FILE – In this Oct. 3, 2013 file photo, President Barack Obama speaks in Rockville, Md. The president has called off a trip to Asia just as China’s president is being feted in regional capitals ahead of summits where the U.S. no-show will give China a chance to shine and boost its influence. The cancellation of Obama’s trip because of the partial government shutdown will also undermine the Obama administration’s much-advertised “pivot” to Asia after a decade of war in the greater Middle East. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama’s decision to scrap his Asia trip is a setback for his much-advertised pledge to shift the focus of foreign policy to the Pacific and a boost for China’s attempt to gain influence in the region.
By staying home because of the partial government shutdown, Obama hands new Chinese leader Xi Jinping a chance to fill the void at two Asian summits Obama had planned to attend. It’s the third time since 2010 that Obama has cancelled an Asia trip, all because of domestic political crises.
Washington’s budget crisis has reached the point where the White House felt compelled to skip Asia, giving Obama room to work with Congress on reopening the government. Had Obama left to attend the meetings, it would have given weight to critics who have said he’s more willing to negotiate with foreign leaders than the speaker of the House.
Secretary of State John Kerry will represent him at the summits in Indonesia and Brunei.
Budget strains had already put a damper on the Pentagon’s push to Login to read more