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US, Indonesia pledge closer ties during Obama visit

Photo: Reuters

Indonesia and the United States have pledged closer trade ties, and cooperation in the fight against terror, the presidents of both countries told reporters. As part of his Asia tour, US leader Barack Obama on Tuesday arrived in Indonesia, where he spent four years during his childhood.

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“It’s a wonderful to be here, although I have to tell you that when you visit a place where you spent time in as a child, as the president, it’s a little disorienting,” Obama told journalists.

“Now as president I can’t even see any traffic because they block off all the streets, although my understanding is that Jakarta traffic is very tough.”

Obama spent four years in Jakarta with his mother and Indonesian stepfather nearly four decades ago.

It was during a time when the city was much less populated. It now boasts up to 20 million people.

At a press conference with Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Obama said he had a “great affection for the people” in the country, discussing his half-Indonesian sister and the time his mother spent working there.

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