Pence says US will honor refugee deal

Pence says US will honor refugee deal

Pence says US will honor refugee deal

As expected, Pence used his visit to praise moderate Islam in Indonesia, calling it "an inspiration to the world".

President Donald Trump publicly excoriated an agreement struck under the Obama administration to resettle in the US some asylum seekers held by Australia in offshore camps.

Indonesia is the latest stop on an Asian tour by Pence that aims to reaffirm traditional US alliances at a time when Donald Trump's presidency has raised questions about the strength of the USA commitment to the region.

His message at each of those stops was to reassure political and business leaders that Mr Trump's "America First" policy meant the United States was open to foreign investment, and that his administration wanted to work with business leaders to knock down barriers for U.S. products.

Under the agreement, the USA would take up to 1,250 refugees that Australia houses in detention camps on the Pacific island nations of Nauru and Papua New Guinea.

Pence, an evangelical Christian, spoke alongside Indonesian President Joko Widodo before meeting with a group of interfaith religious leaders.

"But given that Australia regards itself as America's most reliable ally we wouldn't ordinarily expect that the president of the United States would treat our prime minister with disrespect".

"Australia and the US have (a) very close business relationship", Moshirian said.

Ms Bishop, who invited Mr Pence to Australia when they met in Washington in February, has been vocal about the need for more U.S. engagement in Asia, and even observed recently that many countries were "in a strategic holding pattern" as they waited to see what Mr Trump would do.

The VP's visit to Sydney is part of a 10-day, four-country trip to the Pacific Rim that is widely viewed as an effort to smooth over U.S. relations with Australia.

"The president wanted me to be here early in this administration to reaffirm this strong, historic alliance between the United States of America and Australia".

Both leaders also repeatedly cited the nations' long history of military cooperation. Australia has fought alongside the U.S.in every major conflict since World War I. His visit represents the most high-profile outreach to Muslims by the Donald Trump administration since the brash billionaire came to office and echoes a similar trip by Barack and Michelle Obama in 2010.

Michael Fullilove, executive director of the Lowy Institute for International Policy, said Mr Pence's tour aimed to project reassurance and "settle our nerves" - a view that Professor Brown also expressed.

Tensions over North Korea's nuclear ambitions, as well as territorial disputes in the South China Sea, also will likely be discussed during the vice president's three-day visit to Australia.

Trump's executive order does not include Indonesia, but the country is home to almost 14,000 refugees seeking resettlement in third countries, and activists have said the ban would affect their ability of entering the U.S. Cosgrove says the relationship is "as strong today" as it was since "the first time we saw each other on the battlefield in 1919".