China Disagreement ‘Torpedoes’ Pacific Accord Summit, No Communiqué Issued

Lester Mason
November 19, 2018

The "opaque" loans come with strings attached and build up "staggering debt", Pence charged, mocking the initiative as a "constricting belt" and a "one-way road".

But by Sunday night, it was increasingly hard to see the summit meeting as anything but a continuation of hostilities.

"We can have Chinese influence but we need them to be based on our terms, we need to inform them about our laws, the fact that they are in our country and there has to be an element of respect", he added.

"We've put tariffs on US$250 billion in Chinese goods and that number could more than double", he told CEOs from around the region. China has slapped tariffs on $110 billion in imports from the U.S. in retaliation.

US Vice President Mike Pence later told the summit in Port Moresby that Washington would not change its approach until Beijing changes its own trade policies.

PRIME MINISTER LEE HSIEN LOONG, on the impact of a prolonged trade war between the U.S. and China on global growth.

Pence said it was the first project under a cooperation agreement between the U.S., Japan and Australia to provide capital for infrastructure in the Pacific amid concern about Chinese influence in the region. "The American people know that we have to do something to reset this relationship with China economically".

US Vice-President Mike Pence traded barbs with Mr Xi the day before the leaders' meeting, accusing China of economic espionage and using debt-trap diplomacy to coerce small countries in the region. He said intellectual property rights are important to protect innovation but they shouldn't widen the digital gap between countries.

Competition between the United States and China over the Pacific was also thrown into focus with the United States and its Western allies launching a coordinated response to China's Belt and Road program.

"Attempts to form exclusive blocs or impose one's will on others should be rejected", Xi said. "History has shown that confrontation, whether in the form of a cold war, a hot war or a trade war, will produce no winners".

Also on Saturday, police were called when Chinese officials attempted to "barge" into the office of Papua New Guinea's foreign minister as Apec summit tensions boiled over.

"Electricity will drive economic growth but as others have said, it will simply improve the quality of life for people across Papua New Guinea for generations to come".

Still, while U.S. allies like Australia welcome American firepower in the region, they also worry about its tactics on trade.

"The US was determined to include a strong message on trade and the WTO in the communique, and China was determined to get rid of that language", the source said.

He said the rules of global institutions such as the World Trade Organisation should not be bent for selfish agendas. Last week Trump expressed confidence that a new, better trade deal would eventually be reached and claimed that it would be "fair" to the US.

"We have taken decisive action to address our imbalance with China", he said.

Pence is representing Trump at the summits after the president opted not to attend - becoming the first USA head of state to skip the marquee Asian conferences since 2013.

Mr Pence told reporters on Sunday: "I spoke to President Xi twice during the course of this conference".

The United States has had a long-running dispute with China over maritime routes in the South China Sea.

"We're trying to focus on the development and the advancement of the Pacific", he told reporters on Sunday.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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