US, Chile discuss co-hosting Apec summit in America

WASHINGTON • The US and Chilean governments are discussing co-hosting an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) summit in the United States in January, after Chile withdrew from staging the event in Santiago this month, a senior US official said on Thursday.

Separately, Malaysia's Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah said US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told him that the US was thinking of hosting the annual Apec summit in January, and that Malaysia did not support the idea.

Chile last week backed out of hosting the Apec summit that had been scheduled for Nov 16 to 17 because of violent street protests across the country. Malaysia is set to host the next Apec summit, scheduled for the end of next year.

The senior US official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said discussions were under way about Washington and Santiago working to reschedule this year's summit at an unspecified US venue but that no decision had been made.

Mr Saifuddin told reporters on Thursday that Mr Pompeo had spoken to him in Bangkok and told him the US was thinking of hosting the Apec summit in January.

"But I have informed the American officials who were in Bangkok that we don't think it's a good idea," he added, without elaborating.

Mr Saifuddin was in the Thai capital earlier this month for a regional summit. Washington had sent a delegation, with Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross as the highest-ranking US official in attendance.

US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping had originally been expected to sign an interim deal to end a damaging trade war at the Chile summit.

The Trump-Xi meeting could be delayed until December as discussions continue over terms and venue, the senior official said.

 

Asked about the US possibly co-hosting Apec, China's Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said they had been "in constant communication with all sides on this to understand the situation".

"In principle, on the issue of Apec, it should respect the views of the host and should comply with the principle of agreement by unanimity," Mr Geng said, without elaborating.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 09, 2019, with the headline 'US, Chile discuss co-hosting Apec summit in America'. Print Edition | Subscribe