By Meriba Tulo – EMTV News
The battle lines for influence in the Indo-Pacific Region look to have been drawn in Port Moresby, with the leaders of two of the world’s most influential countries outlining their plans for this strategic region.
On the one hand, you have China’s Belt & Road Initiative – and on the other, the United State of America’s announcement for greater involvement in this region.
The Final session of the APEC CEO Summit concluded with the two superpowers China and the United States addressing Business leaders.
President Xi Jinping of China spoke of the development needs of the Indo-Pacific region calling for nations to focus on its people as the cornerstone of development.
Currently China and the US are caught in a Trade war with both countries introducing tariffs on both sides.
United States Vice President Mike Pence responded to the unfair practices by China over the years saying the days of China taking advantage of the United States of America is over.
“In the President’s words, China has taken advantage of the United States for many years. And those days are over,” says president Pence.
President Xi Jinping’s also explained the Belt & Road Initiative.
Developed five years ago, the BRI has been the blueprint for China’s increasing engagement in this Region, including Papua New Guinea.
According to China’s leader, the BRI was not in any way a plan to garner political control of developing countries by China through what was being described as debt-traps.
“the BRI is an open platform for cooperation. It is guided by the principle of consultation and collaboration for shared benefits.
It is not designed to serve any hidden Geo-political agenda. It is not targeted against anyone and it does not exclude anyone. It is not an exclusive club that is closed to non-members nor it is a trap as some people had labeled it,” says president Xi.
With extravagant amounts of funding being provided by China to developing countries, many of them in this Region, there have been concerns that this level of funding may land many countries in debt – debt that many may not be able to repay later on – a point not lost on America’s Vice President.
Whilst this battle between China and the United States have implications for all economies, Vice President Pence has assured economies that there is still room for close cooperation between the world’s two superpowers.