Duterte cuts short Papua New Guinea APEC trip

Pauline Gross
November 17, 2018

"History has shown that confrontation, whether in the form of a cold war, a hot war or a trade war, will produce no winners".

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The vice president harshly criticized China's global infrastructure drive, known as the "Belt and Road Initiative", calling numerous projects low quality that also saddle developing countries with loans they can't afford.

Pence said on Saturday the USA would partner with Papua New Guinea and Australia in redeveloping the Lombrum Naval Base on Manus Island.

In a last-minute U-turn, US Vice-President Mike Pence will spend the night in Papua New Guinea, where he is attending a regional summit, changing plans to fly in and out of Australia, which had led to complaints of a lack of commitment.

However, he also said the United States sought a "better relationship" with China and progress was being made in trade talks ahead of a mooted meeting between Trump and Xi at the G20 in late November.

His speech was a clear reference to the escalating trade war between the United States and China, along with the general protectionism of US President Donald Trump. "The United States deals openly and fairly".

"By withdrawing from multilateral trade agreements and pursuing unilateral tit-for-tat tariffs that are damaging not just for the USA and China, but for the broader regional and global trading system, the Trump administration is putting itself at odds with America's Asian allies and partners", he said.

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Xi defended the Belt and Road Initiative, saying it "is not a trap as some people have labeled it". "Mike Pence used his speech to take a lot of digs at China, particularly the way that China goes around making loans..."

Locals watch as Chinese President Xi Jinping's motorcade leaves the Butuka Academy school, ahead of the APEC summit.

"It is the bilateral meetings, the sideline meetings that perhaps tell us more about what's going on here", Thomas said.

"Meanwhile, across town, Taiwan hosted its own event for the smaller number of countries that recognise it".

As well as the $US12 million road President Xi also opened unveiled the Butuka Academy in the capital's Moresby South District.

"So, just [as] with aid and investment, food and drinks receptions come with strings attached. It's that geopolitical context that's on show here, as much as it's about the official talks".

President Trump was not at the summit, but will meet with Jinping in at the G-20 summit in Argentina that begins later this month, Reuters reported.

But on Saturday Xi appeared to give no concessions to USA complaints that China's technology advances had been built on intellectual property theft.

Other reports by GizPress

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