President Biden has canceled planned visits to Papua New Guinea and Australia to focus on the debt ceiling debate that’s ongoing in Washington, The Associated Press reported on Tuesday.
Biden was planning to visit the two nations after the Group of Seven summit that will be held in Hiroshima, Japan, from May 19-21, which he will still attend. Sources told AP that the president will leave for Japan on Wednesday and return to the US on Sunday.
Biden would have been the first sitting US president to visit Papua New Guinea if he went through with the trip. The president was expected to sign an agreement that would give the US military access to some of Papua New Guinea’s ports and airports, part of the US military buildup in the region aimed at China. He was also going to attend a summit of Pacific Island leaders.
Biden was planning to visit Australia to attend a summit of the leaders of the Quad nations — the US, Japan, India, and Australia. The Biden administration has made a point to increase cooperation with the Quad countries, which began conducting joint military exercises in 2020, as another aspect of its strategy against China.