Published: Sat, April 22, 2017
Worldwide | By Sean Reid

VP Pence arrives in Australia, last stop in Asia

Asked if Australian "politicians should be more like Donald Trump", 70 per cent of respondents disagreed.

"They admire our democratic ways in this Muslim-majority country".

Pence will arrive in Australia today marking his fourth stop on his 10-day tour in the Asia-Pacific region.

"These deals represent the tremendous excitement that American companies feel about opportunities in Indonesia", Mr Pence said during a meeting with Vice President Jusuf Kalla. Pence has sought to reassure allies in the region that the still committed to trade and economic ties despite Trump's decision on TPP.

Pence also pledged the USA would work with Indonesia to uphold the rule of law in the South China Sea, which he called vital to peace and prosperity in Southeast Asia.

"I think that is why we saw him visit Masjid [mosque] Istiqlal and also why he attended an interfaith discussion, to assuage fears America is waging a war against Islam", Connelly says.

The investment deals include ExxonMobil Mobil Corp that will supply 1 million tons of liquid natural gas (LNG) to Indonesia's state-owned energy company Pertamina in the 2025-2045 period.

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U.S. Vice President Mike Pence met with Indonesian President Joko Widodo in Jakarta on Thursday, reaffirming Washington's commitment to work with Indonesia to combat terrorism and other threats.

Upon entering the presidency, Trump pulled out of negotiations for the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), a multilateral free trade accord that would have stretched to nations around the Pacific Rim.

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. settle unpaid taxes of more than United States dollars 400 million.

Pence foreshadowed the potential for trade negotiations with Indonesia, and Widodo said that come next month the nations will establish a team to "discuss the arrangement of trade and investment bilateral between the countries based on the principles of win-win solution".

Foreign affairs analyst Richard Heydarian said the visit aims to show United States support to Indonesia as the world's most populous Muslim-majority country has seen its "moderate, cosmopolitan, interpretation of Islam" challenged by a "more puritanical and exclusivist view" of the religion.

He said that USA exporters should face a level playing field and the relationship should be "win-win". Other examples are Lockheed Martin that will provide an advanced weapons targeting system for Indonesia's F-16 fighter jets, General Electric Co that will build electrical infrastructure, and Honeywell that will supply turboprop engines to Indonesian aerospace firm Dirgantara.

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