Indonesia understands the reason for President Barack Obama's last-minute cancellation of his visit to Jakarta and Bali, officials in the Southeast Asian nation said on Friday. But ordinary Indonesians expressed disappointment that Obama would not be returning to the place where he lived as a child.
Obama scrapped his plan to visit Indonesia and Australia on Thursday, days before the start of his Asia-Pacific trip, in order to stay in Washington and give a final push for a U.S. healthcare overhaul. The visit will be postponed until June.
"Of course we have made maximum preparations ahead of the visit, but that does not mean we should be disappointed by the delay," presidential spokesman Julian Pasha according to a report in Reuters.
Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa said at a briefing that the government "fully understands" the reason behind the delay and was "not disappointed."
"Even though we've been prepared for the visit, (the delay is) not the end of the world," he said.
White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Thursday that Obama regretted having to delay the trip, but told the leaders of both nations that health care is a crucial priority.
"The president believes right now, the place for him to be is in Washington seeing this through," Gibbs said.
Obama had been under increasing pressure from Democrats in recent days to postpone the trip, Jakarta Post reports.
Indonesia expressed disappointment, but said it understood the administration's last-minute change in plans.
"To be honest, the protocol, logistical preparation is quite ripe for the visit, but then there's a good side," said presidential spokesman Dino Patti Djalal. "The good side is ... the visit can take place when the president's mind is not focused on Washington but on Indonesia-American relations," CNN reports.