April 20, 2017 4:56 pm JST

Pence, Widodo vow to step up security cooperation

US vice president pledges to work with Jakarta in South China Sea

JUN SUZUKI, Nikkei staff writer

Indonesian President Joko Widodo and first lady Iriana, right, welcome U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and his wife Karen Pence, left, during their meeting at Merdeka Palace in Jakarta on April 20. © Reuters

JAKARTA -- U.S. Vice President Mike Pence met with Indonesian President Joko Widodo in Jakarta on Thursday, reaffirming Washington's commitment to work with Indonesia to combat terrorism and other threats. 

At a news conference following the meeting at the presidential palace, Pence highlighted the two countries' long-term cooperation on national security. He said that under leadership of President Donald Trump, the U.S. is committed to continuing that partnership.

Pence also pledged the U.S. would work with Indonesia to uphold the rule of law in the South China Sea, which he called vital to peace and prosperity in Southeast Asia. The remarks underscored the U.S. administration's determination to uphold freedom of navigation in international waters, amid continued military muscle-flexing by China in the region.

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