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Obama cancels trip to Philippines, Malaysia

By Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 08:58 a.m. HST, Oct 02, 2013

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia » The Malaysian and Philippine governments said Wednesday (Tuesday in Hawaii) that they understood President Barack Obama's decision to cancel upcoming visits to their countries.

The White House announced earlier in the day that Obama was calling off stops in Malaysia and the Philippines on his long-planned trip to Asia because of the partial government shutdown.

Obama is scheduled to leave Saturday night for what was originally a four-nation tour. The White House said Obama will still travel to Indonesia and Brunei. The trip is part of Obama's broader focus on boosting U.S. economic ties with Asia.

The White House said Obama called Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak and Philippine President Benigno Aquino III on Tuesday to inform them of his change in plans and commit to traveling to both countries later in his term.

Najib said Obama told him that Secretary of State John Kerry will represent the president to address an entrepreneurship conference in Kuala Lumpur on Oct. 11.

Kerry will also travel to Manila for talks with Philippine officials, according to the U.S. Embassy there.

Obama was to have been the first U.S. president to visit Malaysia since Lyndon B. Johnson in 1966.

"I empathize and understand," Najib said of Obama's decision to cancel. "If I were in his shoes, I would do the same."

In Manila, Ricky Carandang, a spokesman for Aquino, also said that Obama's decision was understandable, and that the Philippines looks forward to welcoming him "at a more opportune time."

The Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs said in a statement that relations between the two countries "remain strong and forward-looking."

The shutdown took effect Tuesday after Congress missed its deadline to fund the government.

Obama twice canceled trips to Asia in 2010, once to stay in Washington for votes on his health care law, and once because of an oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

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Carang_da_buggahz wrote:
I bet he won't miss his next visit to Martha's Vineyard or his next Golf date. That's okay, though. I'm sure Michelle and the girls already have another jetsetting trip planned.
on October 2,2013 | 06:42AM
AhiPoke wrote:
It's a start. In the past the president has been so removed from the important tasks of the day that he could honestly state that he had no knowledge of what was going on. Benghazi is a prime example of that. Hopefully he jumps into this critical issue with the intent to find resolution not for political gain.
on October 2,2013 | 08:10AM
gari wrote:
good point .no credibility any way with our country in shambles
on October 2,2013 | 01:27PM
hawaiikone wrote:
That would be nice. I'd like to see Barry finally start being a leader. Being in Washington instead of somewhere else is a good start. Now if he could just concentrate on us rather than destroying the GOP....
on October 2,2013 | 10:31PM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
Do not travel to Malaysia, as it's preferable to go to Russia, Iran, Syria and North Korea, where the hot spots in global diplomacy requires the presence of America, if we are going to be the world's cop.
on October 2,2013 | 09:30AM
Morimoto wrote:
What? You make no sense at all.
on October 2,2013 | 09:48AM
cojef wrote:
He will make the trip to the APEC meeting in Indonesia, for it is where he spent his pre-teen years. From a foreign policy aspect the non visit to the Philippines and Malaysia is a bad move since he has chosen to send Secreatar Kerry to mend the fence while traisping to Indonesia and Brunei. Notwithstanding the acceptances by the Philippines and Malaysian Governments for the non-visits, it appears as a slap in the face according to diplomatic protocol.
on October 2,2013 | 10:59AM
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