As leaders and ministers gather in the Indonesian island of Bali for the Asia-Pacific Economic cooperation meeting there will be one person missing from the family photograph.

President Barack Obama called off his plans to visit Asia for one week and attend two summits because of the U. S. government shutdown.

He's also cancelled visits to Malaysia and the Philippines due to his budget struggle in the U. S. Congress.

The news has raised questions about Obama's aim to rebalance U. S. foreign policy towards Asia.

Indonesian officials said they were surprised.


"We were slightly surprised and disappointed due to the cancellation. But on the other side we understand."

Obama was scheduled to meet Russian, Chinese and Japanese leaders among others at the summits....and to hold critical talks on the Syria crisis and the disputed territories in the South China Sea.

Instead he'll be trying to bridge an impasse with lawmakers on whether to increase the government's 16.7 trillion U. S. dollar debt borrowing limit.

Japan's top government spokesman said Prime Minister Shinzo Abe would attend the summit as planned.


"To ensure that this problem does not spill across into all manner of issues, we call on Congress to work hard in their negotiations with the White House and resolve the deadlock as soon as possible."

Secretary of State John Kerry will lead delegations to both APEC and an ASEAN security summit in Brunei in place of Obama. He will also go to Malaysia and the Philippines.


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