Pence to Meet With Mexico's President in Peru on Saturday - White House

Vice President Pence speaks in Washington

For Pence, the calls and schedule changes served as the latest example of his supporting role here in place of Trump, who pulled out of the summit so he could manage the US response to the suspected chemical attack in Syria.

The announcement came as Pence arrived in Lima for the Summit of the Americas.

Pence said Saturday in a meeting with Peruvian President Mart?n Vizcarra at the Summit of the Americas in Lima that he's grateful for Vizcarra's role in withdrawing Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's invitation to the summit.

Pence says he will be calling on US allies to provide additional humanitarian aid during the Summit of the Americas in Lima.

The move came shortly before President Donald Trump is expected to address the USA on Friday night amid anticipation of a retaliatory strike for an apparent Syrian chemical weapon attack last weekend that killed more than 40 people.

"In its modern history, Latin America has never experienced an exodus of this dimension", Matthew Reynolds, the regional representative for the United States and Caribbean for the U.N. agency, said at an event at the Brookings Institution in Washington on Friday.

The White House said on Tuesday that Trump had made a decision to call off his trip to Peru - which would have been his first trip to Latin America as president - to focus on Syria following a suspected chemical weapons attack.

Vice President Mike Pence says the topic of funding President Donald Trump's long-promised border wall did not come up in his meeting with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto at an worldwide summit in Peru.

Pena Nieto's office says in a statement that the meeting will take place Saturday morning in Lima, Peru, where the summit is taking place.

That adds further tensions as the neighbors, along with Canada, work to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement. Pence is in Lima, Peru, to attend the Summit of the Americas and called the leaders from his hotel room.

With the White House's encouragement, Maduro has been barred from the summit over his plans to hold a presidential election that the opposition is boycotting and that many foreign governments consider a sham.

Vizcarra will meet one-on-one with Pence on Friday.

Antonio Ledezma, the former mayor of Caracas, pleaded with Pence through a translator to bolster sanctions against Maduro, asking for "not only humanitarian aid but humanitarian intervention".

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Panama recently said it would pursue sanctions of its own - the first Latin American nation do so - by blacklisting dozens of Venezuelan officials from doing business in the Central American country.

Heads of State and Government of the Western Hemisphere are now meeting at the Eighth Summit of the Americas being held on April 13 and 14, 2018 in Lima, Peru.

Pence's deputy chief of staff, Jarrod Agen, says Pence called House Speaker Paul Ryan, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell and House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi before Trump's speech Friday night.

White House officials said the vice president would emphasize the U.S. as the "partner of choice" in Latin American trade, noting that almost half of the US' trade agreements are based in the Western Hemisphere.

Yet the timing of the trade pitch will be delicate.

The vice president's visit comes as the Trump administration is embroiled in an escalating trade fight with China, seeking a renegotiated version of NAFTA and floating the possibility the United States could eventually rejoin the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

"No one wants to do bilateral trade deals with the United States, and Trump had no Plan B", said Robert Manning, an Asia expert and senior fellow at the Atlantic Council.

The deal was meant to create a sweeping trade bloc and help counterbalance China's economic influence.

But U.S. and Chinese trade will loom large over talks as a heated dispute between the world's two biggest economies continues to fan fears of a trade war.

Trump, meanwhile, has long assailed the impact of NAFTA on U.S. workers and has insisted on a new round of negotiations between the U.S., Canada and Mexico on NAFTA.

Following the Summit of the Americas Prime Minister Chastanet will attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in London from April 16th -20th 2018.

Trump has over the past few weeks been pushing a tougher line on immigration and seeking stronger protections along the US-Mexican border.

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