October 24, 2019 / 5:33 PM / 21 days ago

Asia-Pacific conference to proceed in riot-racked Santiago -foreign minister

By Natalia A. Ramos Miranda

SANTIAGO, Oct 24 (Reuters) - The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit slated for mid-November in riot-racked Santiago will go on despite protests against inequality in Chile that have left at least 16 dead, Foreign Minister Teodoro Ribera said on Thursday.

Riots that started over a hike in public transport costs prompted days of arson attacks and looting that led to the arrest of more than 6,000 people, officials said.

Chile’s military has taken over security in Santiago, a city of 6 million, imposing curfews for five consecutive nights.

Ribera said Chile’s foreign ministry had contacted each of the 20 participants in the conference, known by its initials APEC, amid the crisis in Santiago.

“They have expressed no doubt with respect to their attendance,” he told reporters.

U.S. President Donald Trump earlier in October said he would likely sign a trade deal with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Santiago summit, though U.S. officials more recently said the pact could be delayed.

In Chile, anger over inequality and cost of living sent tens of thousands into the streets to demand an overhaul in one of the region’s traditionally most stable, and wealthy, nations.

Reporting by Natalia Ramos; Writing by Dave Sherwood; Editing by Richard Chang

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