U.S. President Barack Obama was scheduled to visit a number of Asian countries this month until the government shutdown, made effective at 12:01 AM on the first day of October, forced him to cancel his trip. The crisis back home was of course in need of the president’s utmost attention, and was understood by the expectant Asian nations. However, his absence in the region was unfortunate, according to a Japanese minister.
“It was unfortunate that the president couldn’t make it to Asia this summer,” said Shigeo Yamada, the minister for public relations, at the Japanese Embassy in the United States. “Especially in Asia, showing up means a lot.” Even though the reelected U.S. president was eager to visit Asia, his tight schedule, and then the ensuing shutdown, has kept him from finally doing so. “We really hope that the U.S. will be able to show its presence physically by sending the president some time in the near future to the region,” Yamada said during the Foreign Policy Initiative Forum in Washington on Tuesday.
Obama’s visit to Malaysia and the Philippines was cancelled because of the government shutdown. He was even expected to join the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), but eventually, Secretary of State John Kerry went in his place. While in Malaysia, Kerry said that Obama was “very disappointed to cancel his visit, especially given his personal connection and commitment to the region.” One of his administration’s main plans is the so-called pivot towards Asia, as the US sees the region becoming the main player in world events and global economic issues.
[via US News]