President Sebastian Pinera, left, accompanied by Chile's Foreign Minister Teodoro Ribera, right, and Environment Minister Carolina Schmidt, walk down a set of stairs prior to Pinera’s announcement 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 AP
Chile’s President Sebastian Pinera, in a tweet, said his country will no longer be hosting two major international summits amid amid ongoing protests.
Pinera said Chile would not host the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit set for Nov. 16-17 and the global climate gathering planned for Dec. 2-13. It wasn't immediately clear if they would be shifted to another country.
``This has been a very difficult decision that causes us great pain,'' Pinera said in a televised address.
But he added, ``A president always has to put the needs of his compatriots first.''
The South American nation has seen 12 days of massive protests to demand greater economic equality and better public services. The demonstrations have been accompanied by some vandalism and arson, which forced the shutdown of numerous subway stations.
US and Chinese negotiators were hoping to finalize a modest trade agreement in time for Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping to sign it at the APEC summit in Santiago. Under the tentative deal, the US had agreed to suspend plans to raise tariffs on $250 billion in Chinese imports, and Beijing had agreed to step up purchases of US farm products.
UN Climate Change Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa issued a statement saying that ``alternative hosting options'' were being explored. And a UN official, speaking on condition of anonymity for lack of authorization to comment publicly, said that all UN venues are being considered as options. Those would include cities such as New York, Geneva, Bonn, Vienna and Nairobi.
One of the main topics for this year's meeting was to be setting up rules governing how countries can work jointly to cut emissions, as opposed to nation-by-nation efforts.
Even if cancelling the Santiago climate conference means those rules don't get written this year, ``the absence of rules does not stop countries from acting either alone or together'' to cut emissions, said Nigel Purvis, a climate and environment negotiator in the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations. ``It really shouldn't slow down climate action.''