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U.S. Vice President Mike Pence (top R), his wife Karen (2nd L) and their daughters Charlotte (L) and Audrey wave from the steps of Air Force Two as they depart Sydney, Australia, April 24, 2017. REUTERS/David Gray


By Roberta Rampton

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (Reuters) - U.S. Vice President Mike Pence has cut short the final leg of his Asia trip to race back to Washington, where the Trump administration faces a critical week on tax reform and a funding plan to keep the government running, an aide said on Sunday.

Pence, who has been travelling in Asia to reassure allies and partners about President Donald Trump's commitment to the region, had originally planned to spend two nights in Honolulu at the end of a trip that took him to South Korea, Japan, Indonesia and Australia.

While he spoke with business leaders in each country, Pence's trip was overshadowed by rising tensions in North Korea, where it is feared another nuclear test could be conducted soon in defiance of United Nations sanctions.

Pence will now spend one night in Hawaii and is slated to be back in Washington on Tuesday morning, his aide told reporters before Air Force Two landed at Pago Pago in American Samoa for refuelling.

Trump has a busy week ahead. Funding appropriated by Congress to run the government runs out on Friday, so he and lawmakers must agree on new legislation or the government will shut down on Saturday.

Saturday is also Trump's 100th day in office, a benchmark used by pundits to assess the initial accomplishments and shortfalls of his young presidency.

Trump plans to outline principles for tax reform onWednesday, a top brief for Pence.

While in Honolulu, Pence will meet leaders of the U.S. Pacific Command and is also slated to speak to U.S. troops and their families, the aide said.

Pence had planned to tour the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor but will no longer do that, the aide said.

(Reporting by Roberta Rampton; Editing by Paul Tait)

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The citizens' meeting

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