HIROSHIMA, Japan — With less than two weeks to go before the nation reaches the point where it can no longer pay its debts, President Joe Biden made it clear Sunday that he is staying a long way from congressional Republicans in budget talks.

At a news conference at the end of the Group of Seven summit in Hiroshima, Biden said the two sides have been unable to resolve stark differences over spending and taxes, despite intense negotiations in recent weeks.

Flying home Sunday, Biden said he planned to speak with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and hoped the California Republican was waiting for his return so the two could negotiate directly and make sustained progress.

While Biden was in Japan for part of last week, top White House aides led a series of on-and-off talks with House Republicans that failed to make a breakthrough.

Biden, who participated in debt-ceiling Zoom calls with his advisers back home, described a series of callous conversations replete with proposals and counterproposals that he said sounded “ridiculous.” Political game play by far-right MAGA Republicans has also infected the negotiations, he said.

“I think there are some MAGA Republicans in the House who know the damage it would do to the economy,” he told reporters. “And since I am president and a president is responsible for everything, Biden would take the blame. And that’s the only way to make sure Biden doesn’t get re-elected.»

The risky policy could soon become quite expensive. Treasury officials say the US will not be able to pay its bills on June 1 unless Congress raises the debt limit to $31.4 trillion.

If the government ends up defaulting on its debt, economists they predicted that financial markets would crash, jobs would disappear, and interest rates would rise, making it harder for Americans to buy homes and pay bills. If that happened, Biden said he wouldn’t be the only one to face the wrath of voters.

«Nobody would be blameless,» he said.

Biden opened the press conference with a familiar recitation of why the Republican budget plan falls short. Deep spending cuts being envisioned by Republican lawmakers would preserve tax breaks for wealthy oil companies while cutting tens of thousands of police and teacher jobs, he said.

He added that he was prepared to cut spending, but also wants to increase tax revenue as part of a balanced plan to reduce deficits.

“It is time for Republicans to accept that there is no bipartisan deal that is done solely, solely, on their partisan terms,” he said. «They also have to move.»

So far, the Republicans have held their own. Although Biden has said that he will not negotiate to lift the debt ceiling, the White House appears to be doing just that. Republicans have gained considerable leverage by choosing not to raise the debt ceiling until they win a commitment from Biden to make sweeping cuts in federal spending.

Even while practicing diplomacy abroad, Biden couldn’t escape the budget fight at home. His counterparts were curious about the matchup and asked about it during the three-day summit.

“I would just say that countries are very interested in what is a big story,” Jake Sullivan, the White House national security adviser, told reporters over the weekend. «And the president has been able to tell them that he believes that we can achieve a good result here.»

The main theme of the summit was combating threats from China and Russia. If the conference had a star draw, it was neither Biden nor any of his counterparts from France, Italy, Germany, Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom.

Rather, it was Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the Ukrainian president who flew a French plane under strict secrecy as battles raged in his homeland around the eastern city of Bakhmut.

“They have destroyed everything. There is no buildings. It is a pity. It is a tragedy,” Zelenskyy said of Bakhmut ahead of a meeting with Biden on Sunday. «There’s nothing in this place, so just soil and a lot of dead Russians.»

Zelenskyy was not expected to attend in person. When he appeared on Saturday in his green military uniform, the focus of the summit clearly shifted, a senior Biden administration official told NBC News on Sunday.

China receded as an agenda item and Ukraine became the dominant issue, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to speak more freely.

They added that some G7 participants were unhappy given the many threats and challenges posed by China.

Simply by showing up, Zelenskyy «is going to put pressure on all the key players in the G7 to continue supporting Ukraine,» the official said. “It is one of the most effective diplomacies we have seen on the global stage.”

«Everyone recognizes that the challenge of the Ukrainians is dramatic and a priority,» the official added. “But there are also urgent matters in the Indo-Pacific that require attention and [other G7 participants] I don’t want those to drown with the visit.

That’s a familiar and frustrating dynamic for US officials who believe China deserves more attention. When Barack Obama was president, he promised a «pivot to Asia» in which the US would shift its attention to a part of the world that presents serious national security risks and enormous economic opportunity. Fast-moving events in other parts of the world often got in the way, just as the Russia-Ukraine war is interceding on Biden’s watch.

Biden warmly greeted the Ukrainian leader. Before posing for a group photo with the other leaders on Sunday, Biden hugged Zelenskyy.

“Zelenskyy’s ability to make it personal and immediate and real is an intangible factor, but it has an impact,” said Daniel Fried, a former US ambassador and fellow at the Atlantic Council. «He won’t change things on the battlefield, but he energizes political support for Ukraine.»

Later on Sunday, the two presidents held a meeting where Biden formally announced a new $375 million military aid package for Kiev that includes ammunition, artillery and armored vehicles.

“Together, with the entire G7, we have Ukraine’s back,” Biden said at the start of the meeting. «And I promise you, we’re not going anywhere.»

Although Biden had once opposed the transfer of F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine out of fear that the war would escalate, he has since changed his mind. The United States has now agreed to help train Ukrainian pilots to fly the F-16. At the press conference, Biden said he was not concerned that the planes would amplify the conflict.

«I have a strong guarantee from Zelenskyy that they will not use it, they will not use it to go on and enter Russian geographic territory,» he said.