US Joins Australian Plan to Develop New Pacific Naval Base

Leroy Wright
November 19, 2018

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

Pato also confirmed to Reuters that Chinese officials had see him on Saturday over the communique, adding they were refused because they had not made "necessary arrangements" for a meeting, but denied media reports they had barged into his office.

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.

Dr Mahathir was in Papua New Guinea last week to attend the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) Summit hosted by the latter.

Draft versions of the communique showed the U.S. wanted strong language against unfair trade practices that it accuses China of.

"We hope for better, but the United States will not change course until China changes its ways", he said.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, as he left the PNG capital of Port Moresby, listed U.S. differences with China, a day after he directly criticised its Belt and Road programme.

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. "Those prevented there from being a full consensus on the communique".

Competition between the United States and China over the Pacific was also thrown into focus with the United States and its Western allies launching a coordinated response to China's Belt and Road program.

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US Vice President Mike Pence traded sharp barbs with Chinese leader Xi Jinping in back-to-back speeches at a regional summit, showing that neither country appears to be giving ground in an escalating trade war.

The world, according to Xi, is facing a choice between cooperation and confrontation as protectionism and unilateralism grows.

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

Pence said China's trade practices and intellectual property theft goes beyond trade, . and into "concerns about human rights".

The US and China presented contrasting visions for the future of trade and investment in the region in competing policy speeches on Saturday.

"It's a very forced situation, one country is trying to force all the other countries to change tariffs agreed over years", O'Brien told AFP.

China has been providing millions of dollars in loans for infrastructure projects in the region and has become the second-largest donor of foreign aid there behind Australia.

The US also announced it would partner with Australia and Papua New Guinea to upgrade the Lombrum Naval Base on Manus Island, which could hand Washington another crucial strategic outpost in the Pacific.

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

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