Speed Reads

asia tour 2017

Trump offers to help the Philippines negotiate with China because he is 'a very good mediator'

President Trump arrived in the Philippines from Vietnam on Sunday, where he was greeted by controversial Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, who has been accused of human rights abuses including the promotion of extrajudicial killings. Trump offered Duterte mediation assistance in his country's dispute with China over the South China Sea, calling himself "a very good mediator and arbitrator."

Duterte, while amicable, declined the offer. "We have to be friends, the other hotheads would like us to confront China and the rest of the world on so many issues," he said. "The South China Sea is better left untouched, nobody can afford to go to war. It can ill-afford a violent confrontation."

This is the last stop in Trump's inaugural tour of Asia as president; he will have more formal meetings with Duterte on Monday.