WASHINGTON, June 4, 2017 —
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis had an introductory meeting in Singapore today with Malaysian Defense Minister Hishammuddin Tun Hussein on the sidelines of the Shangri-La Dialogue Asia security summit to discuss security challenges and the strong bilateral defense cooperation between the United States and Malaysia, a spokesman for Mattis said in a statement.
Navy Cmdr. Gary Ross said the two defense leaders exchanged views on regional security challenges and emphasized the need for continued unity in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to address shared security challenges facing the region.
"They discussed the need to increase counterterrorism cooperation in order to stem the threat posed by groups like [the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria], both in the region and globally," Ross said. "They also highlighted the need for regional maritime security cooperation."
Mattis relayed his appreciation for the broad range of U.S.-Malaysia security cooperation and encouraged Malaysia's valued contributions to regional security, the secretary's spokesman said. "They emphasized continued cooperation and exercises to address common security challenges," he added.
The secretary left Singapore today and has arrived in Sydney, where he will participate in a U.S.-Australian ministerial conference.