Besides Pence, Modi will hold bilateral meetings with Singapore PM Lee Hsein Loong, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.
China claims almost the entire South China Sea, including parts of the West Philippine Sea, but the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague invalidated this in July 2016, favoring the Philippines' claims in the area.
Addressing a business forum in the city state, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said China hoped to conclude the RCEP negotiations next year, adding that the deal would cover half the world's population and account for more than a third of its GDP.
Duterte's absence sent rumors once again concerning the Philippine leader's health, although his spokesperson was quick to assure the public that the President "had a fruitful and productive participation" in yesterday's (November 14) activities and that he is "in top physical shape", said Salvador Panelo.
"If I can I will, if I'm sick I won't", he told reporters after the summit here. It wasn't clear at first if the weapons deployments were temporary for training purposes, but America's recent call for their removal indicates they are still in place. But he said a code of conduct was needed to avoid any "serious miscalculation". In contrast, under Trump's more muscular policy, Washington is now pressuring Asean to stand up to China or get out of the way. Although the U.S.is not a claimant country, it conducts freedom-of-navigation operations in global waters around the disputed area and calls out China's alleged militarization in the region.
"Countries of South-east Asia don't want to be dominated by any external actor, and we support that", he told reporters.
US Vice-President Mike Pence poses for a group photo with ASEAN leaders prior to the start of the ASEAN-US Summit.
The two carriers, the Japan-based USS Ronald Reagan and the USS John C Stennis deployed from the US West coast, were carrying out air, surface and anti-submarine warfare operations, the US Seventh Fleet said in a news statement.More news: Rams WR Kupp leaves Seahawks game with knee injury
About 40 thousand people are expected to take part in the Fintech Festival.
"China is there. That's the reality".
His relations with the US have been strained by criticisms from the US State Department of his brutal war on drugs, which had left at least 4,000 suspects dead in its wake.
Leaders from Southeast Asia, China and other neighboring countries met in Singapore on Wednesday and cited progress on keeping peace in the contentious South China Sea as evidence that the region is managing to handle such issues on its own.
Some ASEAN members and China have overlapping claims to islands in the sea, one of the world's busiest waterways.
China appreciates Singapore's role in promoting regional cooperation as the rotating chair of ASEAN and wishes to enhance all-round cooperation with ASEAN, Li added.
That meeting will be closely watched for progress on resolving the standoff over technology policy that has led the USA and China to impose billions of dollars of tariffs on each other's exports.
In all, the Philippines is lining up 18 projects it seeks to fund with some 750 billion pesos worth of Chinese loans and grants.