30th ASEAN Summit Shows the Rising Influence of China in Asia

30th ASEAN Summit Shows the Rising Influence of China in Asia

"I said I agree, you (China) can have a joint exercise here in Mindanao.in the Sulu Sea", he said.

The invitation for Duterte to the visit White House at an unspecified date appeared to be the latest example of the affinity Trump has shown for some foreign leaders with shaky human rights or autocratic reputations.

"We took note of the concerns expressed by some leaders over the recent developments in the area".

Tensions between the United States and North Korea have intensified, with the latter conducting another ballistic missile test Friday, just hours after the U.S. convened a United Nations meeting to demand more pressure on the isolated country.

North Korea's nuclear tests and the territorial disputes in the South China Sea dominated the discussions of the leaders of the 10-member Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) at their meetings in Manila on Saturday.

Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Myanmar, countries with no stake in the South China Sea, have already courted Beijing for investment and arms with the understanding that it would need to vote Beijing's way on certain matters.

As a sign of Mr Duterte's friendship with Beijing, three Chinese navy vessels on Sunday made a rare visit to the Philippines.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte addresses the media during his joint press statement with Indonesian President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo following their bilateral meeting at the Malacanang Palace in Manila, Philippines Friday. China, however, does not recognize this ruling.

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Southeast Asian leaders pose for a family photo following their retreat in the 30th ASEAN Leaders' Summit Saturday, April 29, 2017 in Manila, Philippines.

On Sunday, three Chinese navy ships, including a guided-missile destroyer and a guided-missile frigate, were welcomed in Davao city, Duterte's southern hometown, by officials, including presidential daughter and city Mayor Sarah Duterte, military officials said.

Singapore, which has consistently urged all claimant states to respect global law and the arbitration ruling, has increased military cooperation with the USA, which enjoys long-term access to the city-state's Changi port.

Concern over the standoff between North Korea and President Donald Trump's administration also was high on the agenda of the ASEAN summit.

"They should be free from any interference from any countries".

Meanwhile, Kuala Lumpur is quietly building up its military presence close to disputed land features in the South China Sea as China expands its coast guard and fishing activities within Malaysia's Exclusive Economic Zone.

Duterte has repeatedly said the Philippines and other nations are helpless to stop the island-building, so there is no point challenging China in diplomatic and legal circles. The South China Sea is a lucrative area as it contains ample oil, gas and fishery resources, while also facilitating some United States dollars $5 trillion worth of trade each year (hence being one of the world's key seaborne trade routes). He later clarified his comments about relations with the United States, saying he was rather pursuing a "separation of foreign policy" from the US.

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