Malaysia, US will cooperate to counter IS threat

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Malaysia and the United States intend to strengthen cooperation to counter the growing threat of terror group Islamic State (IS) in Southeast Asia.

This was among the highlights of the joint statement issued following talks between Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak and US President Donald Trump at the White House on Tuesday.

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 IS 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 IS,” the statement said.

Pledging to strengthen bilateral defence ties, the two leaders underscored the importance of expanding cooperation in priority areas, including maritime security, counterterrorism 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 are 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 the requirements of 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 UN 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



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