mediate maritime row

Xi and Ngan also inaugurated the Hanoi China culture center which will operate in the Palace.

Tensions spiked this year when Vietnam suspended an oil exploration project in an area of the sea also claimed by Beijing, reportedly over pressure from its powerhouse communist neighbour.

US President Donald Trump, on his first Asian tour as president, offered to take on the role of peacemaker in the longstanding territorial issue.

Xi and Trump both held bilateral meetings with Vietnamese officials, in the wake of a summit of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation in the Vietnamese city of Danang.

Trump's surprise proposal to insert himself into the decades-long row risked backlash from China.

While Li did not give a timeframe, Philippines' President Rodrigo Duterte, who was chairing the regional summit, said China was being pressed to set a specific date and that Beijing responded it would "consider really fast-tracking" the code of conduct.

The long-simmering disputes are one issue where the two major powers' influence, focus and military might have been gauged, with the USA and China both calling for a peaceful resolution but taking contrasting positions in most other aspects of the conflict.

Nearly all of the South China Sea, one of the world's busiest waterways, is claimed by China.

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.

Chinese President Xi Jinping sought to allay concerns over Beijing's military buildup and the prospects of war in the South China Sea's contested waters.

An worldwide tribunal has also ruled against China's maritime claims but Beijing has refused to recognize the court's ruling.

Contempt for China runs deep in Vietnam, a country that was colonized by China for almost 1,000 years.

"Asean reiterated that it would want a peaceful resolution to the West Philippine Sea issue, that they would want a code of conduct to be concluded at the latest", he said.

According to the global tribunal in The Hague, China's historical claims have no legal basis, and some of the features it is claiming fall within the Philippines' exclusive economic zone under the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

Asked about Trump's offer, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said Monday that China remained committed to "solving the relevant disputes through dialogue and consultation with the countries directly concerned and maintaining peace and stability in the South China Sea".

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