An unexpected change for South Korean leader Moon Jae-in in regards to his diplomatic schedule for the month of November.
It had been confirmed by South Korea's presidential office that the president would visit Thailand for ASEAN-related meetings, travel to the APEC Summit in Chile and make a stop in Mexico on his way there.
There is also the Korea-ASEAN Special Summit in the country's southern port-city of Busan toward the end of the month.
But with Wednesday's announcement by the Chilean President that he was scrapping the APEC Summit in Santiago due to intensifying anti-government protests, a decision also endorsed by the APEC Secretariat,… the doors to President Moon's planned sideline meetings with other world leaders also slammed shut.
Although South Korea's presidential office has said it would closely monitor the cancellation-- reviving the APEC summit at this late stage looks highly unlikely.
It was thought the South Korean president would meet with U.S. President Donald Trump in Chile for talks on speeding up denuclearization talks with North Korea.
There could've also been sideline talks with the leaders of China and Russia,… both deemed to be critical partners in efforts related to the North.
On top of that,.. efforts to soothe Seoul's relations with Japan were also expected to be on the cards amid their trade spat.
With the termination date of their bilateral intelligence-sharing pact known as GSOMIA, scheduled for just days after the now-cancelled APEC Summit,… there was speculation the leaders of South Korea and Japan would hold sideline talks in Chile.
"With the sudden change in the schedule- a lot of unknowns in the major diplomatic projects. What remains intact however-- is the administration's stern resolve in overcoming what the president called as the "last hurdle" in the denuclearization talks,… and its unchanging stance in easing ties with Japan through dialogue.
Shin Se-min, Arirang News."