Peru president-elect jokes about ending ties with U.S. if Trump wins

LIMA Peru’s president-elect Pedro Pablo Kuczynski said amid laughter on Tuesday that his government would sever ties with the United States if Republican Donald Trump wins the U.S. presidential election in November.

Kuczynski, a 77-year-old former investment banker who won the Andean country’s tight runoff race earlier this month, said he mentioned his worries about a Trump presidency to U.S. President Barack Obama on a congratulatory phone call.

Asked by a reporter what would happen to relations with the United States if Trump wins, a laughing Kuczynski said “we’re going to grab a saw and cut them off!”

The presumptive Republican nominee in the race to succeed Obama, Trump has sparked criticism across Latin America for his anti-immigrant rhetoric, especially in Mexico where President Enrique Pena Nieto has compared his campaign to the rise of Adolf Hitler.

Trump is a threat to the region “because he wants to put up a wall between the United States and Latin America and make Mexicans pay for it!” Kuczynski said in reference to Trump’s proposal for stemming the flow of undocumented immigrants and drugs across the southern U.S. border.

Peru is a leading global supplier of copper and gold. It also shares the dubious distinction with neighboring Colombia of being one of the world’s leading producers of cocaine.

Peru and the United States implemented a free trade agreement in 2009 and are both signatories of the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, which Trump has criticized.

(Reporting By Mitra Taj; Editing by Tom Brown)

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