PM Modi arrives at Breakfast Summit with ASEAN leaders

PM Narendra Modi arrives in Singapore for 2-day East Asia Summit given rousing welcome by Indian community

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, who has sought to ease tensions with China over his country's claims to disputed waters, said Thursday that it was crucial that the countries involved finish work on a "code of conduct" to help prevent misunderstandings that could lead to conflict.

He will also participate in Thursday's East Asia Summit, along with the ten-member ASEAN's other key dialogue partners, including the US, China, Australia, Canada and Russian Federation.

Asian leaders were all set to kick off regional meetings in Singapore on Wednesday.

The Asean summit began amid uncertainty over United States commitment to the region.

"Do not diminish the importance of Mr Pence being here", said Ms Campbell, noting that he made a number of trips to Asia, including one to Jakarta a year ago, where he spent time at the Asean Secretariat. Its annual summit includes meetings with various other nations and a slew of bilateral meetings among the leaders. He would hold a bilateral meeting with US Vice President Mike Pence which is scheduled at 10:00 AM today. "If so we are not comfortable".

Pence alluded to Chinese concerns that the U.S.is seeking to contain its influence by saying, "Our vision for the Indo-Pacific excludes no nation". "We all agree that empire and aggression have no place in the Indo-Pacific".

Modi also visited the India Pavilion of 18 companies at the festival as he began his two-day visit to Singapore.

Amid warnings from Beijing that the Pacific is no country's sphere of influence, Washington is signalling that it does not intend to take a backward step.

"If that is the intent, then we are not comfortable because we in Asean want a regional order that is open and inclusive". With Trump absent in Singapore, diplomats and analysts were questioning whether the U.S. was still a strong partner of Asean nations. "There were some discussions on how we should enhance this sort of trade".

Ms Campbell responded to the perception that the USA freedom of navigation operations in the region are "provocative".

China has raised objections to these operations, which are meant to counter what Washington sees as Beijing's bid to hold sway in the strategic waters, where Chinese, Japanese and some Southeast Asian navies operate.

"We've been in the Pacific, we are in the Pacific and we always will be because we're a Pacific nation", the USA official said. "Strong military activity will prompt a response from China. For a country in this region to be militarising features at the same time that it is engaging in a negotiation of a code of conduct, those are problematic actions, not the action of the USA". "The rules are already there".

Pence specifically acknowledged that India has made substantial progress economically as well as diplomatically in regional and global affairs, and said the USA looks forward to working with India on various issues both on political and economic side to ensure "a fair-rules based worldwide order".

He said previously that Washington was committed to maintaining openness in the waterway and would not be intimidated by China.

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