Malaysia is a strong and steady partner of the United States, said U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.
At a joint news conference in Washington, D.C., with Malaysia's Foreign Minister Y.B. Anifah bin Haji Aman, Secretary Clinton said, "the role that Malaysia is playing and can play, regionally and even globally, on a number of important issues is significant, and therefore we want to broaden and deepen our strategic cooperation."
Secretary Clinton praised Malaysia's efforts to combat piracy, noting that Malaysian naval vessels have been very effective in the Gulf of Aden. The U.S, she said, is very pleased that Malaysia will soon be hosting an international meeting on piracy and will attend the Contact Group for Piracy off the Coast of Somalia meeting in New York.
"We look forward to Malaysia's membership in this important body and to benefiting from their advice and counsel," said Secretary Clinton.
Malaysia is the United State's 16th largest trading partner and the United States is Malaysia's largest. Secretary Clinton noted that the U.S. "appreciates this strong trade and economic relationship, which has created tens of thousands of jobs in Malaysia and the United States, and we look forward to closer cooperation."
Secretary Clinton and Foreign Minister Anifah discussed a number of other common concerns of the U.S. and Malaysia, including the global economic recession, human trafficking, and the humane treatment of refugees and stateless persons. Secretary Clinton pointed to the long history of people-to-people ties and reaffirmed America's desire to strengthen these ties.
Foreign Minister Anifah and Secretary of State Clinton expressed concern over the Burmese Government's decision to charge Aung San Suu Kyi with violating the terms of her house arrest. Secretary Clinton said the U.S. "opposes the Burmese regime's efforts to use this incident as a pretext to place further unjustified restrictions on her," and called on Burmese authorities to release her immediately and unconditionally, along with her doctor and the more than 2,100 political prisoners currently being held in Burma.
Secretary of State Clinton reiterated to Foreign Minister Anifah "that the United States is solidly committed under the Obama Administration to strengthening our relationship with Southeast Asia."