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Apec fails to agree on joint statement

Canberra

ASIA-PACIFIC leaders struggled to reach a consensus on the wording of a communique, reflecting heightened tensions fuelled by a trade war between the US and China.

Speaking at the conclusion of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) summit in Papua New Guinea, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters that negotiations had been difficult between the 21 economies represented. He said there would be a "chair's summary" of discussions.

"I don't think it will come as a huge surprise that there are differing visions on particular elements in regard to trade," Mr Trudeau told reporters on Sunday. "That prevented there from being a full consensus on the communique document."

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Agence France-Presse news agency reported earlier that Papua New Guinea police were called when Chinese officials attempted to "barge" into the office of the country's foreign minister to influence the drafting of the communique. Chinese officials denied the report, which cited three unidentified sources with knowledge of the matter.

US Vice President Mike Pence traded sharp barbs with Chinese leader Xi Jinping in back-to-back speeches at the Apec summit on Saturday. The differing views over trade and loans to developing countries indicated that neither side was backing down ahead of a planned meeting between Mr Xi and US President Donald Trump in the coming weeks. BLOOMBERG