Obama cancels APEC trip due to gov't shutdown
Last Updated: 2013-10-04 10:42 | Xinhua
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U.S. President Barack Obama has cancelled his trip to Asia next week due to the government shutdown, the White House announced Thursday night.

"Due to the government shutdown, President Obama's travel to Indonesia and Brunei has been cancelled," the White House said in a statement.

Obama made the decision in order to continue pressing his case that Republicans should immediately allow a vote to reopen the government.

Secretary of State John Kerry will lead U.S. delegations to both countries in place of the president, it said

The White House described the cancellation of Obama's Asian trip as "another consequence of the House Republicans forcing a shutdown of the government," which will set back the ability to create jobs through promoting U.S. exports and advancing its leadership and interests in the largest emerging region in the world.

Obama held two separate telephone talks Thursday night with Brunei Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah and Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, to inform the cancellation of the visits.

He reaffirmed the importance of U.S.-Brunei and U.S.-Indonesia partnerships and expressed his regret that "the ongoing government shutdown in the United States will prevent him from attending the summits."

Obama originally planned to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in Indonesia and host a meeting of leaders of the Trans-Pacific Partnership countries on the sidelines of the APEC meeting. And during his planned visit to Brunei, he was scheduled to attend the U.S.-ASEAN Summit and the East Asia Summit.

Obama on Wednesday already cancelled two planned visits to the Philippines and Malaysia, other two stops in his planned trip to Asia.

As the first government shutdown in 17 years dragged into a third day on Thursday, U.S. Congress showed no signs of compromise, with both sides digging in their heels after nonessential U.S. government employees were furloughed earlier in the week.

In a speech at Maryland, Obama said Thursday that the government shutdown is not about spending, but solely due to the Republicans' obsession with dismantling his signature healthcare law.

He said the only thing preventing the federal government from reopening is that House Speaker John Boehner won't hold a yes-or-no vote on a Senate-passed bill because Boehner doesn't want to anger the "extremists" in his party.

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