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International relations

US courts Indonesia, Vietnam to counter China in Indo-Pacific

Washington supports Jakarta's renaming of disputed waters in South China Sea

Indonesian Defense Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu, left, welcomes US Defense Secretary James Mattis in Jakarta on Tuesday, prior to a meeting to discuss the South China Sea. (Photo by Jun Suzuki)

JAKARTA -- U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis' visit to Indonesia highlights the rising importance of security in the South China Sea to the Donald Trump administration, which is seeking to engage Indonesia and the ASEAN regional grouping to counter China's expanding presence in the region.

Mattis arrived in Jakarta on Monday and met with Indonesian Defense Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu on Tuesday morning, prior to a scheduled meeting with Indonesian President Joko Widodo later in the day.

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