Obama Cancels Asia Trip, Cites Shutdown

Due to the federal government’s partial shutdown, President Obama cancelled a planned eight-day trip to Asia that would have brought him to Brunei and Indonesia this week. “The President made this decision based on the difficulty in moving forward with foreign travel in the face of a shutdown, and his determination to continue pressing his case . . . to reopen the government,” states the White House’s Oct. 3 release. Obama was set to depart Washington, D.C., on Oct. 5 to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Indonesia, and the East Asia Summit in Brunei. Secretary of State John Kerry is now leading US delegations to those venues in Obama’s place, according to the White House. This is the third time since 2010 that Obama has scrapped an Asia trip due to political issues at home, according to press reports. The White House’s announcement came on the same day that the United States and Japan released a revamped defense and security agreement after meetings in Tokyo between Kerry and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel with their Japanese counterparts. (See also Airpower and Engagement in Southeast Asia.)