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Pence praises Indonesias tradition of moderate Islam in latest stop on Asian tour

JAKARTA, INDONESIA—U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence praised Indonesia’s democracy and moderate form of Islam on Thursday alongside the president of the world’s most populous Muslim nation, reinforcing his message with a visit to the region’s largest mosque.Pence’s comments, though routine, had significance for Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, who a day earlier suffered a serious political setback when a political ally was defeated by Islamic conservatives in the election for Jakarta governor. The divisive campaign undermined the image of Indonesia abroad as a generally tolerant Muslim nation.Indonesia is the latest stop on an Asian tour by Pence that aims to reaffirm traditional U.S. alliances at a time when Donald Trump’s presidency has raised questions about the strength of the U.S. commitment to the region.Pence said at a joint news conference with Jokowi that the U.S. wants to strengthen its strategic partnership with Indonesia. In brief comments, Jokowi said they agreed to boost co-operation.Read the latest news on U.S. President Donald TrumpEND Article Continued BelowThe vice-president praised Indonesia for its moderate form of Islam and said the two countries would continue to co-operate on combating terrorism.“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,” Pence said. “The United States is proud to partner with Indonesia. It promotes and protects these values.”The vice-president added: “Indonesia’s tradition of moderate Islam frankly is an inspiration to the world and we commend you and your people. In your nation as in mine, religion unifies, it doesn’t divide.”

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