Indonesia — United States Secretary of State John Kerry said the U.S. commitment to Asia remains undiminished despite President Barack Obama’s cancellation of his trip to this week’s regional summits because of the government shutdown in America.
Mr. Kerry made the comments at the beginning of the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (Apec) conference in Indonesia.
“None of what is happening in Washington diminishes one iota our commitment to our partners in Asia,” he said.
He called the dispute with Republicans in Congress which led to the shutdown “an example of the robustness of our democracy”.
Non-essential operations in the U.S. government were closed on Tuesday after Congress failed to agree on a new budget.
But Mr. Kerry also urged Congress to consider how the rest of the world perceived the U.S. when “we can’t get our own act together”.
Mr. Kerry is heading the U.S. delegation on the trip instead of President Obama. The itinerary includes stops in four nations – Indonesia, Brunei, Malaysia, and the Philippines.
World leaders began gathering in Bali, Indonesia for the Apec summit on Saturday. Image/Apec logo/ubud.thesamayabali.com