China divisions take centre stage at APEC summit

Duterte now in Papua New Guinea for APEC meet

Chinese President Xi Jinping has warned that economic protectionism is overshadowing global growth and urged countries to pursue free trade policies.

The United States will not back down from its trade dispute with China, and might even double its tariffs, unless Beijing bows to USA demands, Vice President Mike Pence said on Saturday. He warned against confrontation in the form of a trade war or Cold War.

Pence said the United States would join Australia in establishing a military base in Papua New Guinea.

"We don't drown our partners in a sea of debt", he said.

There have been concerns that small countries that sign up for infrastructure projects will be left with debt burdens they can not service, something Pence highlighted.

Pence took direct aim at Xi's flagship Belt and Road programme, which China has been promoting to Pacific nations at APEC, saying countries should not accept debt that compromised their sovereignty.

U.S. President Donald Trump is not attending the APEC meeting, nor is Russia's president, Vladimir Putin.

Xi also defended his country's massive "Belt and Road" infrastructure initiative amid attacks that it is akin to "chequebook diplomacy" to further Chinese interests in the region.

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Mr. Trump has imposed tariffs on $250 billion worth of Chinese imports to force concessions on a list of demands that would change the terms of trade between the two countries.

The White House says its tariffs are a response to China's "unfair" trade policies.

Chinese President Xi Jinping's Red Flag Hongqi sedan travels with motorcade in Port Moresby, 16 November 2018.

US President Donald Trump has made a decision to skip the APEC summit, which some critics say has left the stage free for China to bolster its influence in the region. "The American people know that we have to do something to reset this relationship with China economically". -China trade war while inviting other nations to participate in a revamped Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Xi gave no indication of giving in on some key USA demands, including an end to technology transfer, support for state-run enterprises, and giving up on its Made in China 2025 plan to lead the world in key industries.

"Know that the United States offers a better option".

Trump's withdrawal from the TPP past year and his push for bilateral trade deals are causing concern among allies, according to Ashley Townshend, director of the foreign policy and defense program at the United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney.

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