South China Sea expected to top Trump agenda at ASEAN summit in the Philippines

South China Sea expected to top Trump agenda at ASEAN summit in the Philippines

In his final stop of a 12-day tour of Asia, Donald Trump will arrive in the Philippines today for talks with ASEAN leaders. South China Sea issues are expected to top the agenda. China recently pressured Manila to stop building huts on sandbars in the disputed Spratly Islands. While host President Rodrigo Duterte has cultivated closer ties

Trump Scarborough Shoal South China Sea

Photo: Getty

In his final stop of a 12-day tour of Asia, Donald Trump will arrive in the Philippines today for talks with ASEAN leaders.

South China Sea issues are expected to top the agenda. China recently pressured Manila to stop building huts on sandbars in the disputed Spratly Islands. While host President Rodrigo Duterte has cultivated closer ties with Beijing, on Thursday, Mr Duterte insisted he would “carry the voice of ASEAN” and ask Xi Jinping to clarify China’s intentions in the Sea.

Of particular interest is the Scarborough Shoal, which is claimed by both the Philippines and China. Located within the Philippine exclusive economic zone, the Shoal is a key fishing ground. Despite this, Beijing has restricted access to the disputed islands since 2012; last week, a new dredging ship was launched, which could be key to Chinese island-building on Scarborough.

ASEAN attendees have much to consider. While island-building on the Scarborough Shoal has generally been considered a ‘red line’ for Washington, Mr Trump needs China’s support to check North Korea. For his part, President Duterte appears reluctant to jeopardise relations with China.

Start your day with an open-source intelligence briefing. Download The Daily Brief app.

Posts Carousel

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Latest Posts

Top Authors

Most Commented

Featured Videos