Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto has scrapped plans to meet Donald Trump next week, after the US President tweeted that Mexico should cancel the meeting if it is not prepared to pay for his proposed border wall.
The move cancels the two leaders’ plans to address their relationship, which has been frayed by Mr Trump’s determination to build the wall and to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement.
“This morning we informed the White House that I will not attend the work meeting planned for next Tuesday with the POTUS,” Mr Pena Nieto said on Twitter.
Earlier, Mr Trump’s tweets had suggested the US was owed the price of the wall after a “one-sided” trade deal with Mexico.
Even before the tweet, Mr Pena Nieto faced growing pressure at home to scrap the meeting over objections to the border wall.
Mr Trump signed new executive orders, including one authorising the planned wall, on Wednesday just as a Mexican delegation led by Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray arrived at the White House for talks.
The timing caused outrage in Mexico, with prominent politicians and many on social media seeing it as a deliberate snub to the Government’s efforts to engage with Mr Trump, who has for months used Mexico as a political punching bag.
Mr Videgaray said the summit was still on “for now”.
US-Mexico relationship ‘fine’, Paul Ryan says
On Thursday, leaders of the Republican-controlled US Congress said they planned to move ahead on funding the wall, which they projected would cost between $US12 billion and $US15 billion ($15 and 19 billion).
“So we intend to address the wall issue ourselves and the President can deal with his relations with other countries,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said at a news conference in Philadelphia, where Republicans were holding a retreat.
Asked if politicians were worried about the US relationship with Mexico, House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan said, “I think we’ll be fine”.
Mr Trump, who took office last Friday after winning the November 8 election, ruffled feathers with Mexico from the start of his presidential campaign in 2015.
As well as promising to construct the border wall, and make Mexico pay, he claimed the country sent criminals and rapists to the United States.
Mr Trump has also threatened to penalise US companies that use Mexican manufacturing plants to produce goods for the United States.
Online Source: Abc.net.au