Apec 2013: No Obama, but Kerry will be in the Apec family photo
US President Barack Obama will not be in the traditional group photograph with other Apec leaders at the group's meetings next week, but Secretary of State John Kerry will take his place, Indonesian officials confirmed on Friday.
"We have Mr Kerry's measurements, and have prepared a (traditional Balinese) shirt for him," Ambassador Ahmad Rusdi of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) summit organising committee told The Straits Times.
"He will wear it and be in the family photo with other Apec leaders."
Committee vice-chairman Chairul Tanjung told reporters at a press briefing on Friday afternoon that because Mr Kerry is attending the Apec leaders retreat on Monday and Tuesday as a representative of the US president, "he will be treated the same as (if he were) the president".
Mr Kerry arrived in Bali on Friday for a ministerial meeting with foreign and trade ministers from 21 Apec member economies.
Asked about the impact of Mr Obama's decision to skip the summit, Mr Chairul, who heads Indonesia's national economic committee, stressed that "Mr Obama (was) just one of the leaders coming".
"It doesn't mean that with his absence, the US agenda won't be represented. Mr Kerry will be there, representing him."
Mr Chairul pointed out that Mr Obama did not attend last year's Apec summit in Vladivostok either.
The US leader had decided not to travel to Russia then because of the US election.
"But the discussion, communique, results were good. With or without Mr Obama, we will make sure the outcome will be very, very good," Mr Chairul added.
He also said politics was not on the agenda when leaders meet next week.
"The agenda will be economic, and if they want to talk politics, the forum is the East Asia Summit (in Brunei)," he said.