Trump arrives in Philippines amid protests

Saul Bowman
November 13, 2017

At the start of his meeting with Vietnam's president Tran Dai Quang, he said he was prepared to act as mediator between claimants to the South China Sea, which include Vietnam and China.

U.S. president Donald Trump (L) and Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte with wife Cielito Avancena during a photo session at a dinner marking the 50th birthday of ASEAN, on the eve of the 12th East Asia Summit.

Duterte and Trump will likely talk about the North Korean threat and the overall security situation in the region, particularly the South China Sea dispute.

Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam also have conflicting claims there.

Trump's Asian tour comes as the USA rallies for tougher sanctions against North Korea's nuclear program and ballistic missile tests.

Among guests at the dinner were Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, United States President Donald Trump and Premier Li Keqiang of China.


Amy Searight, senior adviser of the Southeast Asia Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told reporters before the trip that she expects Duterte to roll out the red carpet for Trump because he "sees this as an opportunity to somewhat reset US-Philippine relations".

Carrying placards declaring "Dump Trump" and "Down with U.S. Imperialism", the left-wing protesters were blocked by police in riot gear with shields and batons, and then showered with jets of water from a fire engine. "Stabbing. That was when I was 16 years old, just because we just looked at each other", he said.

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. Both Trump and Xi were following on from the latest APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) summit that concluded Saturday in the coastal city of Danang, 470 miles (750 kilometers) south of Hanoi.

In August, foreign ministers of Southeast Asia and China adopted a negotiating framework for a code of conduct in the resource-rich waterway, a move they hailed as progress but one seen by critics as a tactic to buy China time to consolidate its power.

With China's provocative actions in the South China Sea, Roque said the issue is expected to be discussed by the two leaders.

India has been supporting freedom of navigation and access to resources in the South China Sea in accordance with principles of global law, including the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

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