Pence tours Southeast Asia’s biggest mosque, talks trade in Indonesia

Official data from Indonesia’s trade ministry puts total trade between the countries at $23.44 billion in 2016, with Indonesia recording a surplus of $8.84 billion. He said the Trump administration would work with ASEAN on security issues, trade and freedom of navigation in the South China Sea. Strategic partnership
Pence arrived in Jakarta late on Wednesday from Japan, where he reassured Tokyo of a U.S. After meeting Widodo, Pence said his administration wanted fairer trade with Southeast Asia’s biggest economy. Pence, standing side by side with Widodo at a news conference Thursday (April 20), said: “One of the greatest threats we face is the rise and spread of terrorism,” though he did not refer to “radical Islam.”
“As the largest majority-Muslim country, Indonesia’s tradition of moderate Islam, frankly, is an inspiration to the world,” he said. Indonesia mainly exports textiles, footwear and seafood and mainly imports aircraft, machinery and soybeans from America. Pence, joined by his wife and daughters, later went on a tour of Jakarta’s Istiqlal mosque, posing for pictures in the massive empty courtyard and walking through the five-story prayer hall, big enough to hold 200,000 people. Jakarta also deleted JPMorgan from its list of primary bond dealers after what was deemed a negative research report. Washington had billed Pence’s visit to Jakarta as a booster for a strategic partnership, but a raft of bilateral disputes with U.S. During a visit to the headquarters of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in Jakarta, Pence confirmed that Trump will attend regional summits in November: a U.S.-ASEAN and East Asia summit in the Philippines and the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Vietnam. “In your nation as in mine, religion unifies, it doesn’t divide,” he added. Google declined to comment for this report and JPMorgan did not respond to a request for comment. Questions? Vice President Mike Pence toured Southeast Asia’s largest mosque during a visit to Indonesia, calling the Muslim-majority nation’s tradition of following a moderate form of Islam “an inspiration to the world.”
Pence, an evangelical Christian, has sought to use his trip to soften some of the harsher edges of rhetoric about the Muslim world used by President Trump, who has frequently railed against “radical Islamic terrorism.”
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. Widodo said at the joint news conference with Pence that the two countries would “increase the strategic partnership … which will focus on cooperation and investments.”
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.”
(Reporting by Roberta Rampton; writing by Ed Davies)

News Wire Subscribers: This article is not available for republication. JAKARTA (Reuters) U.S. Over the past six months, Indonesia has wrestled with mining giant Freeport McMoRan, demanding the company divest 51 percent of its shares in its Papua-based gold and copper mine, and has demanded that Google Inc. Indonesia is one of 16 countries under review for having a trade surplus with the United States. Afterward, he met religious leaders from various faiths, including Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, Hindus and others. settle unpaid taxes and fines of more than $400 million. companies could sap the goodwill from his trip. Hard-line Islamic groups on Wednesday night had celebrated the election win at the Istiqlal mosque. Email wendy@religionnews.com. Pence is visiting Indonesia a day after the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, elected a new Muslim governor who rode a wave of conservative Islamist votes to defeat an incumbent Christian on trial charged with blasphemy against the Koran. commitment to rein in North Korea’s nuclear and missile ambitions. Political Islam
Indonesia is officially secular, and most of its 220 million Muslims practice a moderate form of Islam, although the country has some vocal Islamist groups and has suffered in the past from attacks by militants. 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 Obama. Beijing claims most of the South China Sea but has overlapping claims with a number of Southeast Asian countries.