Economy

Pence, China's Xi trade tough talk at Pacific summit

Pence, China's Xi trade tough talk at Pacific summit

U.S. 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.

Chinese President Xi Jinping spoke of the need for global cooperation and worldwide trade, telling the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit there was no issue that countries couldn't work out "through consultation".

China's President Xi Jinping said a trade war will produce "no winners" and called for nations to uphold a rules-based order led by the World Trade Organization.

He said the US would not change its course until China changes its ways.

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

He also took aim at China's territorial ambitions in the Pacific and, particularly, Mr. Xi's Belt and Road Initiative to expand land and sea links between Asia, Africa and Europe with billions of dollars in infrastructure investment.

"It does not exclude anyone".

Xi defended the Belt and Road Initiative, saying it "is not a trap as some people have labeled it".

"Meanwhile, across town, Taiwan hosted its own event for the smaller number of countries that recognise it".

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"Do not accept foreign debt that could compromise your sovereignty", he said. Protect your interest. Preserve your independence.

"We believe that progress could be made between our two nations, even as the United States remains in a strong position", Pence said.

Sri Lanka formally handed over commercial activities in its main southern port in the town of Hambantota to a Chinese company last December as part of a plan to convert $6 billion of loans that Sri Lanka owed China into equity.

The Chinese leader also took a direct swipe at US President Donald Trump's administration.

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.

"Attempts to erect barriers and cut close economic ties work against the laws of economics and the trends of history".

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.

"The United States though will not change course until China changes its ways", he told delegates gathered on a cruise liner tethered in Port Moresby's Fairfax Harbour.

On Saturday, Pence warned that Trump could still put more tariffs on China. China has responded with import tariffs on USA goods.