Biden's bid to host Asian summit in U.S. is blocked

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Leaders of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum on Friday failed to agree on President Joe Biden's offer to host the regional forum in 2023 after concerns raised by one member nation.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern downplayed the impasse, telling reporters that she expected a decision on the issue in the coming weeks.

"It's not an issue that is substantively discussed at the leader level as you can imagine, but it is something that I have every confidence that we'll see resolved very shortly," Ardern said at a press conference after hosting this year's leaders summit virtually.

Neither Ardern nor the White House identified which APEC member was blocking the U.S. bid to host the meeting, but one former U.S. official said indications point to Russia as the likely suspect.

"APEC hosting requires the consensus of all 21 economies, and we thank members for their strong support so far," a White House spokesperson said, adding that one economy has "not yet joined consensus."

"We hope this impasse is resolved quickly to ensure we can continue the positive momentum on economic cooperation through APEC," the spokesperson added.

Failure to agree on Biden's offer to host risks jeopardizing U.S. support for the organization, which brings the United States, China and 19 other economies in the fast-growing Asia-Pacific region to discuss trade and other concerns.

The setback also comes as both U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo are set to make their first trips to Asia next week. Tai is visiting Japan, South Korea and India, while Raimondo is headed to Japan, Singapore and Malaysia.

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