U.S. Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson traveled to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia for his first official visit this week, to discuss strengthening cooperation on a range of issues. This visit also marks the 60th year of U.S.- Malaysia bilateral relations.
The United States established diplomatic relations with Malaysia in 1957, following its independence from the United Kingdom, but has had a consular or commercial presence in the area comprising modern day Malaysia since the 1800’s. Today, Malaysia is a significant regional and global partner for the United States, and the two countries share a diverse and expanding partnership in trade, investment, security, environmental cooperation, and educational and cultural relations.
During his visit, Secretary Tillerson met with Malaysia Prime Minister Dato' Sri Mohd Najib Tun Haji Abdul Razak and Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Zahid Hamidi at the Parliament building in Kuala Lumpur. Later thanking the staff at U.S. Embassy Kuala Lumpur, Secretary Tillerson said of U.S.-Malaysia relations, “It’s a really important relationship to the U.S. both from the standpoint of regional security issues, strong mil-to-mil relationships, but obviously very important and significant economic relationships – a lot of U.S. direct investment in this country, a long history of U.S. direct investment in this country, and a large U.S. American population that makes their home here.”
Secretary Tillerson then departed Kuala Lumpur en route to Guam following recent statements by the United States and Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK, also known as North Korea. In a statement made to the press while traveling to Guam, Secretary Tillerson said, “We had a unanimous UN Security Council resolution strengthening sanctions against North Korea with China and Russia joining us in that vote, and then at ASEAN, a lot of strong statements coming out of ASEAN, and I think also reinforced with a global community that has expressed its view that North Korea really needs to stand down this program.”
Secretary Tillerson’s travel reaffirms the Administration’s commitment to further broaden and enhance U.S. economic and security interests in the Asia-Pacific region.
Editor’s Note: This entry is also published on Medium.com/StateDept.