President Joe Biden will cut short a trip to Asia and Australia to deal with the looming US debt crisis.
The 80-year-old canceled stops in Australia And Papua New Guinea and will return to the United States after the G7 summit in Japan.
He will attend the three-day summit which begins on Friday before returning to the United States on Sunday.
A source close to the president’s trip planning told Sky’s US partner network NBC: “President Biden has decided to return to the United States on Sunday, immediately after the G7 is completed, to ensure that Congress takes action before the deadline to avoid a default.”
The president was to make a brief historic stopover in Papua New Guinea, then travel to Australia for a meeting of the so-called “quadri” countries – Japan, Australia, India and the United States.
The stopover in Papua New Guinea would have been the first visit by a sitting US president to the island country of more than nine million people.
The cancellation is a foreign policy setback for an administration that has placed greater emphasis on the Pacific region at the center of its global reach.
But the US Treasury estimated the country would face a crippling default as early as June 1 if Congress did not raise the debt ceiling.
Negotiations over Mr. Biden and Republican Congressman Kevin McCarthy’s US debt ceiling ended Tuesday after less than an hour.
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But Mr McCarthy said as he left the meeting: ‘It is possible to get an agreement by the end of the week.’
Earlier on Tuesday, White House national security spokesman John Kirby said Australia’s shutdown was being reassessed.
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“We are working and thinking about the rest of the trip right now,” Mr. Kirby said, noting that Mr. Biden would meet Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Australian Anthony Albanese at the G7 in Hiroshima, Japan.
Mr. Kirby told reporters that if Biden’s trip “was truncated or changed or modified in any way” that should be seen as the president putting his priorities in the right order.