It’s the last day of the ASEAN Summit in Thailand. Reports said the signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which some have called the world’s largest trade pact that includes ASEAN countries, has been pushed back to 2020. China has been backing the pact and needs it more now to soften the impact of its trade war with the U.S.
Blowing it out of proportion
President Duterte has called for “self-restraint” among parties in the South China Sea dispute. Many have interpreted this as the president speaking for Beijing. Meanwhile, Beijing said they are ready to work with ASEAN on a code of conduct in the South China Sea. Defense Sec. Delfin Lorenzana told China to respect maritime laws after a Chinese warship stopped a Liberian ship with an all-Filipino crew from sailing near Scarborough Shoal. But he also said the incident should not be blown out of proportion.