U.S. Vice President Mike Pence announced in Jakarta, Indonesia Thursday that President Donald Trump will attend three summits in Asia in November.
Pence, who is on the latest leg of a ten day tour of Asia, said Trump plans to attend the U.S.-Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the East Asia summits in the Philippines and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Vietnam.
After meeting with the secretary general of ASEAN, Pence said the Trump administration will collaborate with ASEAN to “promote peace and stability in the South China Sea” to ensure “unimpeded flow of commerce” in the area.
Southeast Asian nations are seeking a long term agreement to settle disputes in the South China Sea. The region faces new challenges as China moves to extend its regional influence at a time when the U.S.’s Asia policy is currently focused on rising tensions on the Korean Peninsula.
Pence praised Indonesia for what he called the nation’s “tradition of moderate Islam” as he also met with President Joko Widodo.
“As the second and the third largest democracies in the world, our two countries share many common values including freedom, the rule of law, human rights and religious diversity. The United States is proud to partner with Indonesia, to promote and protect these values,” Pence said.
He also stressed the need for “fundamental freedom of navigation,” and said he and President Trump want to expand economic ties with Indonesia.
“Under President Trump’s leadership the United States seeks trade relationships that are both free and fair. That’s for job creation and economic growth for both parties. As you, President Widodo have said so often, we’re looking for a win-win relationship and we’re confident that we can find it on an increasing basis,” Pence said.
As part of his trip, Pence also visited Jakarta’s Istiqlal Mosque, the largest in Southeast Asia, and met with religious leaders from several faiths, including Muslims, Christians, Buddhists and Hindus.
Indonesia is the world’s most populous Muslim nation, and the latest stop on a trip that has taken Pence to South Korea and Japan. He is also due to travel to Australia.