VP Pence: U.S. Will Not Relent in Effort to End Terrorism

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence delivers a speech as Indonesian Vice President Muhammad Jusuf Kalla listens at a business forum in Jakarta, Indonesia, Friday. (Reuters/Darren Whiteside)

JAKARTA (Reuters) - U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said on Friday an attack in central Paris is the latest reminder terrorism can strike anywhere at any time, 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 at a roundtable with businessmen in Jakarta, where he was ending a two-day visit to Southeast Asia’s largest economy.

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.

President François Hollande said he was convinced the “cowardly killing” on the Champs-Élysées Boulevard, in which the assailant was himself shot dead by police, was an act of terrorism.

Indonesia, the world’s largest Moslem-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.

VP Pence said Washington would continue working with Indonesia to combat terrorism. On Thursday, the vice president toured the Grand 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 the courts.

VP Pence on Thursday announced that President Trump would visit Southeast Asia in November for an annual series of regional summits, which this year will take place in Vietnam and the Philippines.