Vietnam, China avoid quarrel over South China Sea during visit

It will be the first meeting between the two leaders following a proposal to have a quadrilateral alliance among India the US Japan and Australia

Duterte, however, said the Chinese leader would not back down on Beijing's territorial claim and justified his decision not to immediately demand Chinese compliance with a ruling by a United Nations -linked tribunal that invalidated China's sweeping claims in the South China Sea on historical grounds.

In August, ASEAN and China approved a framework for a code of conduct in the South China Sea.

Reefs and islands in the South China Sea are disputed by Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Taiwan, as well as China and Vietnam.

China's Xinhua news agency said China and Vietnam had agreed to properly handle maritime issues and strive to maintain peace and stability.

China claims almost all of the strategically vital sea, through which $5 trillion in shipping trade passes annually.

The text of the China-Asean Declaration was released after the leaders of the 10-member Asean, led by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang met earlier in the day in Manila.

Mr Trump and Chinese president Xi Jinping spoke separately about the territorial rifts before an annual summit of South-east Asian nations that also includes the US, China and other global players.

Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano did not directly answer when asked about Trump's offer.

According to the worldwide tribunal in The Hague, China's historical claims have no legal basis, and some of the features it is claiming fall within the Philippines' exclusive economic zone under the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

Duterte has grown closer to China since he took office a year ago and Vietnam has emerged as Beijing's main challenger in the area.

In 2013, the Philippines filed an worldwide arbitration case against China, and scored victory three years later.

"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 at a business conference. Duterte took steps to thaw frosty relations with China after he won the presidency previous year.

"If I can help mediate or arbitrate, please let me know..."

To mend the strained relations of the Philippines and China, Duterte, who came into power in 2016, made a decision to temporarily set aside the arbitration ruling. I have done plenty of it from both sides.

"While the situation is calmer now, we can not take the current progress for granted", said the draft, a copy of which was seen by Reuters. Duterte hosted a gala dinner Sunday for leaders including Trump, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who all wore traditional barong shirts. He has refused to immediately take up with China a ruling by a United Nations -linked tribunal that invalidated Beijing's sprawling claims in the South China Sea, sparking criticism from nationalists and left-wing groups that wanted him to demand Chinese compliance with the landmark decision immediately.

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