Trump cancels trip to Davos World Economic Forum as US government shutdown continues

File photo of US President Donald Trump. Photograph:( Reuters )

Agencies New Delhi, Delhi, India Jan 10, 2019, 11.04 PM (IST)

The United States President Donald Trump said on Thursday said that he will skip the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland if a government shutdown over his US-Mexico wall continues.

Trump is planning to attend the Davos meeting in just under two weeks, but said, "if the shutdown continues, I won't go."

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"I intended to go and speak in front of the world financial community in Davos. That's still on, but if the shutdown continues ... I won't go. I had planned to go, it's been very successful when I went. We have a great story to tell," Trump told reporters before leaving the White House to visit Texas.

Swaths of the US government have already been without funding for three weeks while Trump rows with opposition Democrats over his demand for them to authorize construction of hundreds of miles of wall along the Mexican border.

China's Vice President Wang Qishan is also expected to attend the Davos meeting, but it is not clear whether there will be any arrangements for a meeting between him and Trump during the annual gathering. China and the United States have taken a 90-day pause in implementing tariffs to hammer out a trade deal.

The Swiss meeting could also provide Trump with opportunities to discuss better terms of trade with the European Union, Japan, Canada and Mexico.

Meanwhile, Trump headed to the US-Mexico border to push his demand for a wall, a day after he walked out of negotiations with Democrats in a political crisis paralysing the government.

Trump left early from the White House en route for Texas, where he was expected to visit the community of McAllen and meet with local border patrol agents.

"We need border security," Trump told journalists before boarding the Marine One helicopter.

The Texas trip gives Trump yet another high-profile stage to push his wall plan, following a national television address Tuesday and his drama-filled abandonment of talks with Democratic opponents on Wednesday.

Trump wants $5.7 billion for construction of a wall that he says is needed to stop a violent crime crisis caused by an unsecured border.

But Democrats say the wall would not solve real US immigration problems and is being promoted as a gimmick to satisfy the president's right-wing base.

Trump has tried to pressure Congress by refusing to sign off on a host of unrelated, normally uncontroversial government spending, resulting in a partial government shutdown. Hundreds of thousands of federal employees, including air traffic controllers and members of the Coast Guard, have been without pay for three weeks.

Story highlights

Trump wants $5.7 billion for construction of a wall that he says is needed to stop a violent crime crisis caused by an unsecured border.