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Biden skips Australia, Papua New Guinea visit

President Joe Biden has canceled a visit to Australia and Papua New Guinea, the second leg of his upcoming Asia trip, due to the slow-motion crisis building in Washington over the U.S. debt ceiling. Biden is to attend a three-day summit of G7 leaders that starts on Friday, and will return to the United States on Sunday, the source said. He was scheduled to make a brief, historic stop in Papua New Guinea, then travel to Australia for a meeting of the Japan, Australia, India, U.S. grouping known as the Quad countries. The Associated Press has the story:

Biden skips Australia, Papua New Guinea visit

Newslooks- WASHINGTON (AP)

President Joe Biden is curtailing his upcoming trip to the Indo-Pacific, scrapping what was to be a historic stop in Papua New Guinea as well as a visit to a Australia for gathering with fellow leaders of the so-called Quad partnership so he can focus on debt limit talks in Washington, according to three people familiar with the matter.

The cancellation is a foreign policy setback for an administration that has made putting a greater focus on the Pacific region central to its global outreach.

Biden still plans to depart on Wednesday for Hiroshima, Japan, for a Group of Seven summit with leaders from some of the world’s leading economies. He will return to the U.S. on Sunday, according to the people familiar matter who requested anonymity to discuss the yet to be formally announced decision.

Biden had been scheduled to travel on to Papua New Guinea to meet with Pacific Island leaders and then to Australia for a meeting of the leaders of the Quad partnership, made up of the U.S., Australia, India and Japan. The Papua New Guinea stop would have been the first visit by a sitting U.S. president to the island country of more than 9 million people.

The Quad partnership first formed during the response to the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami that killed some 230,000 people. Since coming into office, Biden has tried to reinvigorate the Quad as part of his broader effort to put greater U.S. focus on the Pacific and counter increasing economic and military assertiveness by China in the region.

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