Biden Makes Time To Rally For Ukraine After Canceling China-Focused Trip

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Dylan Housman Deputy News Editor
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President Joe Biden canceled trips to Papua New Guinea and Australia to stay home and work on debt ceiling negotiations later in May, but he is still continuing with his planned trip to Japan, where he will rally support for Ukraine at the G7 summit.

Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in Japan for the G7 summit Thursday, but they will not be continuing on to Papua New Guinea and Australia after the summit as originally planned. Biden was supposed to be participating in a summit of the Quad in Australia, a security cooperation group aimed at countering China.

“President Biden will return to the United States on Sunday, following the completion of the G7 summit, in order to be back for meetings with congressional leaders to ensure that Congress takes action by the deadline to avert default,” the White House announced Wednesday.

The G7 summit will run from Friday to Sunday, and will revolve around a number of issues including the group’s “unwavering support for Ukraine,” the White House said.

Biden’s meetings in Papua New Guinea and Australia were to be largely China-focused. The Quad, a security partnership between the United States, India, Australia and Japan, was set to meet in Australia for the fifth Quad Leaders Summit. The Quad’s chief purpose is to counter Chinese pursuit of dominance in the Indo-Pacific. (RELATED: Biden Went Easy On China After Spy Balloon Rift To Avoid Ruining Relationship With Beijing: REPORT)

The visit to Papua New Guinea was to be part of the administration’s efforts to strengthen ties with Pacific Island nations that have increasingly come under Beijing’s sphere of influence. The U.S. recently opened embassies in the Solomon Islands and Tonga, and Papua New Guinea is home to an important World War II-era naval base that Australia and the U.S. have been helping the country restore since 2018. Defense strategists believe the base, and the island as a whole, could play a key role in a potential conflict with China in the pacific.

Biden would have been the first sitting American president to visit Papua New Guinea. The country declared Monday a public holiday in celebration of the visit, but the much-anticipated excitement for the event has been dashed.