Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, left, and U.S. Vice President Mike Pence talk before an International Monetary Fund (IMF) informal dialogue session at APEC Haus in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, Sunday, Nov. 18, 2018. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

The Latest: US signs up to bring power to Papua New Guinea

November 17, 2018 - 8:23 pm

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (AP) — The Latest on the summit of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation in Papua New Guinea (all times local):

11:20 a.m.

Four countries including the U.S. have signed up to an effort to bring electricity to 70 percent of Papua New Guinea's people by 2030.

Australia, Japan, the U.S. and New Zealand on Sunday signed an agreement to work with Papua New Guinea's government on electrification.

It's the latest sign of great power competition in the South Pacific, where China is vying with the U.S. and its allies for influence.

Only about 20 percent of Papua New Guinea's 8 million people have electricity and for a significant proportion of them the supply is not reliable. Most of the population lives in the highlands and other remote areas.

World leaders are meeting this weekend in Papua New Guinea's capital for an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit.


10:40 a.m.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and Chinese President Xi Jinping were seen chatting for a minute and a half on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting Saturday evening, hours after making speeches that strongly attacked each country's trade and other policies.

Leaders of 21 Pacific Rim nations at the meeting were gathering for a group photo in the APEC summit's signature colorful shirts when the encounter happened.

Video shows Pence talking animatedly with Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau when Xi arrived in the room. Xi greeted other leaders and stopped to talk with Pence, an interpreter showing up as the conversation began.

Neither side has commented on what was discussed.

In his speech, Pence said there would be no letup in President Donald Trump's policy of combating China's mercantilist trade policy and intellectual property theft that has erupted into a tit-for-tat tariff war between the two world powers this year.


2:40 p.m.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence has met with the head of Taiwan's delegation to an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting.

The U.S. doesn't have diplomatic relations with Taiwan, which China regards as a renegade province, but is obliged by an act of Congress to help with the island's military defense.

A U.S. official told the media pool traveling with Pence that the vice-president had a "pull-aside" meeting with Morris Chang, the octogenarian founder of a Taiwanese semiconductor manufacturing giant. The official didn't give other details.

Taiwan is a member of the 21 nation APEC, which is having its annual leaders meeting in Papua New Guinea's capital Port Moresby.


12 p.m.

China's president says the world faces a choice of cooperation or confrontation in a speech to a summit of leaders that is divided by tensions stemming from increased U.S. protectionism.

President Xi Jinping expressed support for global free trading system that has underpinned his country's rise to world's second-biggest economy.

Xi says, "The future of mankind hinges on the choices we make."

Leaders of Pacific Rim countries that make up 60 percent of the world economy are meeting in the capital of Papua New Guinea for an annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit.

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