World

Pence praises Indonesia's moderate form of Islam

JAKARTA US President Donald Trump will attend three summits in Asia in November, Vice-President Mike Pence said during a visit to the headquarters of Asean yesterday.

Mr Pence said in a statement after meeting the secretary-general of Asean that Mr Trump would attend the US-Asean summit and the East Asia summit in the Philippines, as well as the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Vietnam.

WORK WITH ASEAN

He said the Trump administration would work with Asean on security issues and trade and freedom of navigation in the South China Sea.

Mr Pence also praised Indonesia's moderate form of Islam as "an inspiration" at the start of a visit to the Muslim-majority country, which is seen as a bid by his administration to heal divisions with the Islamic world.

It came ahead of a visit by Mr Pence to the largest mosque in Indonesia, which has the world's biggest Muslim population , where he will hold a multi-faith dialogue.

His visit represents the most high-profile outreach to Muslims by the Trump administration since the brash billionaire came to office and echoes a similar trip by former president Barack Obama and his wife Michelle in 2010.

Since becoming president almost 100 days ago, Mr Trump has hosted leaders from Jordan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Egypt. But his administration has also tried to ban travellers from several Muslim-majority nations, citing concerns about terrorism - an effort currently being challenged in US courts.

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. In your nation as in mine, religion unifies, it doesn't divide."

- WIRE SERVICES

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