Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping spoke separately about the territorial rifts ahead of an annual summit of Southeast Asian nations and the U.S., China and other global players in Manila, where the disputes are high on the agenda.
"I'm a very good mediator and arbitrator", Trump said during a news conference with Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang in Hanoi before flying here.
President Trump looked slightly ill at ease at first but then appeared to enjoy himself during the unusual handshake with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Thailand's Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. "I renewed my friendship with President Vladimir Putin of Russian Federation and with President Xi Jinping of China", he said.
Human rights, rule of law and due process were among topics Trump and Duterte would likely discuss during their bilateral talks, Sung Kim, U.S. ambassador to Manila, had said last month.
At APEC on Friday, Trump also said the United States will no longer "be taken advantage of" through trade agreements, but also called for mutually beneficial trade deals.
The foreign ministers of Asean member states and China adopted a framework for the code of conduct on maritime disputes in August, though it remains to be seen whether the final product would be legally binding.
In Danang, Duterte also targeted the United Nations' special rapporteur on extrajudicial killings, Agnes Callamard, who has been a frequent critic of the drug war. President Donald Trump is beginning a day full of meetings at an economic summit in Vietnam.
With that curtailment, it seems even less likely that Trump will call on Duterte to suspend operations and seek justice for victims.
"It was not Trump who raised it. Trump never raised it, honestly", Roque said.
Since Duterte's inauguration previous year, police and affiliated death squads have summarily executed more than 8,000 suspected drug users.
Hours after being sworn in as Philippine president, Duterte goes to a Manila slum and urges residents to kill drug-addled neighbors. Responding to the criticism, Mr Duterte recently moved to take his controversial drugs campaign out of direct control of the police.
The writer, president emeritus of the Open Society Foundations and a founder of Human Rights Watch, is the author of "The International Human Rights Movement: A History".
Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders blamed scheduling conflicts. Human rights groups believe the total could be closer to 9,000. "How much more now that I am president?"
"On the grounds of what both Duterte and Trump (have) done and (are) continuously doing, it is not that they do not understand the concept of human and people's rights, it is that they just do not care", Palabay said in a statement. "The relationship with the past administration was terrible, to use a nice word".
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