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Politics

Trump's No. 2 brings an olive branch to Asia

Vice President Mike Pence reaches out to Muslims to defuse anti-US sentiment

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U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, center, visits the Istiqlal Mosque in Jakarta on April 20. Flanking him are the mosque's grand imam, Nasaruddin Umar, left, and its chairman, Muhammad Muzammil Basyuni. (Pool)   © Reuters

TOKYO During his roughly weeklong tour of South Korea, Japan, Indonesia and Australia in late April, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence stressed to his hosts that the U.S. was not shifting its strategy in the Asia-Pacific region under its new president, even if Donald Trump had decided to pull the country out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement.

In Australia, a key U.S. security ally, he tried to warm up a bilateral relationship that has grown frostier since Trump took office in January. In Indonesia, home to the world's largest Muslim population, he reached out to the Muslim community, including making a highly symbolic visit to a mosque.

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