Xi Jinping: China to Maintain Peace in the South China Sea

Rodrigo Duterte admits stabbing rival to death when he was 16

In a joint news conference, Quang said he had "shared my thoughts with (Trump) on the recent developments in this area and it is our policy to settle disputes in the South China Sea through peaceful negotiations, and with respect for diplomatic and legal process in accordance with worldwide law, including the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea".

Protesters shout slogans during a protest against US President Donald Trump's visit at the Philippine International Convention Centre in Manila November 11, 2017.

The summit of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) countries in Vietnam put on show the contrasting vision of the "America First" policy with the traditional consensus favouring multinational deals that China now seeks to champion.

"If I can help mediate or arbitrate, please let me know", Trump said at a meeting with Vietnam's president, Tran Dai Quang.

"The South China Sea is better left untouched, nobody can afford to go to war".

The controversial issue was also understood to have figured in a meeting of officials from India, the US, Japan, and Australia under the proposed Quadrilateral coalition of the four countries. Trump told Duterte in a telephone call in April that he was doing a "great job" with his campaign against drugs.

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.

The US President, who expressed his great friendship with Chinese president Xi Jinping in the early stage of his Asia tour, acknowledged in Vietnam that China's position on the South China Sea, almost all of which is claimed by Beijing, was a problem.

The Philippines has historically been the United States' strongest ally in the region.

The comments came ahead of an Association of South-east Asian Nations (ASEAN) meeting in Manila, which starts on Sunday. The South China Sea will likely be a hot topic throughout the summit, as most claimants will be attending. The dispute centers around the Spratly and Paracel Islands.

China and Vietnam need to "stay committed to seeking a fundamental and durable solution to their maritime issues acceptable to both sides through friendly consultation", Xi said in an article published by the state-run Xinhua news agency Thursday - before Xi's arrival in Vietnam.

India has been supporting freedom of navigation and access to resources in the South China Sea in accordance with principles of global law, including the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

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