After several weeks of violent unrest, Chile said it will no longer host a global trade summit in November or a climate summit in December.
In a brief announcement in Santiago on Wednesday (October 30), President Sebastian Pinera said, "this has been a difficult decision, a decision that causes us a lot of pain." The APEC gathering was scheduled to bring together 20 world leaders, including U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP, IN AN EXCHANGE WITH A REPORTER, SAYING: REPORTER: "Mr. President, are you going to sign the phase one deal with China when you go to Chile?" TRUMP: "Yeah, we are looking, probably, to be ahead of schedule to sign a very big portion of the China deal." Trump this week was optimistic he would sign the first part of an historic trade deal with Xi at the summit.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP, SAYING: "Probably we'll sign it--, I imagine the meeting is scheduled for Chile.
I know they have some difficulties right now in Chile.
But, I know the people in Chile and I'm sure they'll be able to work it out." A U.S. official told Reuters news the summit had been cancelled caught the White House by surprise.
The official said Washington learned about the decision from news reports and is seeking more information.
Chileans demanding government reforms poured out into the streets again this week.
Clashes with police left smoldering wreckage in the streets of the capital.
The demonstrations were sparked by a hike in public transit fare prices and have been fueled by frustration over income inequality.
Over the weekend more than a million marched peacefully, in the largest protest since Chile returned to democracy in 1990.