Pence reaffirms US-Australia alliance after Trump spat

More than two months after President Donald Trump got into a spat with Turnbull, Vice President Mike Pence will be working to smooth over any lingering hard feelings with the longtime USA ally.

Official data from Indonesia's trade ministry puts total trade between the two countries at $23.44 billion in 2016, with Indonesia recording a surplus of $8.84 billion.

"I'm optimistic because President Jokowi and President Trump are both lifelong business people, and I think they are very focused on the practical issues that hinder business and investment", Lembong told Reuters.

Neither side disclosed any discussions about the disputes Indonesia has had with American companies of late.

The latest example of a USA company facing problems is a row between the Indonesian government and mining giant Freeport-McMoRan Copper-and-Gold Inc, which runs a huge gold and copper mine in Indonesia, after authorities demanded they obtain a new license to operate. Jakarta also deleted JP Morgan from its list of primary bond dealers after what was deemed a negative research report.

Earlier, Mr Pence met Australia's governor general Peter Cosgrove, who said the relationship between the countries was as strong as it was since "the first time we saw each other on the battlefield in 1919".

After talks with Indonesian President Joko Widodo, Mr Pence said: "Indonesia's tradition of moderate Islam is frankly an inspiration to the world and we commend you and your people".

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Pence also called for cooperation on fighting terrorism and maintaining freedom of navigation in the region.

Maruf Amin, the head of the Indonesian Ulema Council, the country's top Muslim clerical body, told AFP: "The US is a big country, with major influence, so it should present itself as a country which is friendly to everyone".

It is, perhaps, unsurprising to learn that former Indiana Governor and current Vice President Mike Pence considers Hoosiers to be "the greatest sports movie ever made".

Turnbull echoed the sentiments, saying: "The eyes of the world are on Beijing". South-east Asia's largest economy ran a surplus with the United States of US$13 billion past year, largely via exports of textiles, footwear, fishery products and natural resources.

It's not exactly a harsh critique of the Trump administration's politics. That plan, however, remains stalled in courts.

Though officials had been indicating that Trump would eventually commit to attend, making the official announcement in Indonesia -which has traditionally been seen as a leader within ASEAN and Southeast Asia - and after meeting ASEAN officials, carried a significance of its own (See: "Trump's Real ASEAN Test").

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