The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit ended without a formal statement from leaders for the first time because of disagreements between the United States and China on trade, BBC reported.
Papua New Guinea’s President Peter O’Neill, who hosted the summit, said the statement would be released in the coming days. “You know the two big giants in the room,” AFP quoted O’Neill as saying. What can I say?”
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau admitted there were “different visions on particular elements with regard to trade that prevented full consensus on a communique document”.
In his speech, US Vice President Mike Pence warned smaller countries not to be seduced by China’s “Belt and Road Initiative” that Beijing uses to offer money to poorer countries for construction and development projects. Pence announced the US would join Australia in developing a naval base in Papua New Guinea in an apparent move to restrict China’s growing influence in the region. The base would help “protect sovereignty and maritime rights in the Pacific islands”, Pence added.
In a speech to business leaders, Chinese President Xi Jinping said the initiative was not a trap and claimed there was no hidden agenda. He also lashed out at the Donald Trump administration’s protectionist trade policy, saying it was a “short-sighted approach” that is “doomed to failure”.
Meanwhile, the police were called in when Chinese officials allegedly attempted to barge into the office of Papua New Guinea’s Foreign Minister Rimbink Pato on Saturday in a last-minute bid to influence a summit draft communique, AFP reported.