Duterte welcomes Trump to Philippines

Beijing China. Thomas Peter-Pool  Getty Images

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Friday he can envision the US and North Korea agreeing to hold talks at some point as a precursor to formal negotiations.

Duterte is hosting the two days of summits as the rotating chair of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

While China is frustrated with the intractable nuclear standoff, the USA focus on it does afford China "a lot of strategic opportunities", Harry Kazianis, director of Defense Studies at the Center for the National Interest told CNN ahead of Trump's Asia trip.

Before his arrival, Trump had met with President Rodrigo Duterte on the sidelines of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation meetings in Danang, Vietnam.

Duterte was unable to attend the Gala dinner hosted by President Tran Dai Quang last Friday.

US President Donald Trump has offered his services as a "mediator and arbitrator" over disputed territorial claims South China Sea issue, one of the most pressing issues for many of Asia's leaders. "What the hell? For me, they can add to that, make it 50,000".

Ahead of the next regional meetings, the ASEAN summit in Manila, Chinese state media reported that Xi pledged to work with China's ASEAN partners "to maintain peace and stability, as well as development and prosperity".

The Trump administration has avoid criticizing Duterte's drug war, even going so far to praise his efforts.


"The two sides returned to the track of appropriately handling the South China Sea issue through dialogue and consultation, thus removing the stumbling block that has held back our bilateral relations for several years", Li said.

The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines said Trump arrived in Manila at 5:45 p.m.

China, Taiwan, Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei all have competing claims to various island chains in the South China Sea.

Trump headed to Manila later yesterday for the final stop on his marathon Asia tour that has mainly focused on building regional consensus against North Korea's nuclear ambitions and espousing his "America First" vision of global trade.

"Ladies and gentlemen, I sang an invited duet with Ms. Pilita Corrales upon the orders of the Commander-in-Chief of the United States", the Philippine president revealed.

In August, foreign ministers of Southeast Asia and China adopted a negotiating framework for a code of conduct in the South China Sea, a move they hailed as progress but one seen by critics as a tactic to buy China time to consolidate its power.

US Navy ships have also carried out freedom of navigation patrols in the area, angering China, which says the territorial issues should be handled directly between countries in the region. The country claims a huge swathe of the South China Sea.

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