Apec divided over trade, fails to issue joint statement

President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence wave to supporters at a rally in Pensacola Fla. Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga announced Thursday Nov. 8 that Pence will hold talks with Prime Min

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Chinese officials demanding a meeting with Papua New Guinea's foreign minister forced their way into his office Saturday and had to be escorted away by police after a confrontation, according to two senior officials from the host country.

Speaking on Sunday, Long Yongtu, a former minister in China's foreign trade department, told a conference that China had been too politically driven in talks so far and should take a more pragmatic approach focused on the economic realities of the trade war.

Pence also took direct aim at Xi's signature Belt and Road initiative, saying in his speech countries should not accept debt that compromised their sovereignty. "If you want to be truly independent you must own the economy", he added. Consisting of the US, Japan, India and Australia, the group met in Singapore in the past week to discuss ways to cooperate. China has been promoting a Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership of 16 Asian countries.

The two-day summit was acrimonious and highlighted competition between China and the West for influence in the South Pacific.

Abe spoke on Japan's aspirations during the APEC summit in an apparent effort to show an alternative to Xi's much-touted cross-continental "One Belt, One Road" infrastructure initiative which has been criticized for leaving recipient countries with massive debts that have led to them giving up control of key infrastructure such as ports.

China has been building its influence in the region, and Chinese businesses are now deeply invested in Pacific island countries. The U.S. has also said it will be involved in ally Australia's plan to develop a naval base with Papua New Guinea. The vice president said the USA doesn't "drown our partners in a sea of debt" or "offer a constricting belt or a one-way road".

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

He pledged that China will increase its input for the development and prosperity of the Asia-Pacific region.

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The United States demanded that the need for drastic reforms at the WTO be included in the joint declaration since the worldwide body does not restrain such acts by Beijing, according to a source familiar with the negotiations.

After APEC, Xi is due to visit Brunei and the Philippines, a USA ally that has moved closer to China under Rodrigo Duterte. The research shows these new tariffs, introduced on 24 September, will increase U.S. consumer prices on affected Chinese products by an average of 4.5%, while the producer price of Chinese firms declines by 20.5%.

News of the dispute comes as both economic giants engage in a retaliatory trade war, sparked by the US administration's protectionist "America First" policies advocated by US President Donald Trump.

"Tit-for-tat protectionism and threats of trade wars are in no one's interests economically, and undermine the authority of the global and regional trading rules that benefit us all", Morrison said.

The minister himself sought to downplay the incident and said: "There wasn't an issue". "These issues can be resolved, we believe, at the negotiation table".

"This is one episode in the hegemonic struggle between the US 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.

Accidentally or on objective, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha appeared to photobomb US Vice-President Mike Pence when photographers called on leaders to wave at their cameras.

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