US President Donald Trump pictured in Charlotte, North Carolina, on Friday. Picture: Brendan Smialowski/AFP
US President Donald Trump will skip summits with Asian leaders in Singapore and Papua New Guinea in November, sending Vice President Mike Pence in his place.
Trump had been invited to attend the US-Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit and the East Asia summit in Singapore and also the Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation forum in Papua New Guinea. He had attended these events last November.
Trump had been expected to add a trip to Australia on to his itinerary, visiting Brisbane, Sydney and Canberra, but that will no longer happen.
It is not known if Vice-President Pence will come to Australia in his place.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison invited Trump to Australia last Saturday during his first phone call with the US President after becoming Prime Minister.
Trump’s change of plans will be interpreted by some as a disappointment for Morrison, but it could be a blessing of a sort too, given the President’s unpopularity in Australia. An anti-Trump rally had already been planned in Sydney for November 19.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. Picture: AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley
White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said in a statement on Friday that Trump has asked Pence to represent him at the summits, where he will “highlight the United States’ vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific, based on respect for sovereignty, the rule of law, and the principles of free, fair, and reciprocal trade.”
Trump will travel to Paris to attend a November 11 commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the armistice that ended World War I.
Trump had wanted a US military parade in Washington but baulked at price estimates.
“While in Europe, the president also will visit Ireland to renew the deep and historic ties between our two nations,” Sanders said.
Later in November, Trump will attend the G20 summit in Buenos Aires and will also travel to Colombia for talks with Colombian leaders about security, counter narcotics and regional affairs, Sanders said.
US Vice President Mike Pence in Sydney during an official visit in April 2017. It is not yet known if he will return to Australia after the APEC trip. Picture: Peter Parks-Pool/Getty Images