U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to the staff at the Department of Homeland Security in Washington, DC, on January 25, 2017.
Trump vowed to restore "control" of US frontiers as he moved Wednesday to fulfil his pledge to "build a wall" on the Mexican border, signing two immigration-related decrees and sounding a hardline tone. (AFP PHOTO/NICHOLAS KAMM)
WASHINGTON, Jan. 26 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Donald Trump said Thursday that his cancelled meeting with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto would have been "fruitless" if Mexico will not treat the U.S. "with respect."
"Unless Mexico is going to treat the United States fairly with respect, such a meeting would be fruitless and I want to go in different route. We have no choice," Trump said at a gathering in Philadelphia.
The remark came after Pena Nieto cancelled a visit to the U.S. after Trump tweeted that the meeting should be cancelled if Mexico won't pay for a border war.
"This morning we informed the White House that I will not attend the work meeting planned for next Tuesday with the POTUS," Pena Nieto said on Twitter.
The White House said Thursday that the U.S. would look for an opportunity to reschedule the meeting between Trump and Pena Nieto.
"We will look for a date to schedule something in the future. We will keep the lines of communication open," said White House spokesman Sean Spicer.
The talks were originally planned on issues about renegotiation of North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and migrants.
The row over the wall between Mexico and the United States escalated on Wednesday when Trump signed an executive order on the "immediate construction of a physical wall on the southern border."
Trump has maintained that Mexico would ultimately bear the cost of building the wall.
Pena Nieto responded later on Wednesday that his country rejected the U.S. decision to build a border wall and "will not pay for any wall."
Building a wall between the United States and Mexico was a central and controversial part of Trump's campaign, which drew support from low-income voters who believed that their jobs have been taken away by Mexicans as well as ire from opponents who considered the wall to be a symbol of xenophobia.