JAKARTA: Donald Trump’s Indonesian business partner said Friday he was open to helping strengthen ties between the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country and America as tensions rise after the US president’s travel ban.
Indonesia, a traditional US ally, said last weekend it “deeply regrets” the temporary ban on immigrants from seven Muslim countries as it could damage the global fight against terrorism.
Indonesia is not among the countries targeted by Trump’s executive order, which caused mayhem worldwide and was met with legal challenges.
Billionaire Hary Tanoesoedibjo, who is building two Trump Organization luxury resorts in Indonesia, insisted that his relationship with the US leader was focused on business but did not rule out helping to improve ties.
“My relationship with Trump is a business relationship,” Tanoesoedibjo, who attended his inauguration last month, was quoted as saying by website Viva News.
“I do know him and have a connection with him—if needed I will help.”
The tension over the travel ban has cast a shadow over a bilateral relationship that has been largely warm in recent years. Former US president Barack Obama was popular in Indonesia, where he spent part of his childhood.
Tanoesoedibjo is working on a Trump project outside Jakarta and one on the resort island of Bali, with both in the early stages.
The businessman, who heads MNC Group and has interests in sectors ranging from media to property, said recently he wanted to follow in Trump’s footsteps and run for the Indonesian presidency in 2019.
However the prospect of two world leaders who have been business partners has raised fresh concerns about potential conflicts of interest related to Trump’s business empire.
Trump’s executive order suspends entry of all refugees to the US for 120 days, bars Syrian refugees indefinitely and blocks citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen from entry into the US for 90 days. AFP