Obama cancels part of Asia trip because of shutdown

The White House said early Wednesday that President Obama would skip stops in Malaysia and the Philippines when he travels to Asia next week because of the partial shutdown of the federal government.

Obama phoned the president of the Philippines and the prime minister of Malaysia to say he would be unable to visit those countries, the White House said. For now, he still plans to travel to Indonesia and Brunei, where he is slated to attend two major international summits.

The trip is scheduled to begin Saturday, and is an important part of the president's effort to strengthen U.S. foreign policy in Asia. The White House said Secretary of State John F. Kerry will visit the Philippines and Malaysia instead of the president.

The Post's David Nakamura received this e-mailed statement from Caitlin Hayden, a spokeswoman for the National Security Council:

Due to the government shutdown, President Obama’s travel to Malaysia and the Philippines has been postponed. Logistically, it was not possible to go ahead with these trips in the face of a government shutdown. Because they are on the back end of the President’s upcoming trip, our personnel was not yet in place and we were not able to go forward with planning. Unlike the APEC and East Asia Summits, these trips can also be rescheduled, and President Obama looks forward to visiting Malaysia and the Philippines later in his term. Secretary Kerry will lead delegations to both countries in place of the President.

The cancellation of this trip is another consequence of the House Republicans forcing a shutdown of the government. This completely avoidable shutdown is setting back our ability to promote U.S. exports and advance U.S. leadership in the largest emerging region in the world. A faction of House Republicans are doing whatever they can to deny America from carrying out our exceptional role in the world.

We have no updates on the President’s travel to major international summits in Indonesia and Brunei. We will continue to evaluate those trips based on how events develop throughout the course of the week. For the sake of our national security and economic prosperity, we urge Congress to reopen the government.

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Sean Sullivan · October 1, 2013