VP Pence meets Indonesian president on Asia tour

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence praised Indonesia's democracy and moderate form of Islam on Thursday alongside the president of the world's most populous Muslim nation, reinforcing his message with a visit to the region's largest mosque.

Pence is on the final day of a visit to Indonesia before departing at midday for Australia.

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

"We believe we must level the playing field, break down barriers to ensure American exporters can fully participate in the Indonesian market, with the same freedom that Indonesian exporters have had in many sectors in the United States for many years", he added.

Nevertheless, Pence was due to witness the signing of more than $10 billion in memoranda of understanding with USA companies in Indonesia on Friday, a White House official said.

Indonesia, southeast Asia's biggest economy, is among the 16 U.S. trade partners under review for having a trade surplus with the United States.

Mr Pence said that both countries must now work to break down barriers to ensure American exporters can fully participate in the Indonesian market, with the same freedom enjoyed by many Indonesians across many sectors of the USA economy.

Pence then held an interfaith dialogue behind closed doors with representatives of the Christian, Buddhist, Confucian, Hindu and Muslim faiths.

US Vice-President Mike Pence has his work cut out for him during his first Australian visit this weekend, with a new poll showing 60 per cent of voters have a negative view of Donald Trump.

Yenny felt she needed to explain to Vice President Pence about Jakarta election because foreign media had made reports on how moderate Muslims were losing Jakarta election against their radical counterparts.

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

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.

Widodo said at the joint news conference with Pence the two countries would "increase the strategic partnership... which will focus on cooperation and investments".

Japanese officials who briefed reporters after the talks indicated the two sides did not share a consensus on sticking to bilateral trade deals.

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