By Michaela del Callar
MANILA, 2Oct 2013 (PNA) – US President Barack Obama canceled his first-ever visit to the Philippines scheduled on Oct. 11 to 12 due to the US government shutdown, the Dept. of Foreign Affairs said Wednesday.
“This morning, United States President Barack Obama conveyed to Pres Benigno S. Aquino III that he regrets that he will not be able to push through with his visit to Manila this month.
President Obama explains that this is because of issues relating to the US government shutdown,” Foreign Affairs spokesman Raul Hernandez said in a statement.
“President Aquino understands the decision of President Obama. Philippines-US relations remain strong and forward looking,” Hernandez said.
The U.S. shutdown of government agencies which was caused by failure to meet a deadline to pass a budget prompted Obama to limit his travel time in Asia to deal with the crisis. Aside from the Philippines, Obama also canceled his visit to Malaysia.
The U.S Embassy in Manila said US Secretary of State John Kerry will replace Obama in Manila and Kuala Lumpur.
Obama will only travel to Bali, Indonesia to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit and to Brunei for the Association of South East Asian Nations summit with Aquino and other leaders from ASEAN, Japan, China, and Australia, among others. (PNA)