(Bloomberg) -- President Joe Biden downplayed fresh concerns that tensions in US debt-limit negotiations could lead to a catastrophic US default, saying Republicans and Democrats will still be able to reach an agreement.

“Not at all,” Biden said Saturday in Hiroshima, Japan when asked if he was concerned with the state of the talks.

Biden told reporters there are often hiccups in negotiations and that the two sides could bridge their differences. 

“I still believe we’ll be able to avoid a default and we’ll get something decent done,” he said during a meeting with Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese. 

“It goes in stages,” Biden added. “What happens is the first meetings weren’t all that progressive. The second ones were. The third one was. And then what happens is the carriers go back to the principals and say this is what what we’re thinking about. And then people put down their claim.”

Read More: Debt-Limit Talks Resume After Optimism Curbed by GOP Walk-Out

The president’s confidence, based on the ebbs and flows of negotiations, was in stark contrast to the tone struck by White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre and White House communications director Ben LaBolt. Jean-Pierre kicked off a press briefing from Hiroshima Saturday saying there were “real differences between the two sides,” and LaBolt later issued a statement that called for Republicans to “negotiate in good faith.” 

A Republican walk-out of talks Friday in Washington shattered hopes that negotiators were nearing a deal to raise the debt limit, sending stocks plunging. White House and GOP officials resumed meetings late Friday, however, and planned to reconvene Saturday. Biden’s aides updated him on the situation at 10 a.m. Saturday in Hiroshima, where he is attending the G-7 leaders summit. 

Comments from some Republicans and White House officials indicated that there are still major hurdles to clear until a deal could be reached. Asked if he is confident the parties would reach a deal in time to prevent default, Representative Patrick McHenry, a key ally of Speaker Kevin McCarthy, said “no.”

“This was a candid discussion about realistic numbers, a realistic path forward, and something that truly changes the trajectory of this country’s spending and debt,” said Representative Garret Graves of Louisiana, McCarthy’s hand-picked negotiator. 

LaBolt called on Republicans to consider raising revenues as part of the budget and debt-limit talks, something they have refused to do. Instead, GOP lawmakers have demanded deep spending cuts and work requirements for entitlement programs that Democrats have long opposed. 

 “There remains a path forward to arrive at a reasonable bipartisan agreement if Republicans come back to the table to negotiate in good faith,” LaBolt said in a statement. 

The debt-limit fight, which could trigger a first-ever US payments default, threatens to inflict pain on the global economy. It has shadowed Biden’s overseas trip. The president postponed travel to Australia and Papua New Guinea in order to return to Washington for the final stages of negotiation. The situation cut short a trip designed to advance Biden’s goals of countering China in the Indo-Pacific region. 

Biden said he was sorry for the postponement and reiterated his commitment to travel to Australia in the future. 

“I truly apologize to you for having you to come here rather than me be in Australia right now,” the president told the Australian premier. “But we have a little thing at home I got to pay attention to.”

Albanese said that he understood the situation and that he looked forward to attending the state dinner Biden invited him to attend at the White House this year.

“I’m saddened that you’re unable to come down next week,” Albanese said. “But I understand the circumstances that you’re dealing with. I would have done exactly the same thing. All politics as local as you and I both understand.”

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