Port Moresby (Papua New Guinea), Nov 17(ANI/Sputnik): Heated discussion over globalisation and regional trade took the center stage on Saturday's meeting, at the ongoing summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) in Papua New Guinea.
According to Sputnik, regional leaders expressed their concern over the disagreements between the US and China on bilateral trade, investment, and security issues in the Asia-Pacific region.
Amid the ruckus, Prime Minister of Malaysia Mahathir Mohamad expressed his scepticism over the challenges of globalization and regional integration, saying a removal of trade barriers have left behind many of the region's economies.
"The benefits of free and fair trade and economic integration have been ruptured, exemplified by Brexit and trade wars between major economies," the Malaysian Prime Minister said.
"The trade war between the US and China has amplified further the disruption to our trade and commerce," Mohamad added.
Mohamad's comments echoed the remarks made by US Vice President Mike Pence, who suggested that the free trade has gone too far and has promoted malicious trade practices in countries enjoying a certain competitive advantage, such as unlimited cheap labour.
Pence, further added that the US would keep its tariffs on China until Beijing addresses the concerns outlined in Washington's recent trade probes under the Sections 232 and 301.
However, representatives from Australia, China, and Russia see America's actions as harmful protectionism.
The US Vice President further commented that China's development initiatives are driving the regional economies in debt. While, Chinese President Xi Jinping expressed disagreement to his statements, saying Beijing's foreign investment does not have a foreign policy agenda attached to it. Giving an example of the 'Belt and Road' project, the Chinese premier mentioned that such
projects existed simply due to their long-term profitability.
Meanwhile, talking in terms of regional security, the US criticized China's ongoing effort to boost its presence in the South China Sea, particularly, in the disputed Spratly Islands. The South China Sea is an important strategic standpoint for China, as the majority of the country's energy imports come through maritime routes in the region. (ANI/Sputnik)