Pence to talk trade, security and koalas during Australian visit

Pence's message struck a conciliatory tone, in an administration that has stirred unease with its rhetoric regarding Muslims.

During a meeting at a Jakarta hotel Friday where the deals were announced, Pence told business leaders that he and President Joko Widodo had "very candidly and very respectfully" discussed how to improve market access for U.S. firms in Indonesia when they held talks.

"Indonesia's tradition of moderate Islam, frankly, is an inspiration to the world". Trump often decries "radical Islamic terrorism" and has enacted policies that target Muslim majority countries.

Vice President Mike Pence will meet with United States Embassy staff and their families in Jakarta. "And we commend you and your people", Pence said during a joint statement with Widodo. "In your nation as in mine, religion unifies, it doesn't divide".

"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.

Pence is on a two-day state visit to Indonesia as part of his Asia-Pacific tour.

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Pence said Washington would continue working with Indonesia to combat terrorism. Indonesia is among several nations who lay claim to the waters, which China has claimed as largely its own and built up militarized features to exert ownership.

But concerns about the US-Australia relationship go beyond a sour first impression, as Pence will have to address thorny questions about the administration's withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, its strategy in the South China Sea and the regional security challenge posed by North Korea.

Pence will emphasize the long-term partnership between the two nations on defense and the economy, Reuters reported.

"US companies face many barriers and difficulties in the Indonesian market, including intellectual property, the lack of transparency and requirements in manufacturing to include local content to be able to sell products in the Indonesian market", he said during his speech at a business forum at the Shangri-La hotel in Central Jakarta.

The region was almost the fulcrum of a major worldwide trade agreement, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which has been scuttled by President Trump who said it was unfair to American workers.

Trump has said that he instead intends to pursue bilateral trade agreements.

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