A standoff between Chinese President Xi Jinping and US Vice-President Mike Pence at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) summit last week highlighted the growing rivalry between the two countries, and dampened hopes of an agreement when President Donald Trump meets with Xi at the G20 summit later this month.
The members of Apec failed to reach a communique for the first time since the event was launched 29 years ago, according to Reuters, with the two leaders using their floor time to trade rhetorical jabs at each other’s policies.
“We have great respect for President Xi and China, but as we all know, China has taken advantage of the United States for many, many years and those days are over,” said Pence. Later, speaking on Beijing’s ambitious multi-national infrastructure investment program, the Belt and Road Initiative, Pence said the “the United States deals openly, fairly. We do not offer a constricting belt or a one-way road.”
Xi, in turn, took aim at the White House’s recent measures to counter Chinese economic influence, such as tariffs and trade arrangements with regional rivals.
“Unilateralism and protectionism will not solve problems but add uncertainty to the world economy,” he said. “History has shown that confrontation, whether in the form of a cold war, a hot war or a trade war, produces no winners.”