Donald Trump offers to mediate on South China Sea disputes

U.S. President Donald Trump attends a press conference at the Presidential Palace in Hanoi Vietnam Sunday Nov. 12 2017

U.S. President Donald Trump attends a press conference at the Presidential Palace in Hanoi Vietnam Sunday Nov. 12 2017

US President Donald Trump said on Sunday that he was prepared to mediate between claimants to the South China Sea, which include China and Vietnam.

Xi will be holding talks in Hanoi with General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV), Nguyen Phu Trong and is expected to meet his counterpart Tran Dai Quang and the Chairperson of the National Assembly of Vietnam, Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan.

He acknowledged China's position on the South China Sea, and said he knew Vietnam had a dispute with China over the strategic waterways, adding, "I am a very good mediator and a very good arbitrator and am willing to help", the local media reported.

"We are enthusiastic about economic reforms that promote economic prosperity for all Vietnamese citizens as we look to your growing middle class as a key market for American goods and services", said Trump, adding that he would welcome Vietnam's elimination of trade barriers.

Trump was speaking to Quang at the start of their meetings in Hanoi.

During Trump's visit to Beijing last week Xi reiterated that China would strive for the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula but offered no hint that China would change tack on North Korea, with which it fought side by side in the 1950-53 Korean war against US-led forces.

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