US President Donald Trump offers to mediate in Vietnam-China territorial dispute

November 12, 2017 2:05 am
President (L) attends a joint press conference with his Vietnamese counterpart, Tran Dai Quang, at the presidential palace in Hanoi, , November 12, 2017. (Photo by AFP)
US President Donald Trump has offered to help resolve an ongoing territorial dispute between Vietnam and China in the South China Sea.
“If I can help mediate or arbitrate, please let me know,” Trump told Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang during an official visit to Hanoi on Sunday.
Hanoi is in dispute with Beijing over territory in the South China Sea. Tensions over the matter spiked earlier this year when Vietnam started and then had to suspend an oil exploration project in an area of the sea.
Trump boasted of what he said were his “very good” mediation skills. “I’m a very good mediator and arbitrator,” he said.
Trump, who is on his first tour of Asia, earlier visited China. There, he praised President Xi Jinping and voiced readiness for cooperation with Beijing despite his earlier bashing of China over matters of trade.
Earlier, a Chinese official had said that the territorial disputes between China and a number of other countries in the South China Sea were not an issue between Beijing and Washington.
“We hope that as an external party, can plant more flowers and fewer thorns, help and not cause problems,” Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Zheng Zeguang said on November 3.
China is involved in territorial disputes in the South China Sea with Vietnam, Taiwan, the Philippines, Malaysia, and Brunei. Washington always sides with those other countries.
The Chinese president was also in Vietnam, in the city of Da Nang, for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)’s 25th leaders’ summit.
China’s President Xi Jinping (L) shakes hands with Vietnam’s President Tran Dai Quang on arrival for the APEC summit, in the central Vietnamese city of Da Nang, on November 11, 2017. (Photo by AFP)
In his own meetings with Vietnamese officials, President Xi said Beijing attached great importance to its relations with Hanoi and looked forward to more cooperation.
Trump will head to the Philippines on the last leg of his Asia tour later on Sunday. Trump will also be attending the three-day summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
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