US Secretary of State John Kerry has canceled his trip to the Philippines an hour after the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) invited the media to cover his arrival on Friday.
In a text message to reporters, Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario said he and Kerry jointly announced that Kerry cancelled his trip to Manila because of a strong storm headed for the capital.
Kerry was supposed to be pinch-hitting for US President Barack Obama, who had to say home because of the US government shutdown.
Obama also canceled his trip to Indonesia and Brunei.
Del Rosario, who is attending the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) meeting in Brunei, said Kerry had been advised by the US Air Force to scrub the trip.
“Secretary Kerry committed to President Aquino that he would come to Manila before the yearend,” he said.
The announcement came an hour after the Foreign Affairs department sent invitations to the media to cover Kerry’s visit to DFA headquarters in Pasay City.
In a statement from Malacañang, Palace deputy spokesman Abigail Valte said Kerry may still visit the Philippines before the end of the year.
“We understand and look forward to his visit at a future date,” Valte said.
BERNICE CAMILLE V. BAUZON and CATHERINE S. VALENTE