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As part of his Asia-Pacific tour, US Vice President Mike Pence plans to visit Indonesia in April 2017. Any dates have bot been finalized yet and therefore the tour has not been announced officially yet. However, an official within the administration of US President Donald Trump said Pence is making the Asia-Pacific tour next month in order safeguard and enhance good relations with several Asia-Pacific nations.
This tour across Asia is required as several Asian nations, including Indonesia, are confused about the trade and economic policies that are - or about to be - undertaken by Trump. While former US president Barack Obama was eager to shift America's focus from intervening in the Middle East to enhancing (trade) relations with Asian nations (as these nations' economic roles in the world economy are increasingly growing), the Trump administration is seemingly rolling back this so-called "pivot to Asia" and replaced it with its "America First" policy.
For example, Trump withdrew the USA from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a trade deal that was negotiated by Obama, because the deal would not be beneficial for the US economy. Rather than simply importing products into the USA, Trump wants to boost the US manufacturing sector by slashing regulations and cut corporate taxes. This should then lead to higher job creation and higher economic growth of the US economy.
After the US withdrawal, there occurred uncertainty about the future of the TPP. Originally, this trade deal was a massive one with 12-nations that covered an area accounting for 40 percent of total international trade. The TPP excluded China and was therefore regarded a counterbalance to the big and rising economic influence of China, especially in the Asian region. Without this deal, China can now strengthen its influence, at the expense of the USA.
Meanwhile, Trump has also repeatedly criticized China for currency manipulation, a tone that harms US relations with China and with the latter's allies, while Trump's hostile attitude toward foreigners from Mexico and certain Muslim countries (by declaring to build a wall to block the inflow of illegal Mexicans and by barring citizens of six Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States), causes serious doubts in Asia whether Trump is willing to become friends with other Muslim majority nations, including Indonesia.
According to reports in media, Indonesian Security Minister Wiranto said Pence will meet Indonesian President Joko Widodo to discuss topics that include terrorism and other security issues. Another topic that may be discussed is the ongoing dispute between mining company Freeport Indonesia, the local unit of American mining group Freeport McMoRan, and the government.
Besides Indonesia, Pence is also expected to visit Australia, South Korea and Japan.