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Chilean President Cancels APEC and COP25 Summits; U.S. Still Plans To Sign Trade Deal with China

Oct. 30, 2019 (EIRNS)—In a press conference this morning in Santiago, Chilean President Sebastián Piñera, flanked by his foreign and environment ministers, somberly announced that Chile would have to cancel the upcoming Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and COP25 climate change summits, scheduled for Nov. 16-17 and Dec. 2-13, respectively. Among other things, this is a big blow to Chile’s reputation, already badly hurt by 11 days of nationwide protests.

Piñera explained that as “painful” as the decision was, given the importance of both summits, he felt he had no other choice, given the escalating social protest that has wracked Chile since Oct. 17. “Our first concern and priority as a government is to concentrate absolutely, firstly, on fully reestablishing public order, citizen safety and social peace,” he said. He also vowed he would promote “with all the force necessary, the new social agenda to respond to the primary demands of our citizenry.”

No one is buying Piñera’s promises. Protests in the country, some violent, have escalated over the past 48 hours all over Chile, with another huge mobilization planned for today in Santiago. Chileans aren’t content with the band-aid measures that Piñera is proposing, and want a total overhaul of the deadly Pinochet economic model.

Given the cancellations, there is much discussion and speculation as to when, and if, U.S. President Donald Trump and China’s President Xi Jinping will meet to sign “phase one” of the U.S.-China trade agreement, as they had planned for Santiago. According to AFP, however, White House spokesman Hogan Gidley stated that even though APEC doesn’t have a secondary site prepared, “We look forward to finalizing Phase One of the historic trade deal with China within the same time frame, and when we have an announcement, we’ll let you know.”

The COP25 summit was to have evaluated nations’ compliance with the UN’s Copenhagen climate change dictates, and whether any alternative venue can be arranged is unknown. Patricia Espinosa, the UN Climate Change Executive Secretary, was quoted by the Guardian as saying “we are currently exploring alternative hosting options ... it is our understanding that the organization does not currently have a secondary site prepared.”

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