by WorldTribune Staff, November 12, 2017
U.S. President Donald Trump, author of the bestseller “Art of the Deal”, offered his assistance in the dispute over China’s sweeping claims in the South China Sea.
“I know we’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 have done plenty of it from both sides. So if I can help you, let me know.” Trump said in Vietnam on Nov. 12 before leaving to attend a summit of Asian leaders in the Philippines.
Trump and Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang issued a joint statement calling for the “full and effective implementation” of the declaration on the conduct of parties in the South China Sea, and for all claimants to clarify their maritime claims.
China claims to control most of the South China Sea. Its claims are contested by Vietnam, Taiwan, Malaysia, the Philippines and Brunei.
All the claimants were in attendance at the summit in the Philippines, except for Taiwan.
The stop in the Philippines is the last leg of a tour that has taken Trump to Japan, South Korea and China as well as Vietnam, the longest Asia trip by a U.S. president in more than 25 years.
Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte, the host of the summit in Manila, responded to Trump’s offer to help with the contested waterway.
“We have to be friends, the other hotheads would like us to confront China and the rest of the world on so many issues,” Duterte said. “The South China Sea is better left untouched, nobody can afford to go to war. It can ill-afford a violent confrontation.”