Obama Cancels Asia Tour

October 3, 2013

President Barack Obama called off plans to visit Asia and attend two summits because of the U.S. government shutdown, raising questions about the strategic "pivot" to the region that he announced just two years ago, Reuters said on October 3.

Obama had planned to depart on Saturday for a four-nation, week-long trip. He canceled visits to Malaysia and the Philippines earlier this week because of his budget struggle in the U.S. Congress and said late on Thursday he would not attend the regional summits in Indonesia and Brunei.

Obama was scheduled to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, among other leaders, at the summits.

Two of his main aims would have been to discuss the Syria crisis with Putin and to hold talks on a maritime code of conduct for disputed territories in the oil- and gas-rich South China Sea.

"We are disappointed," said Indonesian Information Minister Tifatul Sembiring on the island of Bali, host of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit from Sunday.

"I think the summit will go on, there is a long-term plan. (But) without Obama, you can imagine how disappointed we are. We could hardly imagine he wouldn't come."

Copyright: Reuters, 2013.