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Trump will skip annual Asia trip, White House says

President Donald Trump stops to talk to reporters and members of the media as he makes his way to board the Marine One helicopter on the South Lawn of the White House on Aug. 17, 2018.

JABIN BOTSFORD/THE WASHINGTON POST

By DAVID NAKAMURA | The Washington Post | Published: September 1, 2018

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump will travel in November to Paris for a military parade and to Buenos Aires for a global economic forum, the White House announced Friday, but he will skip a pair of regional summits in Asia that month, sending Vice President Mike Pence instead.

The president's foreign trips — he also will visit Ireland and Colombia — will take place shortly after the midterm elections and could come at a time of political tumult if Democrats succeed in winning control of at least one chamber of Congress.

Two weeks ago, Trump announced on Twitter his intention to attend the 100th anniversary of the World War I armistice on Nov. 11 in France after abruptly canceling his proposed military parade in Washington on Veterans Day because of exorbitant cost projections.

The president's participation in the commemoration "will highlight the sacrifices that Americans have made, not only during World War I but also in the century since, in the name of liberty," White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement.

Later in the month, Trump plans to attend the annual G-20 summit, held this year in Argentina on Nov. 30, for meetings with leaders of the world's largest economies.

Sanders said Trump will "highlight his pro-growth economic policies on an international stage and meet bilaterally with other key world leaders," though she did not offer details on which leaders the president will meet.

Among the world leaders expected there are Chinese President Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Trump's decision to send Pence to the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Papua New Guinea and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit in Singapore marks the first time since 2013 that a U.S. president will not attend those events. In that case, President Barack Obama canceled a planned Asia trip during a partial shutdown of the federal government after Congress deadlocked over a spending bill.

The president's absence means he will likely have visited just one Asian nation in 2018 - Singapore, for a summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in June - after visiting five nations in the region last year.

Australia also is likely to be disappointed after reports in local media earlier this year that Trump was planning his first visit to the country since taking office.

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