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.
“If I can help mediate or arbitrate, please let me know,” Trump said in comments at the start of a meeting with Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang in Hanoi.
Trump acknowledged that China’s position on the South China Sea, nearly all of which is claimed by Beijing, was a problem. “I’m a very good mediator and arbitrator,” he said.
The US president added that North Korea “continues to be a problem” and said he was hopeful that Chinese President Xi Jinping would “be a tremendous help”.
He said that he hoped Russia would also “be a tremendous help.”
In a series of tweets Trump said Xi was “upping sanctions” on North Korea in response to its nuclear and missile programmes and that the Chinese leader wanted Pyongyang to “denuclearise”.
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.
Additional reporting by Associated Press