United States to join Australia in Papua New Guinea naval base plan

United States to join Australia in Papua New Guinea naval base plan

United States to join Australia in Papua New Guinea naval base plan

But US Vice President Mike Pence, speaking after the Chinese leader, said while they had "great respect for President Xi" and China, there would be no backing down on the trade war with Beijing until it "changes its ways".

In duelling back-to-back speeches at a pre-APEC business forum, China's President Xi Jinping and US Vice President Mike Pence pulled few punches, laying out sharply contrasting visions for the region of 21 countries.

Apec was formed almost 30 years ago to lower barriers to trade, and this year's summit comes as the United States and China have imposed tit-for-tat tariffs on billions of dollars of each other's goods, with both threatening to step up action if necessary.

The move comes as the US, China and Australia all vie for influence in PNG and the Pacific, and one analyst said the Manus base would push American forces further south into the Pacific than they had been in decades.

China's President Xi Jinping arrives for the Apec CEO Summit 2018 in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, Saturday, Nov. 17, 2018.

Mr Xi urged countries to uphold the multilateral trading system and reject protectionism and unilateralism, calling this a "shortsighted approach" that is "doomed to fail".

The Australian prime minister, Scott Morrison, followed by mounting a full-throated defence of free trade. "When you partner with us, we partner with you and we all prosper".

Mr Pence did not elaborate on U.S. plans for the Manus Island base or whether United States ships would be permanently stationed there.

Pence announced the US would be involved in ally Australia's plan to develop a naval base in Papua New Guinea, where the summit is being held.

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

"We've taken decisive action to address our trade imbalance with China".

"Mankind has once again reached a crossroads", Xi remarked.

Both Xi and Pence were pushing a strong message of solidarity with the leaders of Pacific Island nations, with whom the Chinese leader met one-on-one during his first full day in the country Friday.

Pence attended the 33rd Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Summit, representing the United States as one of the dialogue partners of the regional bloc.

"The benefits of free and fair trade and economic integration have been ruptured, exemplified by Brexit and trade wars between major economies", he said.

Yesterday, Mr Xi warned against escalating the trade conflict. "It is not an exclusive club that is closed to non-members nor is it a trap as some people have labeled it", he said.

Also revealed was the new US$400 million Indo-Pacific Transparency Initiative to "empower citizens to combat corruption and strengthen sovereignty".

"They (China) are looking at creating long-term deals and guarantees with these smaller countries to extend their own commercial, military and hegemonic interest", said Shuvaloy Majumdar with the Macdonald-Laurier Institute, a former Conservative government policy adviser. "'America First' is not America alone", he insisted, before launching into a stinging attack on China, mocking the BRI as a "Constricting Belt or One-Way Road", and warning gathered leaders "do not accept foreign debt that could compromise your sovereignty".

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