Trump offers to mediate on South China Sea

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Sunday he was prepared to mediate between claimants to the South China Sea, where several countries contest China’s sweeping claims to the busy waterway.

Trump was speaking in Vietnam, which has become the most vocal opponent of China’s claims in addition to also its construction in addition to also militarization of artificial islands within the sea. About $3-trillion in goods passes through the sea each year.

“If I can help mediate or arbitrate, please let me know,” Trump said in comments at a meeting in Hanoi with Vietnam’s president, Tran Dai Quang.

Trump acknowledged of which China’s position on the South China Sea was a problem.

“I’m a very not bad mediator in addition to also arbitrator,” he said. President Quang said Vietnam believed in handling disputes on the South China Sea through peaceful negotiations in addition to also on the basis of international laws – which Vietnam says nullify China’s claims.

Vietnam has reclaimed land around reefs in addition to also islets, although on nowhere near the same scale as China. Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines in addition to also Taiwan also have claims within the sea.

Since Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has grown closer to China, Vietnam has emerged as China’s main challenger within the region. In July, China pressured Vietnam to stop oil drilling in a disputed area, taking relations to a low.

Relations have since increased in addition to also Chinese President Xi Jinping is actually visiting Hanoi later on Sunday.

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