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

Aaron Brown
November 21, 2018

That's a reference to China's Belt and Road initiative. "What can I say?" said host and Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O'Neill, adding that a chairman's statement would be released later on Sunday.

The tension meant the meeting ran overtime, with world leaders - including New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern - rushing to get to their planes on Sunday afternoon, as the week of regional meetings wrapped up. Yet the trade war has raised the prospect that nations will now need to pick sides, particularly as higher United States tariffs threaten to alter long-established supply chains.

The multilateral trade order that APEC was established in 1989 to protect is crumbling as Chinese assertiveness in the Pacific and US tariffs strain relations in the region and divide loyalties.

For the first time in over two decades, the 21 leaders who took part in APEC chose not to issue a joint statement.

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.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence attended instead of Trump. Only President Xi Jinping of China was on hand to represent his country.

New Zealand has joined Australia, the United States, Japan, and Papua New Guinea in a $1.7 billion project to bring electricity to almost three quarters of the country.

Parliament's security check point including a metal detector was trashed and doors were destroyed along with their fingerprint-reading locking systems, Kramer said.

In his closing comments, Mr O'Neill said Apec would try to ensure "free and open trade" in the region by 2020.

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The diplomat said: "These two countries were pushing each other so much that the chair couldn't see an option to bridge them".

One mentioned opposing "unfair trade practices" and reforming the WTO, while another concerned sustainable development.

The guidelines are viewed as a veiled counter to China, as countries such as Sri Lanka and Pakistan are now struggling to repay massive loans received as "aid" under the infrastructure initiative aimed at connecting nations along the ancient Silk Road.

Pence professed respect for Xi and China but also harshly criticized the world's No. 2 economy for intellectual property theft, forced technology transfers and unfair trading practices.

While not referring directly to Chinese claims over various disputed waters in the region, Pence said the United States would work to help protect maritime rights.

He urged countries to work with the USA instead, saying the U.S. did not "coerce, corrupt or compromise your independence". "All we are interested in is to build a small road, a small hospital, a small school building and all these things about trade issues are well beyond our comprehension".

But before he flew out of PNG, Mr Morrison talked down the significance of the dispute.

The two-day summit in Papua New Guinea was punctuated by acrimony and underlined a rising rivalry between China and the West for influence in the usually neglected South Pacific.

. China has recently turned its attention to the region with a raft of bilateral financing agreements to often distressed economies. "There are dozens of police cars and army vehicles", the witness said, adding that a nearby hotel was in lockdown and the protesters were blocking traffic.

On Saturday, Mr. Xi clashed with the US over trade and security, calling on officials to "reject arrogance and prejudice", as Beijing and Washington vie for global influence. This article is strictly for informational purposes only. "Our foreign policy is to be friends of all, enemies of none". Kitco Metals Inc. and the author of this article do not accept culpability for losses and/ or damages arising from the use of this publication.

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