Kerry postpones Philippine visit, citing storm
US Secretary of State John Kerry attends the summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in Bandar Seri Begawan on October 10, 2013
Kerry, who had been drafted in to take over President Barack Obama's cancelled trip through Asia, blamed the cancellation on Tropical Storm Nari, which is bearing down on the northeastern Philippines.
"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 Asian summit in Brunei.
Obama was forced to pull out of planned trips to Malaysia, the Philippines and back-to-back regional summits in Indonesia and Brunei due to the US budget crisis, sending Kerry in his stead.
The US budget impasse 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 it is committed to its self-described rebalancing of economic and strategic attention towards 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."
Kerry had been due to arrive in the Philippines Friday after his visit to Malaysia starting later Thursday.
He made his announcement at a press appearance with Philippine Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario, who expressed regret.
"We regret the postponement of Secretary Kerry's visit to Manila," he said. "We, of course, are eager to welcome Secretary Kerry."
Nari was expected to make landfall Saturday on the northeastern coast of the main Philippine island of Luzon, about 150 kilometres (90 miles) north of the capital Manila.
On Thursday it was packing maximum winds of 120 km (75 miles) per hour and bringing heavy rain and strong winds to large parts of the archipelago nation.
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