Donald Trump and his counterpart Nguyen Xuan Phuc said for international community the disputed South China Sea has a strategic significance and any unlawful restriction on the freedom of the seas will destabilise peace in the Asia-Pacific region. These two leaders emphasised the importance of overflight and freedom of navigation and other lawful uses of the seas in the middle of China’s expansionist behaviour in the disputed region.
According to a joint statement issued after their meeting here, they declare their support for the peaceful resolution of disputes without any threat or use of force in accordance with the international law. Both the leaders forced all parties that is involved in the South China Sea dispute to implement their international legal obligations in good faith and refrain from actions that would escalate tensions. While, the Trump stressed that the US will continue to sail and fly and operate anywhere international law.
Since Trump’s presidential inauguration in January, Phuc is the first Southeast Asia leader to visit the White House and vietnam could play as a key player role in the US long term relation with Southeast Asia to push aim at neutralising Beijing’s influence, in South China where China has territorial disputes with several countries that also includes Vietnam. Phuc visited US when us President appeared to have relaxed his strings on China after securing business deals with the country he accused of manipulating currency during his presidential campaign.
However, yesterday Trump reaffirmed US commitment to the US-ASEAN Strategic Partnership to support common efforts in developing a rules based ASEAN community and centrality for regional architecture. A regional grouping of 10 Southeast Asian states is Association of Southeast Asian Nations and promote intergovernmental cooperation, Pan Asianism and facilitates political and economical integration amongst its members.
Trump said, “US and Vietnam were in discussion on some major topics like trade etc. They have just made a large order on the US and we appreciate that for many billions of dollars, which means jobs for the US and equipment for Vietnam.”
Phuc said the ties between US and Vietnam have undergone significant upheavals, but they have also improved a lot. He said he was very impressed with Trump’s openness and friendliness. Both of them also expressed their concern for North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programme, and according to them which is violating United Nations Security Council resolutions and increasing tensions in the region. On all relevant UNSC resolutions they called for strict implementation against Pyongyang, for reaffirming their support for denuclearize the Korean Peninsula.