World News

Trump asks Chinese president to help UCLA trio

Trump asks Chinese president to help UCLA trio

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.

President Trump personally asked Chinese leader Xi Jinping to help resolve the case of three UCLA basketball players who were arrested for shoplifting while in China for a tournament last week, according to a report Monday. Trump said nothing about human rights in China, letting Xi believe it's no longer an American priority.

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

Since coming to office 16 months ago, the firebrand leader has been conciliatory to Beijing, despite a ruling by an worldwide arbitration court favoring the Philippines in its territorial dispute with China.

According to the new "Declaration for a Decade of Coastal and Marine Environmental Protection in the South China Sea (2017-2027)", the leaders note that "the current environmental situation in the South China Sea requires collective attention and action to protect the marine ecosystem and biodiversity". Beijing's sweeping claims also overlap with those of the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei, and Taiwan.

At the meeting's formal opening on Monday, Duterte made no mention of the South China Sea and pointed to other triggers for a threat of violence in the region.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano on Sunday thanked United States President Donald Trump for his offer to mediate in sea disputes in the South China Sea, but said that Southeast Asian countries will need to arrive at a consensus before taking the deal.

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Mr Duterte took steps to thaw frosty relations with China after he won the presidency previous year.

China, Taiwan and four ASEAN member states-Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam-have overlapping claims in the waterway, which straddles busy worldwide sea lanes and potentially has vast undersea deposits of oil and gas.

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

The statement expresses trust "that we will continue this positive momentum and work towards a substantive and effective COC" and looks forward to the code's early conclusion.

"I assure you that the relations between the two countries are strong, as always been, no problem for that".

In a speech at the start of the meeting, Li insisted on China's peaceful intentions and said it was the first country to accede to a 1976 nonaggression treaty signed by ASEAN.

Citing a source with firsthand knowledge of the investigation, ESPN reported the players could be in Hangzhou for "a week or two" while the situation is resolved.


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