Xi warns of dangers of conflict while Pence lets fly

Angela Kaupa who runs a makeshift women's shelter on the outskirts of Goroka Papua New Guinea

Angela Kaupa who runs a makeshift women's shelter on the outskirts of Goroka Papua New Guinea

Protectionism and unilateralism were overshadowing global growth, and a policy of erecting economic barriers was doomed to fail, Xi said.

"History has shown that confrontation - whether in the form of a cold war, hot war or trade war - will produce no winners", he said. Sign-up now and enjoy one (1) week free access!

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

"We are witnessing a rising tide of trade protectionism along with financial volatility in some emerging economies", Morrison said.

China's growing military prowess and debt-fueled economic aid to smaller countries has increased concerns that it could seek a base for its armed forces in the Pacific or Indian Oceans.

Pence took direct aim at Xi's flagship Belt and Road programme, which China has been promoting to Pacific nations at APEC, saying countries should not accept debt that compromised their sovereignty.

U.S. President Donald Trump, who is not attending the APEC meeting, is due to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping in Argentina.

Pence also mocked China's Belt-and-Road initiative, under which China offers loans to poorer countries in the region to improve infrastructure.

"Know that the United States offers a better option".

In the absence of Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin, the summit has been relatively low key and the focus has turned to the venue Port Moresby.

Xi also tackled United States attacks on China's communist system, saying there were more than 200 countries on the planet and "trying to erase their differences will not work, such differences are not a hindrance to exchanges, still less a cause for confrontation".

"It is time that member countries of Apec and other trade organisations realise that in the age of disruption, a fairer and more genuine cooperation between the developed and developing nations can help member states to deal with the disruption", Dr Mahathir said in a keynote address at the Apec CEO Summit here held on P&O cruise ship "The Pacific Explorer".

Can the USA and China resolve their differences?

Mr Pence appeared to throw down the gauntlet to China on trade and security in the Pacific region.

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.

Trump's withdrawal from the TPP previous year and his push for bilateral trade deals are causing concern among allies, according to Ashley Townshend, director of the foreign policy and defense program at the United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney.

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