BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, Brunei - US Secretary of State John Kerry announced Thursday he was postponing a visit to ally the Philippines due to a typhoon, in the latest setback to a US effort to engage Asia.
"Because of the judgement of our pilots... and the approaching typhoon, we are going to postpone the trip that I was going to make to the Philippines," Kerry told reporters on the sidelines of an Asia summit in Brunei.
Kerry had been set to stand-in for US President Barack Obama, who was forced to pull out of planned trips to Malaysia, the Philippines and back-to-back regional summits in Indonesia and Brunei.
Obama opted to stay home to deal with the bitter US budget impasse that has caused the first government shutdown in 17 years and raised fears the country could default on its massive global debts.
The situation has left the US scrambling to reassure Asian allies that Washington was committed to its self-described rebalancing of economic and strategic attention toward Asia.
"I'm sorry not to be there in the next day or so but the good news is I am absolutely committed to returning in a month or so," Kerry said of the Philippine cancellation.
"I'm coming back to the region and I look forward to visiting... our friends in the Philippines."