Biden Cancels Trip to Australia and Papua New Guinea to Focus on Debt Ceiling Talks with Congressional Leaders

President Joe Biden has canceled his planned trips to Australia and Papua New Guinea in order to focus on talks with congressional leaders over raising the government's debt limit. The White House announced on Tuesday that Biden would return early to Washington on Sunday, cutting short his seven-day excursion to the Asia-Pacific region.[0] The president had been scheduled to attend the G7 summit in Hiroshima, Japan, before traveling to Papua New Guinea and Australia for the first-ever visit by a U.S. president to both countries. However, with the debt ceiling deadline approaching, Biden has opted to remain in Washington to negotiate a deal with congressional leaders.

The cancellation of Biden's trip has also affected the planned Quad summit in Sydney, which has been postponed until the G7 meeting in Japan. The Quad is an informal group comprising the United States, India, Japan, and Australia that promotes an open Indo-Pacific.[1] The leaders of the four countries were expected to discuss deepening cooperation on a range of issues, including critical and emerging technologies, climate change, and maritime domain awareness.[2]

Biden's decision to cancel his trip reflects the urgency of the situation in Washington, where negotiations over the debt ceiling have reached a critical point. Republicans are demanding far-reaching spending cuts in exchange for raising the limit on the country's borrowing authority, while Democrats, including Biden, want to increase the debt limit without any conditions attached.[3] Biden has pledged not to negotiate on the debt limit, arguing that it is the responsibility of both parties to allow the government to borrow enough to meet obligations incurred by both Democrats and Republicans in earlier years.[4]

The cancellation of Biden's trip to Australia and Papua New Guinea is a disappointment for both countries, which had been looking forward to hosting the president. Biden's visit to Papua New Guinea would have been the first by a U.S. president, and was seen as a sign of Washington's renewed interest in the South Pacific.[5] The cancellation of the Quad summit in Sydney is also a setback for the four countries, which had been seeking to deepen their cooperation in the region.

Overall, Biden's decision to cancel his trip underscores the importance of the debt ceiling negotiations in Washington and the potential consequences of a default. While the cancellation will be a disappointment for Australia and Papua New Guinea, the priority for Biden is to ensure that the U.S. avoids a potentially catastrophic default. The president's decision to cut short his trip to the Asia-Pacific region reflects the urgency of the situation and the need for swift action to resolve the debt ceiling issue.

0. “Biden cancels stops in Australia and Papua New Guinea after G7 Hiroshima summit” The Japan Times, 17 May. 2023,

1. “Australia cancels Quad summit in Sydney after Biden pulls out” Al Jazeera English, 17 May. 2023,

2. “Quad summit in Australia canceled after Joe Biden shortens Asia trip” CNN, 17 May. 2023,

3. “Biden meets with congressional leaders on debt ceiling, will cut Asia trip short” CBS News, 16 May. 2023,

4. “Biden to cut foreign trip short over debt ceiling negotiations” The Washington Post, 16 May. 2023,

5. “Biden brings debt crisis burden with him to G-7 summit” POLITICO, 17 May. 2023,

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