Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Friday he can envision the US and North Korea agreeing to hold talks at some point as a precursor to formal negotiations.
Meanwhile, Cambodia Prime Minister Hun Sen and Myanmar (Burma) leader Aung San Suu Kyi were among the first leaders to arrive in the Philippines to attend the summit of leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) and their dialogue partners.
In Vietnam on Thursday on the sidelines of an Asia-Pacific economic summit, Duterte boasted that when he was 16 he stabbed to death someone for looking at him the wrong way.
With China's controversial military buildup likely to be a major issue at the ASEAN summit, Premier Li Keqiang today clearly reiterated Beijing's long- held position that it wants to bilaterally resolve its disputes with its neighbours over the South China Sea.
"If I can help mediate or arbitrate, please let me know", Trump said at a meeting with Vietnam's president, Tran Dai Quang. "I'm a very good mediator and arbitrator".
The controversial issue was also understood to have figured in a meeting of officials from India, the US, Japan, and Australia under the proposed Quadrilateral coalition of the four countries.
"Unbridled, undisturbed, unmolested while we use that small way from the Indian Ocean. facing Palawan", Duterte said, referencing the southern Philippines province which juts out into the South China Sea. Trump has previously praised Duterte's handling of his nation's drug problems.
Dotted with small islands, reefs and shoals, the South China Sea is a crucial shipping route and home a messy territorial dispute that pits multiple countries against one another.
Duterte said earlier in the week that he planned to ask China to make clear its intentions in the South China Sea.
Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam also have conflicting claims there.
"While the South Korean people are opposing war threats against the north and demanding peace in the region, here is the president of the Philippines who could not even commit to peace in his own country, allowing the country as a launching pad of United States aggression and putting the Filipino population to the danger of nuclear obliteration", he said in a statement.
The framework seeks to advance a 2002 Declaration of Conduct (DOC) of Parties in the South China Sea.