Asian leaders fault US, say open trade best growth option

Asian leaders fault US, say open trade best growth option
Chinese Vice Premier Hu Chunhua, left, shakes hands with Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc during their meeting at the Government Office Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2018 in Hanoi, Vietnam. Hu is in Hanoi to attend the three-day World Economic Forum on ASEAN. (Nhac Nguyen/Pool photo via AP)

HANOI, Vietnam (AP) — A top Chinese official and leaders of several Southeast Asian countries have taken aim at U.S. moves to protect American businesses, saying opening markets further is the only option for future growth.

Speaking Wednesday at a World Economic Forum meeting in Hanoi, Chinese Vice Premier Hu Chunhua said China would work with its neighbors to counter protectionism.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo drew laughs by likening trade wars to “infinity wars” in a reference to this year’s movie based on Marvel’s comics. Singapore’s prime minister, Lee Hsien Loong, said the Southeast Asian region would work to keep markets and investment open and protect the “rules based” trading system.

Widodo did not mention President Donald Trump by name. But he drew hearty laughs when he mentioned the “Infinity War” villain, Thanos.