Moon’s diplomacy plans derailed by APEC summit cancellation
Published : Oct 31, 2019 - 16:05
Updated : Oct 31, 2019 - 16:10
President Moon Jae-in’s diplomacy plans appear to have been foiled by Chile’s decision to cancel the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit which was scheduled to be held in Santiago on Nov. 16-17.

On Wednesday, Chilean President Sebastian Pinera announced the cancellation of the APEC meeting, and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which were to be held in November and December, respectively. 

President Sebastian Pinera announces that Chile will suspend hosting the APEC summit and the COP25 climate summit at the La Moneda Presidential Palace in Santiago, Chile on Thursday. Yonhap

Announcing the decision, Pinera cited unrest caused by nationwide protests over economic inequality. The protests have resulted in a number of deaths and damage to private and public facilities.

Cheong Wa Dae has yet to announce its response to the news, with officials saying the situation needs to be assessed further.

“(Chile) has informed the world that the APEC (meeting) cannot be held in the country. There is nothing to announce as yet,” Cheong Wa Dae spokesperson Ko Min-jung told the media, adding that the presidential office became aware of the developments through news reports, and it is unclear how related matters will be decided.

She said that the situation needs to be monitored further, admitting that Chile’s decision has added uncertainties to Moon’s planned trip to Mexico that was announced Monday.

Moon’s trips to Chile and Mexico were to beginning with a two-day trip to Mexico City on Nov. 13, followed by a visit to Santiago from Nov. 15-17.

With leaders of major powers set to attend the APEC summit, Seoul had hoped to use it as an opportunity to give a boost to the Moon administration’s Korean Peninsula peace process.

Although Cheong Wa Dae only stated that a number of bilateral meetings were being arranged to be held on the sidelines of the event, there had been speculation that a summit meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe may be in the works.

In addition to Moon’s plans, Chile’s decision could also hinder US President Donald Trump’s planned meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping. The two had hoped to meet on the sidelines of the APEC summit, and sign a trade agreement that would see the US suspending plans to raise tariffs on Chinese imports, with Beijing increasing imports of US agricultural products.

By Choi He-suk (