'Low-batt' APEC summit back to search for coherence

Chinese President Xi Jinping

Chinese President Xi Jinping says the world is facing a choice between co-operation and confrontation

Leaders of Asia-Pacific economies were unable to agree on communique at a summit in Papua New Guinea on Sunday as deep divisions between the United States and China over trade and investment dominated the meeting.

Illustrating the impasse between the world's two largest economies, a diplomat involved in negotiating an APEC leaders' declaration told Reuters trade was a sticking point, and the host nation was having trouble finding language acceptable to all.

But when officials excluded non-Chinese media from Xi's private mini-summit with selected leaders, they were taken aback by the ensuing row about freedom of the press - a concept foreign to Beijing.

Gary Juffa, governor of Papua New Guinea's Oro province, noted that Dr Mahathir had scraped China-linked projects worth hundreds of billions of ringgit by citing affordability issues.

"We all have to hope it goes in a constructive direction". The Trump administration previously issued a pointed warning about the dangers of other Pacific nations compromising their sovereignty by accepting foreign infrastructure loans from China.

Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said there were "different visions on particular elements with regard to trade that prevented full consensus on a communique document". It's not quantifiable in GDP terms. Later, Pence told reporters he was "very hopeful" the USA and China could reach a deal, but "things have to change" for that to happen.

Papua New Guinea's Prime Minister Peter O'Neill, who was hosting APEC, said there were disagreements between the two "giants" at the meeting, adding the "entire world is worried" by tensions between the nations.

"This is a very good opportunity to ask the United States and China to find ways to end their tariff and trade war which benefits no one", he told the forum. "Because then the question becomes, why should I make any concession?"

A police spokesman said no one was hurt, according to Agence France-Presse.

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But if the conflict is treated as one involving specific, practical trade issues that need to be overcome, then it is possible for both sides to deal with the specific issues at hand, he added.

He said the protesters had not been paid their promised allowances for their security work at the Pacific Rim leaders' summit held in Port Moresby, a city described by the World Bank as among the world's most violent due to high unemployment and brazen criminal gangs known as "raskols".

Russian President Vladimir Putin was also absent from the summit. Nothing is to be gained by worsening and widening the trade war.

In the APEC summit, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe expressed concerns about worldwide protectionist movements and stressed that any measures should be taken in accordance with WTO rules, a senior official said.

But ultimately, the consequences of the trade war extend beyond trade, he noted.

"History has shown that confrontation, whether in the form of a cold war, a hot war or a trade war, will produce no winners", Xi said in his speech in Port Moresby.

Speaking in Singapore last Thursday, Duterte told reporters that China was already "in possession" of the South China Sea and the United States and other countries must avoid "creating friction" with the Asian power.

The President also noted to his peers that 85 percent of all imports to the Philippines come from its economic partners in Apec and about 83 percent of tourist arrivals to the Philippines also come from the Asia-Pacific region, Panelo said.

"Our role here is to maximize Australia's interests", Morrison told reporters.

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