Trump lands in Philippines, offers to mediate on S.China Sea

Trump lands in Philippines, offers to mediate on S.China Sea

United Nations human rights expert Agnes Callamard has been a vocal critic of the operation and called for the establishment of a "strong independent human rights institution" in the Philippines.

"When I was a teenager, I was in and out of jail", said President Duterte.

"Trump is the CEO of the imperialist government of the USA, said 18-year-old student Alexis Danday after the protesters were scattered".

He told the crowd: "I will slap her in front of you. Why?"

Human rights organizations say they are concerned that Trump will give Duterte a free pass on his drug war crackdown, by failing to mention the issue during his multi-day visit.

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.

Relations have since improved and Chinese President Xi Jinping is visiting Hanoi later on Sunday. Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam also have conflicting claims there.

"We still prefer United States and Western equipment but they are very expensive".

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.




He said that Trump and Xi had discussed ways to "prevent mishaps, misunderstandings and miscalculations" in the vital seaway.

Since Trump took office, priorities in the region lie elsewhere, with U.S. focus largely on containing the North Korean threat.

The increasing use of the phrase "Indo-Pacific" by Trump and his team during their Asian tour this week, instead of the more common "Asia-Pacific" term has been seen by analysts as an effort to depict the region as more than China-dominated.

"(US) Foreign policy in Asia has had its oxygen sucked out the room", he said. "For China, this is their time".

Trump acknowledged that China's position on the South China Sea was a problem.

The framework will be endorsed by China and the 10 nations of ASEAN in Manila on Monday, a diplomat from one of the regional bloc's countries said.

It's claims are based on its traditional "nine-dash line" - waters that extend hundreds of miles to the south and east of its island province of Hainan, abut its neighbors' claims and, in some cases, encroach upon them.

Since coming to office 16 months ago, the firebrand leader has been conciliatory to Beijing, despite a ruling by an worldwide arbitration court favoring the Philippines in its territorial dispute with China.

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