Thursday, 13 December, 2018

APEC fails to reach consensus on leaders’ communique amid US-China divisions

Xi warns of dangers of conflict while Pence lets fly Pence, China's Xi trade tough talk at Pacific summit
Jean Garcia | 20 November, 2018, 02:23

The summit was surprisingly disastrous for China on numerous fronts, from mounting unease with Beijing's heavy-handed tactics to self-inflicted public-relations debacles. Even that seems beyond agreement when the U.S. comes to lock horns with China, threaten it with more tariffs and keep America First.

"They seemed to think that the "unfair trade practices" was some kind of singling out", the official contended.

"Mankind has once again reached a crossroads", he said.

With both Washington and Beiing unyielding, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders failed to agree on a communique for the first time in the forum's history.

Also on Saturday, police were called when Chinese officials attempted to "barge" into the office of Papua New Guinea's foreign minister as Apec summit tensions boiled over.

"It's not appropriate for the minister to negotiate solo with the Chinese". However, Chinese officials pushed back on those claims.

The Wall Street Journal reported numerous APEC members "lined up against Beijing" during the meeting.

China congratulates the success of the meeting, and appreciates the active role of Papua New Guinea as the host, said Wang.

One diplomat involved in the negotiations said tension between the US and China, bubbling all week, erupted when the Chinese government's top diplomat, Wang Yi, objected during a leaders' retreat to two paragraphs in a draft document seen by Reuters.

In a speech at the APEC summit, Xi lashed out at "America First" trade protectionism, while US Vice President Mike Pence warned smaller countries not to be seduced by China's massive Belt and Road infrastructure programme.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said APEC was a "disappointing" lost opportunity to bring China and the USA together.

Ex-49ers RB Jarryd Hayne Arrested for Sexual Assault, Faces 20 Years
News of the alleged sexual assault broke last week, when it was revealed a complaint had been made to the NRL Integrity Unit. Hayne is accused of sexually assaulting a woman in the Hunter region on grand final night, September 30, this year.

On Thursday, in Singapore, Mr. Pence had a candid private exchange with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang.

Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters there were differences between several nations including China and the US Draft versions of the communique showed the US wanted strong language against unfair trade practices that it accuses China of.

They added that some other countries were also frustrated by the stances taken by the USA and China.

Xi hit back at USA protectionist trade policies, saying there was a need for global cooperation and trade.

Australia and the United States will also jointly expand the Lombrum naval base on Manus Island, opening up a key staging point into the contested South China Sea.

He said that the terms of China's loans were "opaque at best" and "too often they come with strings attached and lead to staggering debt". The United States deals openly, fairly.

Beijing's efforts to present the event as a harmonious one, without reference to the rivalry between China and the United States, comes as China has tightened coverage of the trade war and economic news.

China's Foreign Ministry lashed out at Pence for his remarks.

China claims virtually the entire South China Sea, parts of which are contested by the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei - all ASEAN members - and Taiwan. China's assurances that it merely wishes to cleanse the area of pirates have given way to blatant territorial demands and ominous threats to the freedom of navigation, a menacing atmosphere that belies China's constant praise for "free trade".

Most social media posts on China's Weibo and WeChat about that lack of agreement at Apec were deleted on Monday.

Chinese President Xi Jinping was feted by Papua New Guinea during a formal state visit on Friday, and Western leaders were watching closely when he met with leaders of Pacific island nations. "They begin with trade practices, with tariffs and quotas, forced technology transfers, the theft of intellectual property".

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