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Southeast Asia nations to start talks with China on sea code
14 November 2017, 04:26 | Sandy Nunez
Trump offers to mediate on South China Sea dispute
President Trump personally asked his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, to help resolve the case of three UCLA men's basketball players who were arrested for shoplifting while in Hangzhou for a tournament last week, people familiar with the situation said Monday.
Arriving the day after the players were arrested, Trump reportedly raised the players' predicament during his visit to Beijing.
"While the situation is calmer now, we can not take the current progress for granted", said the draft, a copy of which was seen by Reuters.
The Philippines had been the most vigorous critic of Chinese territorial claims, but Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has recently dialed back his country's objections, leaving Vietnam as the leading critic.
Mr Trump's offer faces major obstacles, as China has steadfastly opposed what it calls USA meddling in the disputes and is unhappy about the U.S. navy's incursions into what Beijing considers its territorial waters in the South China Sea. "He knows that if he goes to war, everything will blow up". "They will not talk about it", Mr Duterte said. They made no public mention of the UCLA case.
The two parties said it "is important that we cooperate to maintain peace, stability, freedom of navigation in and overflight above the SCS, in accordance with worldwide law", including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
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Vietnam has long courted support from Washington in its dispute with China over the precious waterway where Beijing has built military installations and artificial islands.
The ASEAN leaders will express "grave concern" over North Korea's development of "weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear and chemical weapons, and ballistic missile technologies", and strongly condemn terrorism, according to a draft of a summit communique seen by The Associated Press. They did not fly home with the team, and ESPN has reported that authorities have surveillance footage and that the players could be required to remain in Hangzhou for a week or two. At $32 billion previous year, it was the sixth largest with the United States, though less than a tenth the size of China's.
Contempt for China runs deep in Vietnam, a country that was colonized by China for almost 1,000 years.
Vietnamese and United States companies signed memorandums of understanding on gas development and automobiles as well as aircraft engine purchase and support during Trump's visit.
Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang said Sunday that his country wants to end disputes in the South China Sea through peaceful means.
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