In wake of tense Trump call, Pence aims to soothe Australia

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 U.S. President Donald Trump, who has frequently railed against "radical Islamic terrorism".

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence says President Donald Trump will be attending a summit with the leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN, in the Philippines in November.

"As the second and third largest democracies in the world, our two countries share many common values - including freedom, the rule of law, human rights, and religious diversity", he said.

US Vice President Mike Pence (left) shakes hands with Indonesian Vice President Jusuf Kalla during a business forum in Jakarta o Friday.

During a meeting with Indonesian Vice President Jusuf Kalla, Pence said "These investment deals represent the tremendous excitement that U.S. firms feel about opportunities in Indonesia".

Amid concerns that Trump plans to withdraw focus from the region, the visit is created to both reassure the United States' foreign partners and gauge the mood within Asia towards the most unconventional administration in America's history. Pence will also visit Istiqlal Mosque, the largest mosque in Southeast Asia.

He reaffirmed USA support for the freedom of navigation and trade though the South China Sea.

".Finally, with President Trump's leadership, the United States intends to deepen our cultural ties with the nation and the good people of Indonesia".

Indonesia's investments barriers include a lack of intellectual property protection, insufficient transparency with regulations and requiring local content for manufactured goods sold in the Indonesian market, Pence said.

"We'll ensure the unimpeded flow of lawful commerce and promote peaceful diplomatic dialogue to address issues of regional and global concern", Pence said.

Pence began his official two-day program with a courtesy visit to Indonesian president Joko Widodo, to whom he expressed the interest of the United States to reformulate commercial relations with the biggest economy of Southeast Asia.

Mr. Pence pointed to intellectual-property issues, a lack of transparency and local-manufacture requirements that USA businesses have said hurt investment.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop invited Pence to visit Australia when they met in Washington in February.

And in a sign of greater opportunities within the U.S. -Indonesia economic relationship, Pence on Friday witnessed the signing of 11 agreements worth more than $10 billion involving U.S. companies in Indonesia, including Exxon Mobil, Lockheed Martin, and General Electric.

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