Malaysia, US vow to boost cooperation to fight IS threat in SE Asia

 |Sep 14, 2017
Donald Trump hosted the Malaysian prime minister at the White House to strengthen the Comprehensive Partnership between the two countries.

WASHINGTON: Malaysia and the United States intend to strengthen cooperation to counter the growing threat of terror group ISIS or Daesh, in Southeast Asia.

This was among the highlights of the joint statement issued following talks between Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and US President Donald Trump at the White House here yesterday.

It said both leaders reaffirmed the importance of promoting community resilience and mutual respect across religious and ethnic boundaries.

“As a partner in the fight against ISIS and a member of the Global Coalition led by the United States, the two leaders noted Malaysia’s pledge of US$1 million for humanitarian assistance in areas liberated from ISIS,” the statement said.

Pledging to strengthen bilateral defense ties, the two leaders underscored the importance of expanding cooperation in priority areas, including maritime security, counter-terrorism and information sharing between their defence and security forces.

“President Trump welcomed Malaysia’s intent to make an additional US$60 million in defence procurement from the United States,” the statement said.

Trump and Najib, it said, committed to pursue additional opportunities for joint exercises and training, according to the statement.

The leaders also underscored the importance of enhancing maritime domain awareness through the development of maritime capabilities such as surveillance, communications and information-sharing.

“(They) expressed their intent to continue discussions on funding of assets through the most effective mechanisms for developing these capabilities in order to advance regional security,” it said.

Najib was in town for a three-day working visit from Sept 11 at the invitation of the US president as both countries marked the 60th anniversary of bilateral relations this year.

Trump hosted the Malaysian prime minister at the White House to strengthen the Comprehensive Partnership between the two countries.

The two leaders discussed their commitment to further strengthening the Comprehensive Partnership to promote peace, stability, prosperity, and international consensus in the Asia-Pacific region and around the world.

The statement noted that the US and Malaysia shared a long history of close cooperation built on economic ties and mutual security interests.

“The two leaders pledged to continue building upon that relationship through enhanced diplomatic, economic, security, and people-to-people ties,” it said.

The document said the US recognised Malaysia’s continued progress towards meeting programme requirements for the US Visa Waiver Programme.

“Prime Minister Najib announced Malaysia’s commitment to implement its data sharing agreements with the United States and to phased enhancements of passenger screening at all points of entry,” it said, adding that the US committed to actively work with Malaysia towards this end.

On the subject of North Korea, they expressed their concern over the country’s nuclear and ballistic missile tests, which are a flagrant violation of the multiple United Nations Security Council resolutions.

On Asean, they affirmed their support for common efforts to develop a rules-based Asean Community, and to maintaining the centrality of the 10-member grouping of Southeast Asian nations in the evolving regional architecture. – Bernama