Hayward: APEC Summit an Unexpected Disaster for China

Xi warns of dangers of conflict while Pence lets fly

AMID TENSIONS. Chinese President Xi Jinping warns against protectionism ahead of APEC Summit 2018.

An acrimonious meeting of world leaders in Papua New Guinea failed to agree Sunday on a final communique, highlighting widening divisions between global powers China and the US.

The 21 nations at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Port Moresby struggled to bridge differences on the role of the World Trade Organization, which governs worldwide trade, officials said.

An acrimonious meeting of world leaders in Papua New Guinea failed to agree Sunday on a final communique, highlighting widening divisions between global powers the United States and China.

The US says China is taking advantage of World Trade Organisation rules by still claiming "developing nation status", despite being one of the world's largest economies.

Leaders of Asia-Pacific economies have failed to agree a communique at a summit in Papua New Guinea after a war of words between the USA and China over trade and investment.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison used his speech at APEC to strongly criticize the US-China trade war while inviting other nations to participate in a revamped Trans-Pacific Partnership. Later, Pence told reporters he was "very hopeful" the U.S. and China could reach a deal, but "things have to change" for that to happen.

Speaking in the PNG capital of Port Moresby on Saturday, US Vice-President Mike Pence said the US would not change its course with China, warning that the US could "more than double" the tariffs already placed on $250 billion of Chinese goods.

The collapse of the summit, staged in impoverished Papua New Guinea at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars, much of it covered by China, followed duelling speeches from President Xi of China and Mike Pence, the USA vice-president.

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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.

The announcement comes as China has worked to improve infrastructure in developing countries around the world, which is something the west has blasted as bringing those countries debt and giving China too much influence. Yet the trade war has raised the prospect that nations will now need to pick sides, particularly as higher US tariffs threaten to alter long-established supply chains.

Mr Pence told reporters that during the weekend he had two "candid" conversations with Mr Xi, who is expected to meet President Donald Trump at a Group of 20 summit at the end of this month in Argentina.

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".

As he left the capital of Port Moresby, he listed United States differences with China, saying: "They begin with trade practices, with tariffs and quotas, forced technology transfers, the theft of intellectual property. It goes beyond that to freedom of navigation in the seas, concerns about human rights", Vice President Pence said of the Chinese agenda as he departed Papua New Guinea.

He said the U.S. is interested in a better relationship "but there has to be change" from China's side.

Prior to the meeting, Duterte in a chance interview with reporters, urged the US and other countries to stop provoking China with military activities.

"This is one episode in the hegemonic struggle between the USA and China - it will go on for a while", said Kunihiko Miyake, a former Japanese foreign ministry official who is now a visiting professor at Ritsumeikan University.

The Chinese delegates tried to forcibly enter Rimbink Pato's Port Moresby office on Saturday, in an eleventh-hour bid to influence a summit draft communique, but were denied entry, three sources said. However, Chinese officials pushed back on those claims.

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