Kerry calls US government shutdown a brief disruption

NUSA DUA, Indonesia (REUTERS) - The shutdown of the United States government is a "momentary episode" and does not change the US commitment to Asia or elsewhere, Secretary of State John Kerry said on Saturday.

Mr Kerry is acting as stand-in for President Barack Obama who cancelled his Asia tour, including to the Indonesian resort island of Bali for a meeting of Asia-Pacific leaders, because of the stalemate in Washington over the government shutdown.

"Do not mistake this momentary episode in American politics as anything more than a moment of politics. This is an example of the robustness of our democracy," Mr Kerry said. But he added that if the shutdown were prolonged or repeated, people would question the U.S. ability to "stay the course".