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[caption id="attachment_656105" align="aligncenter" width="1024"]Pence's daughters, Charlotte, left, and Audrey, right, sit with Jokowi's daughter Kahiyang Ayu, center, as they watch a Balinese dance at the Presidential Palace. (Reuters Photo/Beawiharta) Pence's daughters, Charlotte, left, and Audrey, right, sit with Jokowi's daughter Kahiyang Ayu, center, as they watch a Balinese dance at the Presidential Palace. (Reuters Photo/Beawiharta)[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_656106" align="aligncenter" width="1024"]Vice President Pence listens during a meeting with Muslim community leaders at the Istiqlal Mosque in Central Jakarta on Thursday. (Reuters Photo/Beawiharta) Vice President Pence listens during a meeting with Muslim community leaders at the Istiqlal Mosque in Central Jakarta on Thursday. (Reuters Photo/Beawiharta)[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_656107" align="aligncenter" width="1024"]Vice President Pence talks to reporters after meeting with ambassadors of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) in Jakarta on Thursday. (Reuters Photo/Beawiharta) Vice President Pence talks to reporters after meeting with ambassadors of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) in Jakarta on Thursday. (Reuters Photo/Beawiharta)[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_656108" align="aligncenter" width="1024"]Vice President Pence, accompanied by his wife Karen, left, talks with chief imam Nasaruddin Umar during his visit to the Istiqlal Mosque on Thursday. (Reuters Photo/Beawiharta) Vice President Pence, accompanied by his wife Karen, left, talks with chief imam Nasaruddin Umar during his visit to the Istiqlal Mosque on Thursday. (Reuters Photo/Beawiharta)[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_656109" align="aligncenter" width="1024"]Pence and his wife Karen wave before departing for Australia at Halim Perdanakusuma International Airport in East Jakarta on Friday. (Reuters Photo/Beawiharta) Pence and his wife Karen wave before departing for Australia at Halim Perdanakusuma International Airport in East Jakarta on Friday. (Reuters Photo/Beawiharta)[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_656110" align="aligncenter" width="1024"]Pence shakes hands with Indonesian Vice President Jusuf Kalla, left, as he arrives to speak at a business forum at the Shangri-La Hotel in Central Jakarta on Friday. (Reuters Photo/Beawiharta) Pence shakes hands with Indonesian Vice President Jusuf Kalla, left, as he arrives to speak at a business forum at the Shangri-La Hotel in Central Jakarta on Friday. (Reuters Photo/Beawiharta)[/caption]
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            [post_content] => Updated on Saturday, April 22 at 05.44 p.m. 

Jakarta. Indonesia and the United States agreed on Friday (21/04) to find ways to reduce barriers to U.S. companies operating in Southeast Asia's largest economy, visiting U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and Jakarta's investment chief said.

The Trump administration has put Indonesia on a list of 16 countries whose trade surpluses with the United States will be put under review. A series of disputes between Indonesia and American firms has also ruffled ties.

"We will work with President Jokowi to reduce barriers to trade and investments and to create a truly level playing field where all our businesses have equal opportunity and market access," Pence said. Jokowi is the nickname of Indonesia's President Joko Widodo.

"The president and I spoke about that very candidly and very respectfully," Pence told a roundtable discussion with business executives in Jakarta before flying to Australia on the last leg of his 10-day Asia-Pacific tour.

Indonesia's investments barriers include a lack of intellectual property protection, insufficient transparency with regulations and requiring local content for manufactured goods sold in the Indonesian market, Pence said.

Indonesia's Investment Coordinating Board chief Tom Lembong said Widodo agreed "we still have too many regulations, too many barriers to trade, and these are bad for local and international industries".

"I'm optimistic because President Jokowi and President Trump are both lifelong business people, and I think they are very focused on the practical issues that hinder business and investment," Lembong told Reuters. "I feel that the Trump administration and the Jokowi administration are on the same wavelength."

Lembong said Indonesia needs both investment and imports from the United States, "especially productivity-enhancing products and services. You need imports to boost exports."

$10 billion agreements

Neither side disclosed any discussions about the disputes Indonesia has had with American companies of late.

Over the past six months, Indonesia has wrestled with mining giant Freeport McMoRan, demanding the company divest 51 percent of its shares in its Papua-based gold and copper mine, and has demanded that Google Inc. settle unpaid taxes and fines of more than $400 million. Jakarta also scrubbed JP Morgan from its list of primary bond dealers after what was deemed a negative research report.

Pence did, however, witness the signing of more than $10 billion in memoranda of understanding with U.S. companies in Indonesia on Friday.

Among the 11 agreements were ones by Exxon Mobil to sell liquefied natural gas to Pertamina, Lockheed Martin to provide upgrades to the Indonesian Air Force's F-16s, and General Electric to develop electrical infrastructure in Indonesia.

"We think there are opportunities to clear open the way for American companies to participate more greatly in Indonesia," Pence said, adding the agreements would "draw our nations closer together and benefit both our people."

Counter-Terrorism Cooperation

Pence said in opening remarks to the roundtable that an attack in central Paris is the latest reminder terrorism can strike anywhere at anytime, and the United States would not relent in its efforts to end terrorism.

"The people of Indonesia can be confident in the wake of this latest attack: We will not relent in our effort to end terrorism and the threat it presents to both of our peoples," Pence said.

A French policeman was shot dead and two others were wounded in central Paris on Thursday night in an attack carried out days before presidential elections and quickly claimed by the Islamic State militant group.

Indonesia, the world's largest Muslim-majority nation, has itself been hit by a series of deadly attacks over the past 15 years, led by militants affiliated with al Qaeda and more recently by Islamic State.

Pence said Washington would continue working with Indonesia to combat terrorism. On Thursday, Pence toured the Istiqlal Mosque in Jakarta, Southeast Asia's largest, and said Indonesia's moderate form of Islam should serve as an example to other nations.

Indonesia has expressed concern about the Trump administration's proposal to bar entry to citizens of some predominantly Muslim nations. That plan, however, remains stalled in courts.

Pence on Thursday announced Trump would visit Southeast Asia in November for an annual series of regional summits. They include the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting in Vietnam and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit in the Philippines.

Reuters
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            [post_excerpt] => US Vice President Mike Pence met with President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo on Thursday (20/04) to discuss overcoming obstacles that limit bilateral trade and investment between the two nations.
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            [post_content] => Jakarta. President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo has been ranked the fifth most followed global leader on Instagram, according to a research study released by global public relations and communications firm Burson-Marsteller earlier this month.

Over the past five years, governments and world leaders have increasingly flocked to the mobile photo and video sharing network to present more personalized images of themselves to a global audience.

In Indonesia, Jokowi uses several social media platforms – including Instagram – to share pictures and videos to engage with millennials and draw the public to participate in the country's political processes.

Burson-Marsteller presented the report, titled "Most Followed World Leaders on Instagram," which ranked 10 world leaders based on how many social media followers they have managed to accumulate and engage with.

The study showed that the number of users who follow Jokowi's Instagram account – @Jokowi – grew a stunning 673 percent over the past 12 months to a total of 3.7 million users.

The president also ranked fourth on the firm's "World's Most Interactive Leader" list, recording a total 17 million interactions with followers last year.

[caption id="attachment_655786" align="aligncenter" width="300"]President Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo trails the White House, Pope Francis, Donald Trump and India's Narendra Modi on the 'Most Followed World Leaders on Instagram' list by Burson-Marsteller. (Photo courtesy of Burson-Marsteller) President Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo trails the White House, Pope Francis, Donald Trump and India's Narendra Modi on the 'Most Followed World Leaders on Instagram' list by Burson-Marsteller. (Photo courtesy of Burson-Marsteller)[/caption]

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi topped the list with 6.8 million followers, ahead of US President Donald Trump with 6.3 million.

Meanwhile, Pope Francis ranked third with 3.7 million Instagram followers, narrowly leading the White House's official Instagram account with a total of 3.4 million.

The firm also recorded Jokowi as having a 3.68 percent interaction rate, averaging 59 thousand likes per post. President Trump surpassed the Indonesian leader with a 3.39 percent interaction rate, averaging 111,000 likes per post and placing him fourth on the "Most Effective World Leaders on Instagram" list.

However, Modi topped that list as well, with each of his posts receiving an average 223,000 and comments or likes per social media post. Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei ranked sixth on the most effective list, recording a user interaction rate of 6.4 percent.

Over the past 12 months, Khamenei garnered a total 89 million interactions to his 1,423 social media posts, surpassing Pope Francis's 45 million interactions but behind Trump's total of 114 million.

Donald Baer, chief executive of Burson-Marsteller, said in a statement the study aims to show the popularity and effectiveness of how world leaders and governments communicate with their constituents on digital platforms.

"Leaders around the world are pursuing daring communication techniques that show [...] personality and creativity. Leaders in business and other sectors can learn from the way the government uses Instagram."

To expand their social media accounts, some world leaders hire official photographers to capture moments, or do it themselves by taking "selfies," or self-portrait photos typically captured through smartphones.

Through his official Instagram account, President Jokowi is among 13 world leaders who have uploaded selfies to Instagram, including Argentine President Mauricio Macri (@MauricioMacri), Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto (@PenaNieto), Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev (@ Damedvedev) and Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg (@Erna_Solberg).
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            [post_content] => [Updated at 12;42 p.m. on Thursday, April 20, 2017]

Jakarta. US Vice President Mike Pence said on Thursday (20/04) his administration wants fairer trade with Indonesia, as Washington reviews a number of countries with which it has trade deficits.

After meeting with Indonesian President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo, Pence said Washington was interested in a "win-win relationship" with Southeast Asia's biggest economy.

Indonesia is one of 16 countries under review for having a trade surplus with the United States.

Official data from Indonesia's trade ministry puts total trade between the two countries at $23.44 billion in 2016, with Indonesia recording a surplus of $8.84 billion. Indonesia mainly exports textiles, footwear and seafood and mainly imports aircraft, machinery and soybeans from America.

Pence also called for cooperation on fighting terrorism and maintaining freedom of navigation in the region.

Pence arrived in Jakarta late on Wednesday from Japan where he reassured Tokyo of a US commitment to rein in North Korea's nuclear and missile ambitions.

Washington had billed Pence's visit to Jakarta as a booster for a strategic partnership between the world's second- and third-largest democracies, but a raft of bilateral disputes with US companies could sap the goodwill from his trip.

Over the past six months, Indonesia has wrestled with mining giant Freeport McMoRan, demanding the company divest 51 percent of its shares in its Papua-based gold and copper mine, and has demanded that Google settle unpaid taxes of more than $400 million. Jakarta also deleted JP Morgan from its list of primary bond dealers after what was deemed a negative research report.

Google declined to comment for this report and JPMorgan did not respond to a request for comment.

Freeport Indonesia spokesman Riza Pratama said: "This visit is happening entirely independent of our current negotiations with the government of Indonesia."

However, billionaire investor Carl Icahn, Freeport's third-biggest shareholder and special adviser to US President Donald Trump, has described Jakarta's tactics over the mining contract as "disingenuous and insulting", according to the New York Times.

As leader of the world's most populous Muslim nation, Jokowi has voiced worries about Trump's immigration policy, which critics say is biased against Muslims.

Pence is visiting Indonesia a day after the Indonesian capital Jakarta elected a new Muslim governor who rode a wave of conservative Islamist to defeat an incumbent Christian on trial charged with blasphemy against the Koran.

Pence was later on Thursday due to visit Southeast Asia's largest mosque, the Istiqlal mosque, where hardline Islamic groups on Wednesday night celebrated the election win.

Jokowi's approach to foreign policy has been led more by economic interests than geopolitical considerations: he has pursued increased trade and investment from China but keeps a diplomatic distance from Beijing and established a strategic partnership with Washington under former President Barack Obama.

Jokowi said at the joint news conference with Pence that the two countries would "increase the strategic partnership... which will focus on cooperation and investments".

He said over the next month the two sides will form a team to discuss the "management of bilateral trades and investment based on the principle of a win-win solution".

Reuters
            [post_title] => US VP Pence Says Seeks Fairer Trade With Indonesia
            [post_excerpt] => US Vice President Mike Pence said on Thursday (20/04) his administration wants fairer trade with Indonesia, as Washington reviews a number of countries with which it has trade deficits.
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            [post_content] => This article was updated on Wednesday (19/04) at 5:30 p.m. to add footage of President Joko Widodo.

Jakarta. President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo and first lady Iriana Widodo will cast their vote on Wednesday's (19/04) Jakarta gubernatorial election runoff at the Gambir 4 polling station in Central Jakarta.

Cabinet Secretary Pramono Anung confirmed on Tuesday the president and the first lady will go to the same polling station where they also voted in the first round election on February 15.

"Only the president and the first lady know who they're going to vote for. We should not make any assumption," Pramono said.

Both Jokowi and current Jakarta Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama are backed by the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) and Ahok was Jokowi's deputy when the president held the post of Jakarta governor from 2012 t0 2014.

Jokowi, originally from Solo in Central Java, and first lady Iriana are registered as Jakarta voters since they now officially reside at Jalan Taman Suropati No. 7, in Menteng, Central Jakarta. Their voter registration numbers are 269 and 270 respectively.



The second round of the Jakarta gubernatorial election will see Ahok and and his running mate Djarot Saiful Hidayat face off against former education minister Anies Baswedan and businessman Sandiaga Uno.

During the first round election, Ahok and Djarot had won at the Gambir 4 polling station with 153 votes. Anies and Sandiaga came second with 77 votes.

Watch Indonesia Highlights at 8 p.m. tonight on the Jakarta Globe News Channel and Facebook Live to find out more about the gubernatorial election run-off on April 19. 
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            [post_content] => Jakarta. Last month's state visit to Indonesia by King Salman bin Abdulaziz al Saud of Saudi Arabia had a major impact on the tourism industry, but it did not result in much in the way of investment.

King Salman, who was accompanied by a huge entourage and dozens of princes, only invested $6 billion in the world's biggest Muslim democracy, while he made commitments worth $65 billion during his subsequent visit to China.

Against this background, President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo said Indonesia needs to perform introspection and create a better climate to attract investment from abroad.

"[Saudi Arabia] invested more in China than with us. This calls for introspection; correction to see why we can't attract more investment than China," Jokowi said after inaugurating the Hasyim Ashari Mosque in Jakarta on Saturday (15/04).

The Jokowi administration was hoping the visit would result in around $25 billion in investment, but this was not realized.

"If we are ready, big investment will come by itself and we will get more than other countries," he said, as reported by state-run Antara news agency.

Before the royal visit, Saudi Arabia has shown scant interest in investing in Indonesia, having only committed $900,000 last year.

Saudi investment between 2010 and 2015 amounted to only $34 million, or 0.02 percent of the total foreign direct investment in that period.

But despite investing far less than expected, the octogenarian king did restore Indonesia's hajj quota to 221,000 after it was cut during the renovation of the Al-Masjid al-Haram mosque in Makkah.

The king's eight-day vacation in Bali also resulted in an estimated $22.4 million windfall for hotels, restaurants, car rental services and shopping centers on the island.
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            [post_content] => Jakarta. President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo has issued a presidential decree on Thursday (13/04) declaring April 19 as a public holiday in the capital to allow residents to vote in the second round of the gubernatorial election.

Incumbent Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama and his running mate, Deputy Governor Djarot Saiful Hidayat, are facing off against former education minister Anies Baswedan and businessman Sandiaga Uno, after neither candidate pair managed to secure more than 50 percent of the vote in the first round on Feb. 15.

 
            [post_title] => President Jokowi Declares April 19 as Public Holiday in Jakarta
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            [post_content] => Jakarta. President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo said national infrastructure development projects should not be postponed any longer to avoid higher costs in the future.

During a cabinet meeting convened to discuss funding for prioritized infrastructure projects, the president said he brought up the issue on several previous occasions – the most recent being at the previous cabinet plenary meeting.

Jokowi expressed hope to see progress in the ongoing projects, especially regarding their funding.

"In 2018, we want all the prioritized national infrastructure programs to be completed. The infrastructure developments can no longer be postponed. If we withdraw, the funding [requirement] will increase," he said at the presidential office in Central Jakarta on Tuesday (11/04).

The president also encouraged ministers to invite the private sector to contribute in large infrastructure projects, such as the building of toll roads, seaports and airports.

"These developments will also help accelerate economic growth," he said.

Jokowi said the government will offer schemes to fund these developments from various sources, such as the state budget, nongovernment budget and private investment.

This will also add to investments from state-owned enterprises, public private partnerships with the government, as well as partnerships between state-owned enterprises and the private sector.

"If none would take the [investment] opportunities, they can be assigned to state-owned enterprises. Our last resort would be from the state, or regional budgets," Jokowi said.

The president also noted that there are still various obstacles related to land procurement, and assigned ministers to find solutions.

"Whatever [issues] related to the funding will be detailed," Jokowi said.

Watch Indonesia Highlights at 8 p.m. tonight on the Jakarta Globe News Channel to find out more about the acceleration of national infrastructure projects.
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            [post_content] => Jakarta. The alumni association of the University of Indonesia, or Iluni UI, has sent a strong message of support for the senior investigator of the nation's antigraft agency after two unknown assailants on a motorcycle threw acid on his face on Tuesday morning (11/04).

Novel Baswedan of the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) suffered serious eye and face injuries due to the incident and is currently being treated at Mitra Keluarga Hospital in North Jakarta.

Novel, a cousin of Jakarta gubernatorial candidate Anies Baswedan, has been leading the KPK investigation on the widely controversial e-KTP graft case, which involves several well known political figures in the country.

Political analysts have claimed that the attack was meant to prevent Novel from concluding the contentious case.

Iluni UI chairman Arief Budhy Hardono and secretary general Andre Rahadian drafted a statement condemning the attack and have urged President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo to provide full support for the KPK in the coming days.

"[We are] asking President Joko Widodo to support the KPK and provide strong backing against any actions aimed to weaken it," the Iluni UI statement said.

"We are also calling on all University of Indonesia alumni to closely monitor the e-KTP graft case [...]. Let us fight against all injustices."

Jokowi has called on National Police chief Gen. Tito Karnavian to find and apprehend the perpetrators behind the attack.

The e-KTP project, a government initiative meant to provide biometric ID cards for all Indonesians aged 17 years and older, was mothballed in October 2015 following a series of problems, including a late start, technical glitches and officials demanding payments from residents to provide the ostensibly free service.
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            [post_date] => 2017-04-12 14:10:24
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