Pence praises Indonesia's moderate form of Islam

Posted April 20, 2017

After meeting with Indonesia's President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo, he says Indonesia and the USA are both democracies and share the same values.

Indonesia is the latest stop on an Asian tour by Pence that aims to reaffirm traditional USA alliances at a time when Donald Trump's presidency has raised questions about the strength of the US commitment to the region.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, left, is seated with Indonesia's President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo at the Istana, or Indonesian presidential palace, in Jakarta, Indonesia, Thursday, April 20, 2017.

Vice President Mike Pence was in Tokyo on Tuesday, calling for "stronger and more balanced bilateral trade relationships" with countries like Japan and South Korea.

After the meetings, Pence is scheduled to visit the Istiqlal mosque in Jakarta, which is the biggest mosque in the country with largest Muslim population in the world, and participate in inter-faith talks with several religious leaders.

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

President Donald Trump immediately withdrew the USA from the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement on his first day in office.

Pence said that the United States is committed to enhance partnership with 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.

He said over the next month the two sides will form a team to discuss the "management of bilateral trades and investment based on the principle of a win-win solution".