United States to join Australia in Papua New Guinea naval base plan

United States to join Australia in Papua New Guinea naval base plan

United States to join Australia in Papua New Guinea naval base plan

Draft versions of the communiqué seen by The Associated Press showed that the US wanted strong language condemning unfair trade practices like those that it says China regularly deploys, including restricting market access and pushing foreign companies to hand over valuable technology. "Those prevented there from being a full consensus on the communique".

Chinese President Xi Jinping was feted by Papua New Guinea during a formal state visit on Friday, and Western leaders were watching closely when he met with leaders of Pacific island nations.

The US and Australia have a shared concern over China's increasing influence in the region.

China had its success on Sunday, with a Tongan official saying the Pacific nation had signed up to the "Belt and Road Initiative" and received a five-year deferral on a concessional loan just before it was expected to commence principal repayments.

The world, according to Mr Xi's speech, is facing a choice between cooperation and confrontation as protectionism and unilateralism grows.

Mr Xi also lashed out at "America First" trade protectionism, saying it was a "short-sighted approach" that was "doomed to failure".

The feisty exchanges laid the groundwork for what could be a fiery encounter between Xi and US President Donald Trump at next month's G20 summit in Argentina. "They begin with trade practices, with tariffs and quotas, forced technology transfers, the theft of intellectual property".

He told him that the USA is interested in a better relationship with China "but there has to be change" in Beijing's trade policies.

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In a similar statement in October, the Chinese foreign ministry had rejected the claim that China was using "debt diplomacy" to expand its global influence and said the cooperation with the developing countries had effectively promoted their economic and social development and improvement of people's livelihood.

Asked about the incident, Chinese foreign ministry official Zhang Xiaolong told reporters: "It's not true".

However, Juffa said there was a need for caution and transparency when it comes to assistance and investment from other countries including China, and argued that Papua New Guinea should own its own economy in order to maintain its sovereignty. "I think there is a lot more progress being made here than I think is probably being acknowledged", he said. On Sunday, as he left the PNG capital of Port Moresby, he listed USA differences with China. Most Papua New Guineans live in the highlands and other remote areas.

Australia, which has long-standing military ties with the United States, has already announced plans to redevelop PNG's Lombrum Naval Base on Manus Island.

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% have a reliable electricity supply.

In his speech, Pence criticized Chinese largesse in strong terms, mocking its Belt and Road Initiative that sees China offering loans to poorer countries in the region to improve infrastructure.

And as the U.S. and China vie for influence in the region, the statement dangled the prospect of similar projects for countries that "support principles and values which help maintain and promote a free, open, prosperous and rules-based region".

China, meanwhile, has promised $4 billion of finance to build the the first national road network in Papua New Guinea, among the least urbanised countries in the world.

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