Leaders from 21 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) economies on November 18 were unable to sign a joint statement at the 26th APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting in Papua New Guinea. (Source: Reuters)

Hanoi (VNA) – Leaders from 21 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) economies on November 18 were unable to sign a joint statement at the 26th APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting in Papua New Guinea in the context of deep divisions between the US and China over trade and investment.

For the first time in the history of APEC, the leaders have failed to come up with a formal joint statement.

Speaking at a closing press conference, Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O’Neill said as APEC host, he would release a Chairman’s Statement later on the day.

He said the reform of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) was the main issue causing differences among the APEC leaders.

Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau admitted that different visions on particular elements with regard to trade hindered the release of a statement document.

The annual gathering, held for the first time in Papua New Guinea since it joined the forum in 1993, was overshadowed by trade differences and competence for greater influence in the Pacific region between the US and China.

However, US Vice President Mike Pence and Chinese President Xi Jinping had held talks for two times within the framework of the APEC summit, Pence told the press. 

At the 26th APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting, themed “Harnessing Inclusive Integration, Embracing the Digital Future”, the leaders of the 21 member economies discussed measures to enhance integration, maintain comprehensive growth and promote the digital economy.

APEC groups Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, China, Hong Kong (China), Indonesia, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Chinese Taipei, Thailand, the United States and Vietnam.-VNA