VP Pence aims to reassure Australia after tense Trump call

Geneva Matthews
April 22, 2017

Pence was speaking in the world's most populous Muslim nation midway through a 10-day swing in Asia meant to reinforce key United States alliances at the start of the Trump administration.

The message and images sought to address questions in the Muslim world about Trump after his push for travel bans that would temporarily suspend visas from six predominantly-Muslim countries and halt the USA refugee program.

US Vice President Mike Pence was due to arrive in Australia on Friday evening for the last leg of his Asia-Pacific tour, with regional security, the fight against terror, and trade set to dominate talks.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence (R) walks with Indonesia's Vice President Jusuf Kalla at the Vice President office in Jakarta, Indonesia April 20, 2017.

During his time in South Korea and Japan, Pence emphasised Trump's desire to "marshal the support of our allies in the region" in relation to pressuring North Korea into dismantling its nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles program.

Pence said that the USA and UK Chambers of Commerce and Industry would not only strengthen economic ties with Indonesia but also with a number of countries in the Asia-Pacific region. Beijing claims most of the South China Sea, but has overlapping claims with a number of Southeast Asian countries.

The U.S.is among Indonesia's largest sources of foreign investment, much of it in petroleum and mining.

In Australia, Pence will be among friends.

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

Widodo, who wants more foreign investment as he seeks to boost Southeast Asia's top economy, said the leaders had focused on "the USA commitment to enhance the strategic partnership with Indonesia, focusing on cooperation and investment".

Fealy says they echo similar mollifying statements made by Defence Secretary Jim Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to other foreign leaders.

The US vice president said that Trump's attendance at the meetings would be "a sign, I hope to all, of our firm and unwavering commitment to build on the strong foundations that we already share".

The 11 deals are expected to be signed with companies including Exxon Mobil, Lockheed Martin and General Electric.

Other reports by VideoGamingPros

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