Chile backs out of hosting APEC summit, adding uncertainty to US-China trade deal

Chile backs out of hosting APEC summit, adding uncertainty to US-China trade deal
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Chile will no longer host the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit next month amid widespread unrest in the country, President Sebastián Piñera announced Wednesday, adding uncertainty to a trade agreement between the U.S. and China.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpHouse drip-bombing of witness testimony softens landing zone for public support Republican who aided in Clinton impeachment trial: Trump Ukraine phone call 'troublesome' Trump highlights Gingrich comments on 'coup' by 'left-wingers' MORE was among the world leaders expected to attend the gathering in Santiago on Nov. 16 and 17.

Trump said as recently as Monday that he planned to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping there to sign phase one of a trade deal between the two countries.

"I know they have some difficulties, right now, in Chile," Trump said Monday. "But I know the people of Chile and I'm sure they'll be able to work it out."

It was not immediately clear if the summit would be called off altogether or held in a different location.

White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley said in a statement that it did not appear there was a secondary site prepared to host APEC in light of Chile's announcement. He downplayed any impact the change might have on the signing of the China trade deal, which the two sides are still negotiating.

"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,” Gidley said.

Piñera earlier this month declared a state of emergency in Santiago as protests turned violent in the capital. There have been hundreds of arrests and injuries as tensions flare between protesters and police and tear gas and projectiles are fired in the streets.

The protests began earlier this month as part of a campaign by young people to protest the second fare increase on the city’s transportation system this year, The New York Times reported. The fare increase came amid broader concerns about the cost of living and poverty.

The Chilean president also announced on Wednesday that his nation would no longer host the United Nations' environmental conference scheduled for December.

--This report was updated at 12:14 p.m.