Condoleezza Rice has praised Indonesian reforms on her first diplomatic trip to that country since being named Secretary of State last year.
Rice told reporters on Monday Indonesia had taken "giant strides" over the last few years, citing democratic elections, the settlement of separatist crises in East Timor and Aceh, and cooperation with the U.S. on terrorism and avian flu.
Rice defended the Bush administration's decision to restore military relations with Indonesia last year, saying the best way for the U.S. to influence political reform there is by engaging the country's military leaders.
Rice is scheduled to meet with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and other officials while in Indonesia to discuss regional matters and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. She said she hopes that Indonesia -- the world's most populous Muslim country -- can use its influence with Palestine's new Hamas-led government.
She was criticized in the region for postponing a journey to Indonesia in January when Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon suffered a massive stroke.
She heads to Australia later this week for discussions with her Australian and Japanese counterparts.