Southeast Asian summit puts focus on trade tensions, trends

Southeast Asian summit puts focus on trade tensions, trends

While in Singapore, Moon also plans to attend regional free trade talks, known as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, involving the 10 ASEAN nations, South Korea, China, Japan, Australia, India and New Zealand.

From the 13th to the 16th, the president will be in the city-state of Singapore, ... attending summit meetings related to ASEAN, like the Korea-ASEAN summit and the ASEAN Plus Three Summit, which includes Korea, China and Japan, and the East Asian Summit.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang - for a second day - struck a conciliatory note on the trade spat, saying he was hopeful that the two sides will find a way to prevent it escalating further.

The prime minister said the trade war would inevitably create a "domino effect" that will spur other developed countries to adopt protective measures against developing nations such as Asean members. He did not directly refer to China's bruising trade war with the United States.

The potential damage to global trade caused by U.S. President Donald Trump's tariff battle with Beijing is looming as leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, China, the U.S. and other regional economies meet in Singapore this week.

"It's going to deliver real benefits for the people of our region".

Besides Pence, Modi will hold bilateral meetings with Singapore PM Lee Hsein Loong, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.

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Inward-looking, protectionist policies have gained ground in ASEAN as elsewhere, he said.

"China is ready to work with all parties to discuss how we can improve free trade and make globalization healthier", Li said. "It's going to send a message to the global community that we stand by free trade and are determined to push it forward with concrete action".

The Asean summit takes place as tensions between China and the United States run high and as both jockey for influence in the region.

China claims most of the South China Sea and has illegally constructed islands and military facilities in territory belonging to the Philippines and Vietnam.

Speaking in Singapore ahead of the opening of an Asean summit, Li said: "It is China's hope that the (code of conduct) consultation will be finished in three years' time so that it will contribute to enduring peace and stability in the South China Sea".

Should ASEAN agree on a new code of conduct in disputed waters, Bolton asserted it "has to be mutually acceptable, and also has to be acceptable to all the countries that have legitimate maritime and naval rights to transit and other associate rights that we don't want to see infringed".

Last week, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis urged their Chinese counterparts to halt militarization of the South China Sea, drawing a rebuke from the Chinese for sending U.S. warships close to islands claimed by Beijing.

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