Chile’s president said Wednesday that ongoing protests have forced him to cancel a summit next month at which President Donald Trump planned to sign an interim trade agreement with China's President Xi Jingping.
The South American nation was due to host the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in its capital, Santiago, on Nov. 16 and 17. Trump planned to meet Xi at the gathering, where the White House hoped the two leaders would sign what Trump has called "phase one" of a U.S.-China trade deal.
On Monday, Trump told reporters he'd "probably" sign the agreement. "I imagine the meeting is scheduled for Chile," he said. "I know they have some difficulties, right now, in Chile. But I know the people of Chile and I'm sure they'll be able to work it out."
White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley said the U.S. was "awaiting potential information regarding another location" but that the White House believed there was no alternative site ready.
He said the White House still planned to finalize "phase one" of the trade agreement with China "within the same time frame."
Chilean President Sebastian Pinera also called off COP25, the UN’s climate change conference, which was scheduled to take place in Santiago in early December, according to the Associated Press.
Chile has been rocked by protests for 12 days, with demonstrators demanding greater economic equality and better public services, according to the AP. Some vandalism and arson has also taken place.
Trump earlier this month announced a partial trade deal between the U.S. and China -- calling it "phase one" of an agreement -- covering intellectual property, financial services, and $40-$50 billion related to agricultural products.
U.S. officials have been working with their Chinese counterparts to put the deal to paper so that it could be signed at the APEC summit next month.