By Philip Wen, Jonathan Barrett and Tom Westbrook
PORT MORESBY (Reuters) – Asia-Pacific leaders failed to agree on a communique at a summit in Papua New Guinea on Sunday for the first time in their history as deep divisions between the United States and China over trade and investment stymied cooperation.
Competition between the United States and China over the Pacific was also thrown into focus with the United States and its Western allies launching a coordinated response to China’s Belt and Road program.
“You know the two big giants in the room,” Papua New Guinea (PNG) Prime Minister Peter O’Neill said at a closing news conference, when asked which of the 21 members of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) group could not agree.
O’Neill, who was chairman of the meeting, said the sticking point was over whether mention of the World Trade Organization and its possible reform should be in the Leaders’ Declaration.
“APEC has got no charter over World Trade Organization, that is a fact. Those matters can be raised at the World Trade Organization.”
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