Japan on Monday expressed concern about potential consequences for global growth of a deepening divide between the United States and China after their spat forced Pacific-rim countries to give up producing a joint statement at the end of their annual meeting.
"It is extremely important, not only for Asia but also for the world, that the United States and China, the world's largest and second-largest economies, build relations that will lead to stable global economic growth and development," Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said at a press briefing.
"Japan will continue to closely follow developments related to trade between the United States and China and communicate with them to deal with the issue appropriately," Suga, the top government spokesman said.
The United States and China traded barbs over trade and security during the weekend summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in the Papua New Guinea.
Leaders from the 21 economies did not release a joint communique for the first time since the forum started in 1993.
Papua New Guinean Prime Minister Peter O'Neill, chair of the APEC summit, said Sunday the leaders were at odds over World Trade Organization reforms. He indicated that a chair's statement may be issued instead.
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, visiting Papua New Guinea for President Donald Trump, criticized China for its unfair trade practices while Chinese President Xi Jinping took aim at Trump's "America First" trade agenda, saying protectionism hurts global growth.