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Ardern says cancelled APEC a missed chance to push for trade war resolution

Thursday 31st October 2019

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New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is disappointed the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting isn’t going ahead as it would have provided an opportunity to push for resolution on global trade wars.

“None of us benefit from some of the trade wars we have seen in recent times. Forums like APEC are forums where we can seek to find solutions, so it is disappointing that won’t be able to happen this year,” she said.

“It would have been a venue where we could have talked about those increasing trade tensions. My hope is that leaders will find other forums to resolve some of the international issues we are seeing.”

Ardern made the comments at a media stand-up in Hamilton after the Chilean government pulled out of hosting APEC in the wake of violent protests that have wracked the South American nation in recent days. Chile will also no longer host the annual global climate change summit in December, known as COP25, which was to have been in Santiago.

She will travel to Bangkok to attend the East Asia Summit next week, where she will discuss nuclear proliferation, terrorism and violent extremism, maritime security, and climate change with regional leaders.

The APEC summit was scheduled to bring together 20 world leaders on Nov. 16-17. US President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping had been due possibly to sign an interim agreement to end the trade war between the two nations.

Early today, however, President Sebastian Pinera announced Chile was pulling out of APEC and the COP25 meetings.

"As president of all Chileans I always have to put the problems and interests of Chileans, their needs, their desires and their hopes, first in line,” he said, adding the government priority is re-establishing public order, citizen security and peace.

According to local media reports, 18 people have died in the violence and 7,000 have been arrested. The riots were sparked when Pinera tried to lift fares on the capital’s metro system by 30 pesos, or about 4 percent.

In a brief statement, UN Climate Change executive secretary Patricia Espinosa said "we are currently exploring alternative hosting options" for COP25. Chilean Foreign Minister Teodoro Ribera said the cancellation of APEC in no way impacts Chile's commitment to the economic forum.

"Chile will continue working so that everything achieved this year will be transferred in the best way to Malaysia," which will host APEC 2020, he said in a statement. 


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