China to build 'shared future' with 'good friend' ASEAN, Chinese premier says

Pauline Gross
November 15, 2017

Days after the USA leader met with Xi in Beijing, Trump made a surprise offer to Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang in Hanoi.

Four ASEAN members - the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia, and Vietnam - have overlapping claims with China in the strategic waterway where about $3 billion in goods pass annually.

"China's greatest hope is for peace and stability in the South China Sea", Li told ASEAN leaders in Manila.

According to the new "Declaration for a Decade of Coastal and Marine Environmental Protection in the South China Sea (2017-2027)", the leaders note that "the current environmental situation in the South China Sea requires collective attention and action to protect the marine ecosystem and biodiversity".

AMID the simmering dispute over the South China Sea, China on Monday, November 13, pledged to be a "good neighbor and friend" to the members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean).

Xi and Nguyen Phu Trong, general secretary of the Vietnamese Communist Party, reviewed an honour guard and headed for talks behind closed doors.

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".

"Of course, the claimant countries have to answer as a group or individually, and not one country can just give an instant reply because mediation involves all of the claimants and non-claimants", he pointed out.

After the Philippines backed China's position, ASEAN agreed it would not have legal force.

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Duterte has grown closer to China since he took office past year and Vietnam has emerged as Beijing's main challenger in the area.

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.

"I know we've had a dispute for quite a while with China".

"If you go to the negotiating table and you start with the statement that I am here to claim validity of our ownership, you're wasting your time".

To mend the strained relations of the Philippines and China, Duterte, who came into power in 2016, chose to temporarily set aside the arbitration ruling.

Lorenzana said the rift over the tiny sandbar near the Philippine-occupied Thitu island in the Spratlys archipelago remains unresolved but both sides pledged not to occupy any new territory.

"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 Chinese leader, however, would not back down on Beijing's territorial claim, Mr Duterte said.

Other reports by GizPress

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