WASHINGTON DC – Talks between President Donald Trump and Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak have gotten underway at the White House in a meeting that is set to open a new page following 60 years of bilateral relations between the United States (US) and one of its strategic partners in Southeast Asia.
The Malaysian leader was warmly welcomed by Trump on arrival for their one-on-one meeting at the White House on Pennsylvania Avenue in what is Najib’s first visit to the official workplace and residence of the US President.
The discussion with Trump was the highlight of Najib’s 11 – 13 September working visit to the US at the invitation of the 45th US President who took office on 20 January this year.
The programme at the White House included an expanded delegation meeting involving members and advisers of the Trump administration as well as Malaysian ministers and senior government officials.
Both leaders are expected to issue a joint statement at the conclusion of the White House meetings as Kuala Lumpur and Washington celebrated six decades of bilateral ties this year.
Listed as participants of the delegation meeting on the US side are Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Defence Secretary James Mattis, Chief of Staff General John Kelly, National Security Adviser Lt Gen H.R. McMaster and Senior Adviser Jared Kushner.
Observers have noted that the line-up reflected the significance accorded by Washington under the Trump administration to the meeting in terms of opening a new chapter in its ties with Malaysia, a multicultural and multi-religious nation of some 30 million people in vibrant Southeast Asia.
The Malaysian delegation comprised of Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman, International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed, Ambassador to the US Tan Sri Zulhasnan Rafique, Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Dr Ali Hamsa and National Security Council Director-General Gen (R) Tan Sri Zulkifeli Mohd Zin. -Bernama