Chile scraps Asia-Pacific and climate summits today as massive protests continue

Chile's President Sebastian Pinera announces that he is calling off the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Economic Forum, APEC, and Climate Change COP25 Conference, at La Moneda presidential palace in Santiago, Chile, Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2019.

US and Chinese negotiators were hoping to finalize a modest trade agreement in time for President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping to sign it at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Santiago, which had been set for November 16-17.

The COP25 programme was due to run between 2-13 December.

Aides want to get Trump and Xi to a table to sign the incremental deal that could be followed by other "phases" after the US president was ripped by Democrats and some national security experts for his handling of an announcement Sunday that USA military forces had conducted an operation in Syria that led to the death of Islamic State leader Abu al-Baghdadi.

Since the protests began, Chilean businesses have been hit with losses of around $1.4 billion while the metro public transport system in the capital suffered almost $400 million in damages, Reuters reported.

The APEC summit was scheduled to bring together 20 world leaders on November 16-17.

The official said the U.S. learned about the decision from news reports and was seeking more information.

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At least 20 people have been killed since the mass protests in Chile began.

At the United Nations, a spokesman said Pinera informed Secretary-General António Guterres by telephone Wednesday morning that Chile "would not be in a position to host the COP25 meeting".

Chilean President Sebastian Pinera said it had been a "very hard decision" to withdraw as host, as he understood the importance of the summits to Chile and the rest of the world.

With regard to the envisioned trade agreement with China, the statement said, "We look forward to finalizing Phase One of the historic trade deal with China within the same time frame", suggesting that Washington aims to seal the pact next month regardless of the regional summit. (Rodrigo Abd/AP Photo) Seen through a burning street barricade, an anti-government demonstrator waves a Chilean flag in Santiago, Chile, on October 28, 2019.

The United Nations said it "is now exploring alternative hosting options" for the COP25 conference.

The climate summit would have brought delegates from about 190 nations to talks aimed at thrashing out details of how to reduce global emissions to meet the Paris climate agreement. He also left open the possibility that Chile might find another location and revive the APEC meeting.

  • Sonia Alvarado