Australia, the United States and Papua New Guinea have agreed to expand the Lombrum naval base on Manus Island to counter rising Chinese influence in the Asia-Pacific. Speaking at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Port Moresby on Saturday, US vice-president Mike Pence warned southeast Asian nations against buying into China’s Belt and Road initiative, saying “projects they support are often unsustainable and poor quality”. Australian prime minister Scott Morrison used the summit to lay out the case for free trade amid rising tensions between China and the US, warning on Saturday that “tit-for-tat protectionism and threats of trade wars are in no-one’s interests economically and undermine the authority of the global and regional trading rules that benefit us all”. The summit ended without leaders agreeing on a joint communique, with Pence and Chinese president Xi Jinping criticising each other over trade policy …

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