Pacific summit ends with no communique as China, U.S. differ

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By Associated Press

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea — An acrimonious meeting of world leaders in Papua New Guinea failed to agree Sunday on a final communique, highlighting widening divisions between global powers the U.S. and China.

The 21 nations at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Port Moresby struggled to bridge differences on the role of the World Trade Organization, which governs international trade. A statement was to be issued instead by the meeting’s chair, Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister Peter O’Neill.

“The entire world is worried” about tensions between China and the U.S., O’Neill told a mob of reporters that descended on him after he confirmed there was no communique from leaders.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said there were differences between several nations, including China and the U.S.

Draft versions of the communique seen by The Associated Press showed the U.S wanted strong language against unfair trade practices that it accuses of China. China, meanwhile, wanted a reaffirmation of opposition to protectionism and unilateralism it says the U.S. is engaging in.

“I don’t think it will come as a huge surprise that there are differing visions on particular elements in regard to trade and those prevented there from being a full consensus on the communique,” Trudeau said.

The two-day summit was punctuated by acrimony and underlined a rising rivalry between China and the West for influence in the usually neglected South Pacific. China is a relative newcomer to providing aid, and its loan-heavy, no-strings attached approach has unsettled Western nations that have been the mainstay donors to developing nations and often use aid to nudge nations towards reforms.

Vice President Mike Pence and Chinese President Xi Jinping traded barbs in speeches on Saturday.

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