South China Sea doesn't belong to any nation

Galtero Lara
Noviembre 20, 2018

"China was angered that the reference to WTO blamed a country for unfair trade practices". He said the USA wasn't in a rush to end the trade war and would "not change course until China changes its ways" - a worrying prospect for a region heavily reliant on exports.

The U.S. has imposed additional tariffs of $250 billion on Chinese goods this year and Beijing has retaliated with its own tariffs on American exports.

"I don't think it will come as a huge surprise that there are differing visions" on trade, said Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. "Those prevented there from being a full consensus on the communique".

While President Xi Jinping's presence at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit was the top story on China's state television, People's Daily and the official Xinhua news agency on Monday, the outlets focused their coverage on Xi's itinerary and his speeches, leaving out the impasse resulting from deep divisions over trade between Beijing and Washington.

Mr Pence said he respected Mr Xi and China but criticised the world's second largest economy for intellectual property theft, forced technology transfers and unfair trading practices. He accused China of luring developing nations into a debt trap through the loans it offers for infrastructure. He said the rules of global institutions set up after World War II such as the World Trade Organization should not be bent for selfish agendas.

Discussions between APEC leaders will continue, with Xi and US President Donald Trump meeting at the G20 summit later this month.

Mr Pence had stated that the USA will not lift tariffs until "China changes its ways". "It goes beyond that to freedom of navigation in the seas, concerns about human rights", Pence said.

Xi urged the world to "say no to protectionism and unilateralism", warning it was a "short-sighted approach" that was "doomed to failure".

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China's foreign ministry rejected the USA criticism that it was leading other developing nations into debt bondage.

The meeting, held at a time when the regional economy is facing both opportunities and challenges, has pushed forward the practical cooperation in various fields within the APEC framework, Wang Xiaolong, director-general of the Department of International Economic Affairs of China's Foreign Ministry, told the press.

"Not a single developing country has been mired in debt difficulties because of its cooperation with China".

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.

Leaders pose for a family photo ahead of the retreat session during the APEC Summit in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea on November 18, 2018.

APEC groups Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, the United States and Vietnam.

Australia and the U.S. will also jointly expand the Lombrum naval base on Manus Island, opening up a key staging point into the contested South China Sea. Australia and New Zealand have put extra efforts and money into their own assistance programmes in the region over the past year and, together with the United States and Japan, they gave PNG an undertaking at the weekend to extend its electricity supply to 70 per cent of the impoverished country by 2030. Currently, less than 20% have a reliable electricity supply.

For his part, Pence said the United States would join Australia and PNG in building a port on Manus Island. A separate statement from his office said other countries are welcome to join the electrification initiative provided they support the USA vision of a free and open Pacific.

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