VP Pence meets Indonesian president on Asia tour

Gladys Abbott
April 21, 2017

US Vice President Mike Pence toured the Istiqlal Mosque in Jakarta on Thursday, during his official visit to Indonesia.

At the mosque in Jakarta, Pence and his family also toured the cavernous main prayer room-which was empty during his visit but fills up with tens of thousands of worshippers during key dates in the Muslim calendar-and admired the towering dome.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence says President Donald Trump will be attending a summit with the leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN, in the Philippines in November.

The Trump administration has put Indonesia on a list of 16 countries whose trade surpluses with the United States will be put under review.

"As the largest majority Muslim country, Indonesia's tradition of modern Islam, frankly, is the inspiration to the world", he said.

Pence said the U.S. will continue to work with Indonesia to defend the rule of law that is the foundation of Southeast Asia's peace and prosperity.

US Vice-President Mike Pence yesterday reaffirmed the Trump administration's commitment to a "win-win" relationship in trade and security with Indonesia.

"His objective is basically to meet with our allies and close partners in the region as part of the new administration reaching out and getting the benefit of the views and insight of our partners about the region", Mr Caruso said.

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He later met with leaders from a range of Indonesia's many faith communities, including Christians, Buddhists and Hindus, reports Reuters.

After his meetings at the presidential palace, Mr Pence visited Masjid Istiqlal, the largest mosque in South-east Asia.

He also pledged to uphold the "fundamental freedom of navigation" in the South China Sea.

As well as meeting with Australian officials, Mr Pence and his delegation are expected to visit Sydney's tourist sites, including taking a cruise on Sydney Harbour.

Freeport Indonesia spokesman Riza Pratama said: "This visit is happening entirely independent of our current negotiations with the government of Indonesia".

The vice president is on a tour across Asia, where he's looking to reinforce a number of USA partnerships amid President Trump's rhetoric calling for a shakeup in US foreign policy and a re-evaluation of global trade agreements.

Mr Joko, who spoke briefly before Mr Pence, said their two countries are committed to increasing their strategic partnership which will focus on investments.

"Next month, there will be a team that will discuss management of bilateral trade and investment based on a win-win principle", said Jokowi standing alongside Pence at the joint press conference after their talks.

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