Secretary of Defense Ash Carter has met with Malaysian Minister of Defense Datuk Seri Hishammuddin in Singapore. The two met on the sidelines of the Shangri-La Dialogue, a major annual forum for key leaders in the Asia-Pacific region to discuss security challenges and opportunities.
Secretary Carter congratulated Malaysia on its successful chairmanship of ASEAN, pointing to a host of recent ASEAN initiatives which have successfully bolstered regional security, including cooperation in humanitarian and disaster relief, peacekeeping, anti-piracy, and counterterrorism.
Secretary Carter and Minister Hishammuddin discussed a wide range of options for enhanced bilateral defense partnership, including expanded maritime cooperation, rotational presence options, and counter-ISIL cooperation. Secretary Carter went on to convey the Department’s steadfast support for Malaysian capacity building efforts.
The two leaders also shared their concerns regarding aggressive Chinese land reclamation in the South China Sea. They agreed that all regional tensions should be resolved in accordance with international law.
Secretary Carter expressed gratitude to Minister Hishammuddin for advocating for an increase in cooperative maritime patrol flights. He also thanked Minister Hishammuddin for coordinating new U.S. Marine Corps rotational training opportunities in Malaysia, and especially at the Kota Belud training range. The secretary reflected on the success of the previous Marine training, and expressed hopes that the U.S. and Malaysia could build on this success with more complex exercises in the coming year.