Washington– US President Joe Biden will not travel to Papua New Guinea and Australia later this month as originally planned due to the ongoing stalemate in negotiations with Congressional leaders to address the debt ceiling, multiple US media outlets reported, citing sources familiar with the matter.
Biden would have become the first sitting US President to visit the Pacific island country of Papua New Guinea, to be followed by a trip to Sydney for the leaders’ summit of the Quad, which includes the US, Japan, India and Australia.
Biden will still go to Hiroshima, Japan, to participate in the three-day G7 summit beginning from Friday, Xinhua news agency reported.
Earlier on Tuesday, John Kirby, the National Security Council’s coordinator for strategic communications, told the regular White House press briefing that the White House was “reevaluating” the post-Japan part of Biden’s trip.
“What I can speak to is the G7 and going to Hiroshima. The president is looking forward to that. We are taking a look at the rest of the trip,” Kirby told reporters.
News of the shortening of the presidential overseas trip came as Biden was meeting with Congressional leaders from both the Democratic and Republican parties in the Oval Office over the debt ceiling issue.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen reaffirmed on Monday that the US may default on its debt obligations as soon as June 1 if the partisan fight drags on without a settlement.
Biden will depart Washington on Wednesday, stopping over Anchorage, Alaska, before arriving in Japan on Thursday, according to the travel guidance announced previously by the White House. (IANS)