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 worldwide trade, officials said.
The two regional powers clashed repeatedly over the language on trade in the final document, with Beijing angrily rejecting paragraphs that called for an overhaul of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and warned against unfair trade tactics.
"China and the US will try very hard in the next few years to charm the countries in the region". The US is slated to "more than double" current tariffs on China, lifting the targeted tariff rate to 25% across the board.
PRIME MINISTER LEE HSIEN LOONG, on the impact of a prolonged trade war between the U.S. and China on global growth. "Those prevented there from being a full consensus on the communique".
"This is one episode in the hegemonic struggle between the USA and China - it will go on for a while, " said Kunihiko Miyake, a former Japanese foreign ministry official who is now a visiting professor at Ritsumeikan University.
Xi hit back at U.S. protectionist trade policies, saying there was a need for global cooperation and trade.
Long's comments come as tensions between the two nations appear to have thawed somewhat ahead of an expected meeting between the countries' presidents in Buenos Aires, Argentina, later this month. "They begin with trade practices, with tariffs and quotas, forced technology transfers, the theft of intellectual property. It goes beyond that to freedom of navigation in the seas, concerns about human rights", Vice President Pence said of the Chinese agenda as he departed Papua New Guinea.
The APEC meeting was a battlefield cratered by verbal artillery exchanges between the Chinese and USA delegations, with Xi complaining about "unilateralism" and "protectionism" and Pence vowing to "hold nations accountable for their unfair economic practices". That was seen as highlighting the widening divisions between global powers China and the US.
"The assistance provided by China has been warmly welcomed by our partners in this region and beyond", Wang Xiaolong, a foreign ministry official, told a news conference.
Davidson said the islands and the armaments on them give Beijing "the potential to exert national control over worldwide waters and airspace through which over $3 trillion in goods travel every year, along with commercial air traffic".
Sri Lanka formally handed over commercial activities in its main southern port 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 announcement comes after the U.S., Japan and Australia in July announced a joint effort to finance infrastructure in Pacific island states that China has aggressively wooed with loans and aid.
Speaking to New Zealand media in Port Moresby on Saturday, Ardern said it was up to each sovereign nation to decide how it chose to approach other countries. Currently, less than 20% have a reliable electricity supply.
"The commitment of the United States of America to this region of the world has never been stronger", he said.