The United States is set to urge Australia and other countries in the region to ensure any major investments are transparent and don’t represent “empire and aggression”, as concerns grow about China’s influence.
US Vice President Mike Pence will issue the call on Saturday when he speaks at an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting in the Papua New Guinea capital Port Moresby, which Prime Minister Scott Morrison is also addressing.
Chinese President Xi Jinping received a lavish welcome in Port Moresby, being the first of the APEC leaders to arrive for the annual summit.
President Xi is due to announce a major aid and investment package to benefit Pacific nations including Fiji, Vanuatu, Samoa, Micronesia, the Cook Islands, Tonga and Niue.
“President Xi Jinping is a good friend of Papua New Guinea,” PNG Prime Minister Peter O’Neill told reporters.
Competition for influence in the Pacific between China and Western allies Australia, New Zealand and the US, is likely to provide a strong undercurrent at the APEC summit.
With US President Donald Trump not attending, Vice President Pence – who will be staying in Cairns and flying into PNG daily – will underline Australia’s role in the Indo-Pacific and call for greater economic development to bring prosperity to the region.
Speaking in Singapore before heading to Cairns, Vice President Pence said the US vision for the region was about “collaboration, not control”.
“The United States seeks an Indo-Pacific where every nation is free to follow its own path, pursue its own interests, where the seas and skies are open to all engaged in peaceful activity and where sovereign nations grow stronger together,” he said.
“Our vision excludes no nation requiring only that every nation treat their neighbours with respect
“Empire and aggression have no place in the Indo-Pacific – this is a region where every nation large and small must be permitted to prosper and thrive.”
President Xi wrote in an article published in PNG local media that China’s relations with Pacific countries would be centred on mutual respect and common development.
“China will work with Pacific island countries to brave the wind and waves and set sail for a brighter future in their relations,” the Chinese leader wrote.
Ahead of the APEC summit, Mr Morrison announced details of Australia’s “pivot” to the Pacific region including a $2 billion financing facility and $1 billion for Australia’s export financing agency Efic to support new investments.
© AAP 2018
Source: Google News : https://www.9news.com.au/2018/11/16/14/03/investors-must-show-their-hand-vp-pence