Obama arrives in Indonesia to fanfare, but Mount Merapi ash will cut visit short
President Obama's visit to Indonesia, the world’s fourth-largest democracy and the country with more Muslims than any other, is expected to cover a broader range of issues than his trip to India.
The president Indonesians know best as "Little Barry" from the neighborhood of Menteng, has bumped up his departure by several hours amid fears that ash from an erupting volcano could disturb air travel. Dozens of international flights were canceled over the weekend after Mount Merapi, a volcano around 500 miles to the east of Jakarta, sent up its biggest blast in nearly a century.
Mr. Obama arrived in Jakarta after spending three days in India, where he focused on deepening economic ties through US investment, pledged better cooperation on fighting terrorism, and threw his support behind adding India as a permanent member of the UN Security Council.
Similar themes will factor into his visit to Indonesia, the world’s fourth-largest democracy and the country with more Muslims than any other. But analysts here say his trip will cover a broader range of issues, including education and climate change.
Setting the stage
Obama’s 10-day state visit to Asia is largely aimed at opening the region’s fast-growing financial markets to US goods and improving bilateral ties that will allow it to balance against China’s expanding regional ambitions.
In the past year, the United States has drafted a number of cooperation agreements with Indonesia, including a comprehensive partnership focused on boosting US support for good governance and education, improved security, peacekeeping initiatives, and economic development.
Those agreements set the stage for Obama’s brief visit, which analysts say will be mostly symbolic. Though they also say it will reinforce investment deals and political cooperation that has been happening since Obama took office.