US VP in Indonesia sends conciliatory message to Islamic world
"So we don't know what the approach is there or if it has implications for us, so I'm sure they'll (Mr Turnbull and his senior ministers) will want insights from Mr Pence into Trump's thinking". "Obviously they lead with China". Indonesia is the first country in Southeast Asia visited by Pence before he departed for Australia.
Trump assailed the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal during his 2016 campaign and announced shortly after his inauguration that the US would withdraw from the Pacific Rim-based TPP, which now includes 11 countries from Chile to New Zealand. His agenda includes reassuring Turnbull about the state of the unusually strained U.S. -Australia alliance and laying out the new administration's priorities for the Pacific Rim.
Pence, standing side by side with Widodo at a news conference, said: "One of the greatest threats we face is the rise and spread of terrorism", though he did not refer to "radical Islam".
Vice President Mike Pence has reaffirmed the importance what he says is the strategic partnership between the United States and the world's most populous Muslim nation, Indonesia. On Thursday, Pence toured the Grand Mosque in Jakarta, Southeast Asia's largest, and said Indonesia's moderate form of Islam should serve as an example to other nations. Under the deal, the United States agreed to resettle up to 1,250 asylum seekers held in offshore processing camps on South Pacific islands in Papua New Guinea and Nauru. Robinson noted that it took Obama three years to visit Australia after he was elected, while former Vice President Joe Biden waited seven years before traveling Down Under.
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He said the Trump administration would work with ASEAN on security issues, trade and freedom of navigation in the South China Sea. "I really do think it's ancient history", the White House foreign policy adviser told reporters, noting Pence had discussed the deal with Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop earlier this year. The port is near a critical military base used as a training hub for U.S. Marines, who are stationed there as part of America's military pivot to Asia.
Trump's executive order does not include Indonesia, but the country is home to almost 14,000 refugees seeking resettlement in third countries and activists have said the ban would affect their ability of entering the U.S. Given Australia's loyalty to both the USA and China, the country has tried to avoid taking sides in the disputes.
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 calender - and admired the towering dome.
Pence will then depart Jakarta for Sydney, Australia.
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