On South China Sea dispute : Trump says ‘ I can help. I am a very good mediator’
WORLD ( Hanoi ) : At the start of the meeting in Hanoi on Sunday with Vietnam’s president Tran Dai Quang, President Donald Trump says he’s prepared to mediate between claimants in the South China Sea dispute, telling Vietnam’s president that he’s a very good mediator.
“If I can help mediate or arbitrate, please let me know,” Trump said. He acknowledged that China’s position on the South China Sea, nearly all of which is claimed by Beijing, was a problem. “I’m a very good mediator and arbitrator,” he said.
CNN reports that Trump speaking to his Vietnamese counterpart said he could employ his diplomatic skills to help Asian nations come to an agreement over competing maritime claims. “I can help mediate and arbitrate. Please let me know,” Trump said. “I know you’ve had a dispute for quite a while with China, if I can help in any way, I’m a very good mediator and a very good arbitrator.” “I’ve done plenty of it from both sides, so if I can help you, let me know,” he added.
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 international law, including the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.” China is claimant to swathes of ocean, extending far outside its internationally agreed 200-mile economic exclusion zone (EEZ). Several other Asian nations hold overlapping claims to areas of ocean and shoals, islands and sandbars, making the issue a regional flashpoint. In the current 31st ASEAN Summit in Manila, the matter of South China sea is expected to be tackled upon and 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.”