US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is likely to raise the issue of Malaysia’s ties with North Korea when he meets Prime Minister Najib Razak during his 15-hour stop in Kuala Lumpur as part of a visit to Southeast Asia.
Tillerson arrives here today and is set to discuss a range of issues, such as the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula, maritime security and counter-terrorism during his tour, the State Department said in a statement.
According to press reports, the US embassy in Manila said its government will push Southeast Asian countries to downgrade diplomatic engagements and exchanges with Pyongyang.
North Korea vowed yesterday to strike the US with “thousands-fold” revenge after the United Nations imposed new sanctions in response to its recent intercontinental ballistic missile launch.
A company named Glocom in Brickfields was identified as the business headquarters of the North Korean intelligence agency. Glocom is accused of running clandestine arms operations, selling battlefield radio equipment in violation of United Nations sanctions.
Malaysia-US relations are also in the spotlight following the US Department of Justice’s civil suits to recover assets bought with funds allagedly stolen from state investor 1Malaysia Development Bhd, which was set up by Najib in 2009.
In the latest suit in June, the DoJ is seeking to seize US$540 million of assets, including jewellery and paintings.
In a statement released by Wisma Putra yesterday, it said:
“The working visit of the Secretary of State is an affirmation of the commitment by the United States under President (Donald) Trump’s administration to further strengthen bilateral ties with Malaysia. The visit will provide the opportunity for both Malaysia and the United States to discuss and exchange views on a wide range of bilateral, regional and international issues of mutual interest.”
THE MALAYSIAN INSIGHT