World

US Vice-President Mike Pence 
to tour Asia next month

JAKARTA: US Vice-President Mike Pence will visit Indonesia next month, sources said yesterday, as part of what a Japanese magazine said was an Asian tour amid concerns the Trump administration is rolling back former president Barack Obama's "pivot to Asia" policy.

President Donald Trump has already withdrawn from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement, which was seen as an economic pillar of the strategy.

LAUNCH

Mr Pence's visit comes after North Korea's latest missile launches. The assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's estranged half-brother in Malaysia has also added urgency to the region's security.

Mr Pence is also expected to visit Japan, South Korea and Australia, the Nikkei Asian Review reported, with North Korea's missile and nuclear programmes and China's expansion in the South China Sea likely topics for discussion.

Indonesia has the world's largest Muslim population, and has recently grappled with a series of low-level militant attacks inspired by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

Indonesia's chief security minister said Mr Pence would meet Indonesian President Joko Widodo to discuss terrorism and other security issues.

"We discussed the planned visit of Mr Pence to Indonesia and the strategic problems that can be on the agenda to discuss with our president," chief security minister Wiranto told reporters after meeting the US ambassador to Jakarta.

He added that no dates have been finalised.- REUTERS

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