Published: Fri, April 21, 2017
Business | By Sandy Mccarthy

Mike Pence praises Indonesia's tolerant values on visit to Jakarta mosque

Mike Pence praises Indonesia's tolerant values on visit to Jakarta mosque

The two-day stop in Muslim-majority Indonesia comes as President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo deals with a serious political setback after a political ally was defeated by Islamic conservatives in the election for Jakarta governor.

Vice President Mike Pence announced 11 major deals valued at more than $10 billion between US and Indonesian companies, mostly in energy and defense.

There will be clearways in and around the Sydney CBD, Kirribilli, and Mosman from 10am Friday 21 April 2017 to 10am Monday 24 April 2017 during the visit of the US Vice President Pence and his delegation.

"We think there are opportunities to clear open the way for American companies to participate more greatly in Indonesia", Pence said, adding the agreements would "draw our nations closer together and benefit both our people".

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said on Friday an attack in central Paris is the latest reminder terrorism can strike anywhere at anytime, and the United States would not relent in its efforts to end terrorism.

After his talks with Widodo, Pence also said the USA was committed to building a stronger defense partnership with Indonesia to combat terrorism, and guaranteeing freedom of navigation in the South China Sea, where Indonesian and Chinese vessels have recently clashed.

His remarks appeared to allude to U.S. Vice President Mike Pence's comments, after meeting with Aso in Tokyo earlier this week, that the U.S. considered the TPP a "thing of the past".

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Acting US Ambassador to Australia, James Caruso, told the ABC that the visit shows how important Australia is the United States.

Pence says Trump will also attend the East Asia Summit that follows the regional meetings in the Philippines that same month.

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

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. Jakarta also scrubbed JP Morgan from its list of primary bond dealers after what was deemed a negative research report.

It came ahead of a visit by Mr Pence to the largest mosque in Indonesia, which has the world's biggest Muslim population, where he will hold a multi-faith dialogue.

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

Widodo's approach to foreign policy has been led more by economic interests than geopolitical considerations: he has pursued increased trade and investment from China but keeps a diplomatic distance from Beijing and established a strategic partnership with Washington under former President Barack Obama.

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