John Kerry has warned that any prolonged shutdown of the government could affect the US internationally.
Speaking at the APEC forum in Indonesia, the US Secretary of State said any impact was “momentary” and Washington’s commitment to Asia was “undiminished”.
President Barack Obama cancelled his Asia visit because of the shutdown.
The US government closed non-essential operations on Tuesday after Congress failed to agree a new budget.
Thousands of federal employees have been sent home. Some are working but not paid.
US-EU trade negotiations have also been postponed because of the crisis.
As world leaders headed for the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) summit in Bali, John Kerry sought to allay concerns that Washington was reducing its global engagement.
“None of what is happening in Washington diminishes one iota our commitment to our partners in Asia,” he said.
John Kerry said the dispute with the Republicans in the US Congress was “an example of the robustness of our democracy”.
But at the same time, he urged Congress to think about how the US was perceived internationally when “we can’t get our own act together”.
John Kerry said areas where the shutdown was affecting US foreign policy funding included:
- delays in security assistance for Israel
- nearly all staff suspended at the treasury department’s Office of Foreign Asset Control, which monitors sanctions on states like Iran
The Secretary of State warned of the consequences if the shutdown became longer term.
“This is a momentary impact. Obviously if it were prolonged or repeated people would begin, I think, to question the willingness of the United States to stay the course or its ability to, but that’s not the case and that will not be the case.”
Barack Obama had been due to begin a four-nation Asian trip on Saturday, heading to Bali and Brunei before travelling on to Malaysia and the Philippines.
The president used the APEC summit two years ago to announce a rebalancing of American naval power towards the Pacific.
The White House said Barack Obama’s decision to cancel his Asia trip was made due to the “difficulty in moving forward with foreign travel in the face of a shutdown”.