U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry urged Congress Saturday to end a partial government shutdown and assured the international community that the budget impasse will be resolved shortly.
Kerry said it was regrettable that a small group in Congress - Tea Party Republicans in the House of Representatives - was preventing U.S. President Barack Obama from meeting with his Chinese and Russian counterparts at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Bali, Indonesia.
The secretary of state is standing in at that gathering for Obama, who canceled his trip due to the budget standoff.
"All of our friends and foes watching around the world" should "not mistake this momentary episode in American politics" as anything more than that, the secretary of state said.
The partial suspension of federal government operations, which began at midnight Monday, was spurred by the unwillingness of some House Republicans to vote to fund the government unless Obama and the Democrats agreed to delay implementation of the Affordable Care Act.
The ACA, also known as Obamacare, is the administration's flagship domestic initiative and the president refused to consider any changes or delays.
The two-day APEC forum, which will get under way on Monday, is a gathering attended by representatives of 21 Pacific Rim countries: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, Taiwan, the United States and Vietnam. EFE