WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump will travel to Peru next month on his first trip to Latin America to attend a summit in the Peruvian capital Lima, the White House has said.
Trump will meet Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski and attend the 'Summit of the Americas' in Lima and will then travel to Colombia to meet with President Juan Manuel Santos, it said.
The regional summit, which began in 1994, is seen as the leading forum for the US to influence events across the region.
"The trip will be the President's first to Latin America, and he will participate in a series of bilateral, multilateral, and cultural engagements," White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said yesterday.
It demonstrates Trump's resolve to deepen US' historical ties with its partners in the region and to strengthen their joint commitment to improve security and prosperity for the people of the Americas, she said.
"The President is looking forward to meeting with partners and allies who share our values and believe that the promise of a safe and prosperous future rests in strong democracies, fair and reciprocal trade, and secure borders," Sanders said.
Trump has been critical of Latin American policies over drugs and trade and has vowed to crack down on illegal immigration from the region to the US.
Mexico, US' main trading partner in Latin America, was upset after Trump accused it of stealing US jobs.
He threatening to pull out of the North American Free Trade Agreement and insisted Mexico paid for a border wall he plans to build to keep out illegal immigrants.
This summit has run into a controversy over Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.
Peruvian leaders have repeatedly said Maduro is not invited to the summit because of his differences with the US government, but Maduro recently said he was determined to attend.
The US has backed Peru's decision to cancel Maduro's invitation to the summit, though several Latin American countries have asked that the host country reconsider that rebuff.
The last Summit of the Americas took place in Panama in 2015, when then-President Barack Obama used the opportunity to meet Cuban leader Raul Castro for the first time.