Top Obama aide delays trip to China, India: White House

Reuters News
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Posted: Oct 28, 2011 3:29 PM
Top Obama aide delays trip to China, India: White House

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama's top national security adviser delayed a planned trip to China and India last week to help Obama deal with Libya and a decision on U.S. troops in Iraq, the White House said on Friday.

White House National Security Adviser Tom Donilon had been scheduled to meet with Chinese leaders on October 21 in Beijing, including with Vice Premier Wang Qishan and State Councilor Dai Bingguo, and then travel on to India.

But the October 20 slaying of Libya's former leader Muammar Gaddafi, and Obama's final decision, announced the next day, to pull all remaining U.S. troops from Iraq by the end of the year, kept Donilon in Washington, said White House National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor.

Vietor said the visits, which would have come ahead of an important Asia-Pacific summit being hosted by Obama in Hawaii next month, will be rescheduled for a later date.

The White House gave no specific indication of what Donilon would have discussed on the trip, which comes as Obama is seeking to reinforce his administration's focus on Asia despite the demands on their attention of the Arab Spring.

But it would have taken place at a delicate time for relations, after the Democratic-controlled U.S. Senate approved a bill to punish China for keeping its yuan currency artificially cheap against the dollar, which U.S. lawmakers say boosts Chinese exports at the cost of scarce U.S. jobs.