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US president cancels visit to Asia

President Barack Obama is cancelling a trip to Asia next week because of the US government shutdown.

Mr Obama had already shortened the trip from four countries to two.

The White House announced earlier in the week that the president would be unable to visit Malaysia and the Philippines because the partial shutdown of the federal government was impacting personnel needed to set up the stops.

The White House had held out hope that the president could attend to economic summits in Indonesia and Brunei.

But it announced late yesterday that Mr Obama decided to skip the entire trip to stay in Washington DC to continue pressing for a budget bill that would reopen the government.

Mr Obama had been due to depart the US late on Saturday night.

AP

Mr Obama's decision means that US secretary of state John Kerry, who unsuccessfully bid for the White House in 2004, will get the chance to be presidential.

Mr Kerry will now lead heavyweight US delegations to the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum in Bali and the East Asia Summit in Brunei.

Mr Kerry had been in Tokyo for security talks and was already planning to attend both meetings but only in a supporting role for Mr Obama.

He found out earlier in the week that he would be visiting Malaysia and the Philippines in Mr Obama's place next week.

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