VP Pence Aims to Reassure Australia After Tense Trump Call

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.

"They admire our democratic ways in this Muslim-majority country".

Amid rising tensions around the world's second-biggest copper mine, Pence briefly raised the issue during a meeting in Jakarta on Thursday at the presidential palace.

His message at each of those stops was to reassure political and business leaders that Trump's "America First" policy meant that the United States was open to foreign investment, and that his administration wanted to work with business leaders to knock down barriers for US products.

Pence embarked on his Asia Pacific tour last week and has so far visited South Korea, Japan and Indonesia.

"It is possible that United States engagement with Indonesia will focus only on counterterrorism cooperation and, maybe, South China Sea issues". Pence also called for cooperation on fighting terrorism and maintaining freedom of navigation in the region.

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As leader of the world's most populous Muslim nation, Indonesian President Joko Widodo has voiced worries about Trump's immigration policy, which critics say is biased against Muslims.

The timing of Mr Pence's Australian visit comes against a backdrop of North Korea's nuclear ambitions and increasing tensions between the U.S. and Russian Federation over the Syrian war.

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.

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

"His goal really is to reassure Australia of the closeness of the relationship, the value that the United States puts on this relationship, and that this is something the new administration intends to work on going forward", he said. A General Electric Co. spokesman said its inclusion stemmed from power plants set up in 2016, while Pertamina, Indonesia's state oil-and-gas company, said it plans to buy liquefied natural gas from Exxon Mobil Corp. for 20 years beginning in 2025.

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