WASHINGTON • United States Vice-President Mike Pence will travel to South Korea, Japan, Indonesia, Australia and Hawaii this month, using his first official trip to the Asia-Pacific region to discuss economic policies and underscore US commitment to its allies, the White House said.
His swing through the other side of the globe comes amid concerns the Trump administration is rolling back former president Barack Obama's "pivot to Asia".
Mr Trump has already withdrawn from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement, which was seen as an economic pillar of the strategy
Mr Pence will be accompanied on the April 15-25 trip by his wife and two daughters, the White House said in a statement yesterday.
He will arrive in Seoul on April 16 before travelling to Tokyo on April 18, to Jakarta on April 20, Sydney on April 22 and Honolulu on April 24.
Proponents of the TPP have expressed concerns that abandoning the pact, which took years to negotiate, could further strengthen China's economic hand in the region at the expense of the US.
In Indonesia, Mr Pence is expected to discuss a brewing contract dispute between the government and American mining giant Freeport McMoran Inc, said two Indonesian government sources.
Freeport has threatened to take the Indonesian government to court over newly revised mining regulations that have prompted a major scale-back in its operations in the eastern province of Papua.