Donald Trump has threatened to cancel a series of upcoming meetings with Mexico if the country does not agree to pay for a wall along the US-Mexico border.
Mexican president Enrique Pena Nieto is due to arrive in Washington next week for a series of meeting. On Wednesday, Mr Pena Nieto repeated his vow that Mexico would not pay for the wall.
Mr Trump responded with a pair of tweets, saying that if Mexico was not going to agree to fund the wall, the president should cancel his upcoming visit.
“The US has a 60bn dollar trade deficit with Mexico. It has been a one-sided deal from the beginning of NAFTA with massive numbers... of jobs and companies lost,” he wrote.
“If Mexico is unwilling to pay for the badly needed wall, then it would be better to cancel the upcoming meeting.”
The Mexican leader was one of just a handful of foreign leaders that Mr Trump met before he won last November’s election. In a piece of political theatre that seized the news agenda, Mr Trump flew to Mexico last August and held a joint press conference with the Mexican leader.
Mr Trump told reporters at the event, that the pair had not discussed who should pay for the proposed wall. The Mexican president said subsequently, that he had told the New York tycoon that America would not pay.
The decision to invite Mr Trump to Mexico cost Mr Peña Nieto dearly. His approval ratings are barely in double digits, and the currently has tumbled. Millions of proposed business investments in Mexico have been cancelled.
In a video statement, he said: “Mexico does not believe in walls. I’ve said time again; Mexico will not pay for any wall.”
Mr Peña Nieto said he would wait for a final report from his top officials who have gone to Washington to meet with the Trump administration before deciding whether to proceed with his visit.
He also said he had ordered government agencies to step up protection for immigrants, according to CNN.
He added that the 50 Mexican Consulates in the US will be used to defend the rights of immigrants in the country. He also issued a call to action to legislators and civil organisations to help immigrants.
“I’ve asked for the minister of Foreign Relations to re-enforce protection measures to our citizens,” he said.
“Mexico offers its friendship to the people of the United States and expresses its wish to arrive at agreements with its government, deals that will be in favor of Mexico and the Mexicans.”
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