April 24, 2017 / 4:34 AM / 4 months ago

Pence trims Asia trip to deal with domestic priorities

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence (top R) waves from the steps of Air Force One as his wife Karen (2nd L) and their daughters Charlotte (L) and Audrey step aboard to depart Sydney, Australia, April 24, 2017.David Gray

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (Reuters) - U.S. Vice President Mike Pence has cut short the final leg of his Asia trip to race back to Washington, where the Trump administration faces a critical week on tax reform and a funding plan to keep the government running, an aide said on Sunday.

Pence, who has been traveling in Asia to reassure allies and partners about President Donald Trump's commitment to theregion, had originally planned to spend two nights in Honoluluat the end of a trip that took him to South Korea, Japan, Indonesia and Australia.

While he spoke with business leaders in each country, Pence's trip was overshadowed by rising tensions in North Korea, where it is feared another nuclear test could be conducted soon in defiance of United Nations sanctions.

Pence will now spend one night in Hawaii and is slated tobe back in Washington on Tuesday morning, his aide toldreporters before Air Force Two landed at Pago Pago in American Samoa for refueling. Trump has a busy week ahead. Funding appropriated byCongress to run the government runs out on Friday, so he andlawmakers must agree on new legislation or the government willshut down on Saturday. Saturday is also Trump's 100th day in office, a benchmarkused by pundits to assess the initial accomplishments andshortfalls of his young presidency. Trump plans to outline principles for tax reform onWednesday, a top brief for Pence. While in Honolulu, Pence will meet leaders of the U.S.Pacific Command and is also slated to speak to U.S. troops andtheir families, the aide said. Pence had planned to tour the USS Arizona Memorial at PearlHarbor but will no longer do that, the aide said.

Reporting by Roberta Rampton; Editing by Paul Tait

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