Prime Minister Shinzo Abe failed at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum to bridge the deep U.S.-China trade divide, with the discord meaning no joint declaration was issued for the first time in the gathering's history.

The focus of the two-day regional economic summit that ended Sunday in Papua New Guinea's capital was whether the 21 member economies could reach a consensus over how to combat the creeping protectionist tendencies among certain APEC members.

Peter O'Neill, prime minister of the host country Papua New Guineaand chair of the gathering, hinted that the discord between U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and Chinese President Xi Jinping over trade led to the declaration being aborted.