America "will not tolerate ... chronic trade abuses," Trump said as he slammed the World Trade Organisation for failing to police free-trade infringements.

Trump speaks on the final day of the APEC CEO Summit, part of the broader Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders' summit, in Da Nang, Vietnam on November 10, 2017.
Trump speaks on the final day of the APEC CEO Summit, part of the broader Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders' summit, in Da Nang, Vietnam on November 10, 2017. (AFP)

US President Donald Trump gave a spirited airing of his "America First" doctrine in a speech to Asia-Pacific leaders on Friday, vowing his country will "no longer tolerate" unfair trade, closed markets and intellectual property theft, as he seeks to rewrite the rules of global commerce.

In a speech that by turns lavished praise on Asia-Pacific nations and accused them of undercutting the world's largest economy, he said US interests had been ill-served by the architecture of global trade.  

America "will not tolerate ... chronic trade abuses," he said as he took aim at the World Trade Organization for failing to police free-trade infringements.

TRT World's Kim Vinnell has more.

"We are not going to let the United States be taken advantage of anymore. I am always going to put America first the same way I expect all of you in this room to put your countries first."

Asia-Pacific region held hostage by Kim Jong-un

Trump said the Asia-Pacific region was being held hostage by the "twisted fantasies" of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, as he called on countries to stand united against Pyongyang.

Trump embarked on a tour of Asia this week trying to rally regional support for curbing North Korea's nuclear weapons programme, warning that time is running out over the crisis.

"The future of this region and its beautiful people must not be held hostage to a dictator's twisted fantasies of violent conquest and nuclear blackmail," he said during a speech in Vietnam to the annual Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum.

The region, he added, must "stand united in declaring that every single step the North Korean regime takes toward more weapons is a step it takes into greater and greater danger."

The US administration thinks China's economic leverage over North Korea is the key to strong-arming Pyongyang into halting its nuclear weapons and missile programmes.

On Thursday, Trump was in Beijing meeting President Xi Jinping, where he called on China to "act fast" over North Korea. 

"China can fix this problem easily and quickly, and I am calling on China and your great president to hopefully work on it very hard," he said. 

Washington has also worked in recent months to convince allies across Asia to oppose Pyongyang, an issue that will remain prominent during his two-day trip to Vietnam, which is currently hosting a major regional summit.

Alongside Trump, the leaders of Japan, Russia, China and South Korea are also attending the APEC summit.

Globalisation an 'irreversible historical trend': China's Xi

Speaking at the APEC summit, Chinese president Xi Jinping laid out his country's credentials as the new champion of world trade calling globalisation an "irreversible historical trend," in comments that offered a contrast to the "America First" doctrine espoused by Donald Trump moments earlier.

China's President Xi Jinping speaks on the final day of the APEC CEO Summit ahead of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders summit in Danang, Vietnam, November 10, 2017.
China's President Xi Jinping speaks on the final day of the APEC CEO Summit ahead of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders summit in Danang, Vietnam, November 10, 2017. (Reuters)

Xi conceded that the philosophy behind free trade needed to be repurposed to be "more open, more balanced, more equitable and more beneficial to all."

However, he defended multinational trade deals, which he said helped poorer nations benefit from global commerce.

"We should support the multilateral trading regime and practice open regionalism to allow developing members to benefit more from international trade and investment," he said in a speech punctuated by regular bouts of applause from delegates.

The Chinese leader's comments contrasted with remarks by US president Trump, who had spoken on the same stage moments earlier. 

Trump's withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a massive trade deal between 12 Pacific nations that excluded China, has been a boon to Beijing.

Xi has stepped into the void, portraying himself as the world's global free-trade leader and pushing its own version of TPP instead.

Source: AFP