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  1. ITV Report

APEC summit ends with no final statement for first time ever following US-China disagreements

Xi Jinping and Mike Pence took swipes at each other's countries. Credit: AP

A meeting of world leaders at an economic summit has ended with no final statement for the first time ever, due to disagreements between the US and China.

The lack of an outcome at the meeting of the 21 nations at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit - loosely made up of the countries which form a ring around the Pacific Ocean - has highlighted widening divisions between the two global powers and a growing competition for influence in the usually neglected South Pacific.

Currently the US and China are locked in a spiralling trade war.

The summit in Papua New Guinea struggled to bridge differences on issues such as trade protectionism and reforming the World Trade Organization (WTO), while on Saturday, US Vice-President Mike Pence and China's President Xi Jinping traded barbs in speeches.

Leaders of the 21 countries could not agree on a final statement due to disagreements between China and the US> Credit: AP

While Mr Pence professed respect for Mr Xi and China, he also harshly criticised the world's second largest economy for intellectual property theft, forced technology transfers and unfair trading practices.

"They begin with trade practices, with tariffs and quotas, forced technology transfers, the theft of intellectual property," Mr Pence said.

"It goes beyond that to freedom of navigation in the seas, concerns about human rights."

Yet according to Mr Xi, the world is facing a choice between cooperation and confrontation as protectionism and unilateralism grows.

He added that the rules of global institutions set up after the Second World War, such as the WTO should not be bent for selfish agendas.

Mr Pence said that over the weekend he had two "candid" conversations with Mr Xi, who is expected to meet President Donald Trump at a Group of 20 summit at the end of this month in Buenos Aires.

Mike Pence said accused China of intellectual property theft. Credit: AP

The Republican said he told Mr Xi that the US is interested in a better relationship with the Asian nation, "but there has to be change" from China's side.

Mr Pence said Mr Xi responded that dialogue is important.

In Port Moresby where the summit took place, the impact of China's aid and loans is highly visible, but the US and its allies are countering this with efforts to finance infrastructure in Papua New Guinea and other island states.

Xi Jinping criticised America's protectionism. Credit: AP

On Sunday, the US, New Zealand, Japan and Australia said they would work with Papua New Guinea's government to bring electricity to 70% of its people by 2030.

Currently less than 20% of the population have a reliable electricity supply.

"The commitment of the United States of America to this region of the world has never been stronger," Mr Pence said.

A separate statement from his office said other countries are welcome to join the electrification initiative provided they support the US' vision of a free and open Pacific.

The US has also said it will be involved in ally Australia's plan to develop a naval base with Papua New Guinea, in an apparent move to curb China's growing influence.

China, meanwhile, has promised £3.12 billion to build the the first national road network in Papua New Guinea, which is among the least urbanised countries in the world.