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Top US diplomat to attend Indonesian inauguration

October 16, 2014

WASHINGTON (AP) — Secretary of State John Kerry will travel to Indonesia for the inauguration Monday of the Southeast Asian nation’s new president.

Joko Widodo, a former furniture exporter who achieved political prominence as governor of the capital, Jakarta, won presidential elections in July.

He defeated a former general with links to the regime of ex-dictator Suharto.

Widodo replaces President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who has served since 2004.

Kerry will head a delegation of senior U.S. officials, including assistant secretary for East Asia, Daniel Russel.

The Obama administration has cultivated a stronger U.S. relationship with Indonesia as part of its effort to “rebalance” American foreign policy toward Asia. President Barack Obama, who lived in Indonesia as a child, visited the country twice during his first term.