PH thanks Trump for offering to mediate maritime row

PH values friendship with China 'more than anything else' – Duterte

Xi tells Duterte China will work to safeguard South China Sea peace

Countries in the region were willing and able to appropriately handle the South China Sea issue, Geng added.

Ahead of the annual summit of the ASEAN, an influential grouping of 10 South East Asian countries, a number of diplomats said the thorny issue of China's aggressive military buildup in the South China Sea may be one of the focus areas of the deliberations on Tuesday.

Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano on Sunday said the Philippines appreciates the offer of United States President Donald Trump to fill in a mediator role in the existing dispute between China and littoral countries in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).

"Unbridled, undisturbed, unmolested while we use that small way from the Indian Ocean. facing Palawan", Duterte said, referencing the southern Philippines province which juts out into the South China Sea.

Manila hosted the APEC summit two years ago, and at that meeting Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau won a Twitter poll with the hashtag #APEChottie that asked people to vote for the most attractive leader there.

U.S. President Donald Trump, author of the bestseller "Art of the Deal", offered his assistance in the dispute over China's sweeping claims in the South China Sea.

Duterte also said he "might" raise the issue of the South China Sea dispute with Trump, alongside trade, Islamic extremism and terrorism, according to a statement. Taiwan and four ASEAN nations - Malaysia, Vietnam, the Philippines and Brunei - have competing claims.

The United States has angered China with freedom of navigation patrols close to Chinese-controlled islands. For one, China has steadfastly opposed what it calls U.S. meddling in the disputes and has balked at the U.S. Navy's incursions into what Beijing considers its territorial waters in the South China Sea. On Sunday, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte suggested that, despite their differences, the leaders should not discuss the South China Sea. Nobody can afford to go to war.

Trump was speaking to Quang at the start of their meetings in Hanoi. "It can ill-afford a violent confrontation". Vietnam has lobbied ASEAN countries to take a tougher stand against China as the regional group negotiates a maritime code of conduct.

"In any conflict around the world, you want peace and stability". "These and other issues are high on the agenda of our meeting".

Duterte - sometimes described as the "Trump of the East" because of his brash style - said last week he would tell the USA president to "lay off" if he raised the issue of human rights when they met. In July, China pressured Vietnam to stop oil drilling in a disputed area, taking relations to a new low.

"China will work with the Philippines to continue to properly handle the maritime issues through friendly bilateral consultation by giving full play to such mechanisms as the Bilateral Consultation Mechanism on the South China Sea", Li wrote.

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