PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (AP) — A meeting of world leaders in Papua New Guinea has highlighted divisions between global powers the U.S. and China and a growing competition for influence in the usually neglected South Pacific.
The 21 nations at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Port Moresby struggled to bridge differences on issues such as trade protectionism, making it likely their final statement Sunday will be an anodyne document.
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and China’s President Xi Jinping traded barbs in speeches on Saturday. Pence accused China of intellectual property theft, forced technology transfers and unfair trading practices.
In Port Moresby, the impact of China’s aid and loans is highly visible but the U.S. and allies are countering with efforts to finance infrastructure in Papua New Guinea and other island states.