Obama courts Malaysia while nudging on rights
Published on Apr 27, 2014 4:42 PM
KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) - President Barack Obama nudged Malaysia on Sunday over its controversial handling of dissent but made clear Washington intended to deepen its friendship with a country it considers vital to US objectives in the Asia-Pacific.
Mr Obama also offered continued US support in the search for missing flight MH370 as he held talks with Prime Minister Najib Razak, after which the two leaders declared the start of a warmer new era in relations.
"Today across a whole range of areas - security, trade, and regional institutions - we are working more closely than ever before," Mr Obama said during a joint press conference, calling Malaysia "central" to stability in South-east Asia.
During a trip that started in Japan and South Korea and finishes in the Philippines on Tuesday, Mr Obama has reinforced US security support for regional allies alarmed by China's claims to vast maritime expanses around the region.
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