Pence announces $10 bn in deals on Indonesia trip

US Vice President Mike Pence speaks at a business forum in Jakarta, Indonesia. (REUTERS)
Updated 21 April 2017
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Pence announces $10 bn in deals on Indonesia trip

JAKARTA: US Vice President Mike Pence announced $10 billion in deals between American and Indonesian companies during a visit to Jakarta Friday, as he pushed for greater access to Southeast Asia’s top economy.
Eleven deals were signed. Energy firm Exxon Mobil, General Electric, and aerospace giant Lockheed Martin were among the American companies involved in the agreements.
“These deals represent the tremendous excitement that American companies feel about opportunities in Indonesia,” said Pence.
Exxon Mobil will sell liquefied natural gas to Indonesian state-owned energy company Pertamina, General Electric will provide technology for Indonesian power plants, while Lockheed Martin will provide new weapons systems for F-16 fighter jets.
During the visit to Indonesia, his latest stop on an Asia tour, Pence has been pushing to help US firms who want to do business in Indonesia — one of several countries targeted by Donald Trump’s administration for running a trade surplus with the US.
During a meeting at a Jakarta hotel Friday where the deals were announced, Pence told business leaders that he and President Joko Widodo had “very candidly and very respectfully” discussed how to improve market access for US firms in Indonesia when they held talks.
He said earlier on the visit that Washington wanted to “break down barriers” for exporters seeking to enter the Indonesian market.
Indonesia has long been targeted by foreign investors, as it has enjoyed robust growth in recent years, driven by exports of its key commodities even as many developed countries have struggled.
The country of 255 million people is home to a rapidly growing middle class and an army of consumers whose spending power is increasing.
But Indonesia can be a notoriously difficult place to do business due to nationalistic policies, complex bureaucracy and problems with corruption, and foreign firms have often run into trouble.
The latest example of a US company facing problems is a row between the government and mining giant Freeport-McMoRan, which runs a huge gold and copper mine in Indonesia, after authorities demanded they obtain a new license to operate.
Pence departed Indonesia Friday for the next stop on his tour, Australia. He has already visited South Korea and Japan on a trip that is aimed at smoothing some of the rougher edges of Trump’s rhetoric.


Trump now says no ‘time limit’ to denuclearize North Korea

US President Donald Trump (L) and North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un. (AFP)
Updated 2 min 51 sec ago
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Trump now says no ‘time limit’ to denuclearize North Korea

  • The accord did not spell out a timetable for the process or say how it would be carried out
  • President Putin is going to be involved in the sense that he is with us

WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump said Tuesday there is no hurry to denuclearize North Korea under his accord with Kim Jong Un — a shift in tone from when the US leader said the process would start very soon.
“Discussions are ongoing and they’re going very, very well,” Trump told reporters.
“We have no time limit. We have no speed limit.”
Trump said he discussed North Korea with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday at their summit in Helsinki.
“President Putin is going to be involved in the sense that he is with us,” Trump said.
The Republican president met with Kim on June 12 for an unprecedented summit in Singapore during which the North Korean leader pledged to work toward denuclearization of the peninsula.
But the accord did not spell out a timetable for the process or say how it would be carried out. Diplomats are now expected to hammer out the details.
More than a month later, no concrete progress has been reported and North Korea has complained the Americans are making unilateral demands.
Before the Singapore summit, the Trump administration said denuclearization should start “without delay,” and after the meeting, it spoke of the process beginning “very quickly.”
A day after the meeting, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the bulk of North Korea’s denuclearization should be completed by the end of Trump’s term in 2020.
The White House has hailed the summit between Kim and Trump in Singapore as a major breakthrough toward disarming the isolated, nuclear-armed North in exchange for easing of sanctions and other help with economic development.
Pompeo met with Kim’s key aide this month during his latest trip to Pyongyang but as soon as he left, the North’s foreign ministry berated him over his “unilateral and gangster-like” demands.
Trump last week signaled optimism however, unveiling a letter from Kim in which the young leader hailed the “start of a meaningful journey” and tweeting “Great progress being made!“