Trumps offers to mediate in protracted South China Sea feud

President Donald Trump has offered to mediate in South China Sea disputes and his Chinese counterpart played down concerns over Beijing's military buildup and the prospects of war in the contested waters.

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.

Trump says "I'm a very good mediator," but his offer faces many obstacles: for one, China doesn't want the U.S. meddling in the disputes and has balked at the U.S. Navy's incursions into what Beijing considers its territorial waters in the South China Sea.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte says Xi assured him of China's peaceful intentions.