Published: Wed, November 14, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

China-backed trade deal

China-backed trade deal

On the sidelines of the ASEAN and APEC summits, Moon also plans to hold a series of one-on-one meetings with other world leaders, including Russian President Vladimir Putin and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

Thailand's Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha delivers his speech during the ASEAN Business and Investment Summit on the sidelines of the 33rd Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit and Related meetings in Singapore, 13 November 2018.

"The existing free, open and rules-based multilateral system, which has underpinned ASEAN's growth and stability, has come under stress", Lee said.

Trump's security adviser, John Bolton, told reporters on Tuesday that the ASEAN meetings tended to be relatively flexible and Pence's schedule was still being decided, but that some would be aimed at preparing for a meeting between China's president and Trump at the G-20 meeting in Argentina later this month.

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad broke ASEAN's normally cordial protocols by telling reporters Aung San Suu Kyi was "defending the indefensible" by not speaking up for the Rohingya - hundreds of thousands of whom were driven into Bangladesh in a bloody purge previous year.

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

"There are no winners when it comes to fighting a trade war", he said, adding that he does not wish to see disruption in the global industrial chain that could affect other countries.

UK police make arrest in hunt for ‘Friends’ lookalike thief
London Metropolitan police arrested the 36-year-old man in Southall on suspicion of theft, Blackpool police tweeted Tuesday . Today, Lancashire Police posted an update on the investigation into the alleged theft in the town on 20 September.

Li is expected to rally support for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) pact now being negotiated, showcased to be the free trade deal that will encompass more than a third of the world's GDP.

RCEP is a proposed comprehensive regional economic integration agreement among the 10 ASEAN countries and its six free trade agreements partners - Australia, New Zealand, Japan, China, Korea and India.

The draft of a statement to be issued by RCEP nations later in the week, which was reviewed by Reuters, said the group would instruct "ministers and negotiators to work toward the full conclusion of the RCEP negotiations in 2019". China's military build-up in the South China Sea will be high on Asean's agenda.

President Moon Jae-in left for Singapore Tuesday for annual summits with Southeast Asian nations and their dialogue partners as he strives to bolster relations with the region and drum up global support for his initiative for peace with North Korea. For years, they have been discussing a pact to prevent an escalation of disputes.

Bolton has warned repeatedly that China's growing presence in the South China Sea, particularly when forcing Vietnamese and Philippine ships out of their own domestic waters, presents a dire geopolitical threat.

Duterte noted that while "everything has been excellent" between the ASEAN and China with regard to managing the sea dispute, it's a different story for Western nations, including the USA, which insists on their freedom to fly over and sail through the hotly contested sea. China vowed to ignore the ruling and has faced minimal opposition from the affected countries, whose militaries can not compete with the vast People's Liberation Army (PLA).

The Philippines, China, Malaysia, Vietnam, Brunei Darussalam, and Taiwan have overlapping claims in the South China Sea.

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