Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob with US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi during a luncheon hosted in her honour at a hotel in Kuala Lumpur today. (Bernama pic)
KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia and the US value their long-standing bilateral ties and will continue working together on economic prosperity and security.
Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said this during a luncheon hosted in honour of US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi at a hotel here today.
Pelosi and her congressional delegation arrived in Malaysia early today as part of her official visit to four Asian countries.
Ismail, in his welcoming remarks, said both sides enjoyed good relations in all fields, including economy, investment, health and defence.
The prime minister said the partnership was further strengthened and went a notch higher through the recently concluded Asean-US Special Summit held in Washington DC from May 12 to 13, which also brought Asean closer to the US.
The partnership was also strengthened through the vaccine diplomacy cooperation where the US had donated one million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccines to Malaysia to help the country fight against the pandemic.
In the defence sector, the US has extended a lot of assistance so far, including a grant worth US$200 million (RM890 million), Ismail said.
“Like we all know, Malaysia and the US enjoy good relations and remain important partners in all fields.
“In economy, the US is the biggest investor in the country,” he said.
Also present were defence minister Hishammuddin Hussein and foreign minister Saifuddin Abdullah.
The prime minister thanked Pelosi and her delegation for making their maiden visit to Malaysia in an effort to boost bilateral ties between both nations.
Meanwhile, Pelosi said she and her high-powered delegation were willing to learn more from Malaysia and collaborate closely in terms of security and economic prosperity.
“Malaysia is very important. We’ve had over 60 years of relationship between the US and Malaysia. We value that relationship.”
Kuala Lumpur is Pelosi’s second stop after Singapore on Monday before she heads to South Korea and Japan with her tour being closely watched to see if Taiwan is also on her itinerary.
The Chinese foreign ministry had said that should Pelosi decide to visit Taiwan, Beijing would take decisive measures to protect its sovereignty and territorial integrity, and the US would be fully responsible for all the consequences resulting from the visit.
As part of her itinerary here, she also paid a courtesy call on Dewan Rakyat Speaker Azhar Harun at Parliament.
The US established diplomatic ties with Malaysia in 1957 following then Malaya’s independence from Britain.
The US is currently Malaysia’s third largest global trade partner and export destination, while Malaysia is the US’ 17th largest trade partner.
Despite the economic uncertainties following the outbreak of Covid-19, total trade between the two countries increased by 21.4% year-on-year to RM217.10 billion in 2021.