KUALA LUMPUR— US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson kicked off a two-day working visit to Malaysia today, with a meeting with Malaysia’s Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak in Malaysia’s capital, signalling an affirmation of the commitment by the United States of America under President Donald Trump’s administration to strengthen bilateral ties.
Tillerson is the first senior official of the Trump administration to visit Malaysia.
Immediately after landing at an airbase in the outskirt of Malaysia’s capital, Tillerson headed to Parliament for his scheduled meeting with Najib.
This is Tillerson’s inaugural visit to Malaysia since his appointment as the Secretary of State on Feb 1.
“The visit will provide the opportunity for both Malaysia and the United States of America to discuss and exchange views on a wide range of bilateral, regional and international issues of mutual interest,” Malaysia’s Foreign Ministry, also known as Wisma Putra, said in a statement Monday.
Malaysia and the United States enjoy excellent relations with substantial collaboration and cooperation in many areas.
For the period of January to May 2017, total bilateral trade grew 23.3 per cent to RM68.2 billion (US$15.4 billion) compared to RM55.3 billion (US$13.5 billion) during the corresponding period in 2016.
Tillerson will call on Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi on Wednesday.
Tillerson has been in this region since Aug 5. He travelled to Manila to take part in several regional meetings, including the Asean Regional Forum and the US-Asean Ministerial Meeting. He was in Thailand prior to his visit to Malaysia.
RELATED STORIES: TO ALLAY CONCERNS OF BIAS & 1MDB FAVORS, U.S. SECRETARY TILLERSON SHOULD ALSO MEET DR MAHATHIR: NAJIB REGIME RUSHES TO DENY 1MDB AGENDA, SAYS TRUMP MAN TO FOCUS ON PYONGYANG-PUTRAJAYA TIES