JAKARTA – US Vice President Mike Pence began on Thursday a two-day visit to Indonesia aimed at strengthening bilateral trade, regional security and the fight against terror.
Pence is scheduled to meet Indonesian President Joko Widodo before holding talks on bilateral relations with Vice President Jusuf Kalia.
Pence is expected to largely discuss trade with his counterpart, as he did in Japan, the previous stopover of his Asia-Pacific tour, which will conclude on Saturday in Australia.
According to analysts, the US is seeking to reiterate its interest in boosting trade with the region following its withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement promoted by the previous administration of Barack Obama.
Pence is also expected to discuss the dispute over the South China Sea, where several incidents on the Natuna islands involving Indonesian and Chinese boats have been reported.
After the meetings, the US vice president is scheduled to visit the Istiqlal mosque in Jakarta, which is the biggest mosque in the country with largest Muslim population in the world, and participate in inter-faith talks with several religious leaders.
He will also meet the secretary general of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) based in Jakarta, which is celebrating 40 years of relations with the US.
Pence’s visit to Indonesia will conclude on Friday with a meeting with businessmen and the signing of several agreements for collaboration in the energy and information technology sectors.