President Trump on Tuesday welcomed Malaysian Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib Tun Abdul Razak to the White House, to discuss trade deals and shared security challenges in the Asia Pacific region.
“We’re talking about trade, very large trade deals,” Trump told reporters before the beginning of a meeting between his and Najib’s top advisers in the Cabinet Room.
Trump said the two sides are working on a deal for between $10 billion and $20 billion in Boeing jets to be purchased by Malaysia, along with General Electric engines.
“Within five years this deal will be worth beyond $10 billion,” Najib said, adding he will Malaysian companies to purchase GE engines and push Malaysian pension funds to invest more in the U.S.
Trump also called Malaysia a big investor in U.S. stock and bond markets, adding, “They have to be very happy because we’re hitting new highs, almost on a weekly basis. So we’re very proud of our stock market, what’s happening since I became president.”
“I want to thank you very much for all of the investment you’ve made in the United States,” he said.
Reuters reported Tuesday that Malaysia Airlines would announce a deal to buy eight widebody Boeing 787 jets during Najib’s visit, a deal worth more than $1.8 billion. Malaysian papers reported that Najib’s schedule included the witnessing of a memorandum of understanding ceremony between the two companies.
The meeting included, on the U.S. side, Vice President Michael Pence, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Chief of Staff John Kelly, National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, adviser Jared Kushner, deputy National Security Adviser Dina Powell, Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan, and National Security Council Asia Director Matt Pottinger.
Najib brought with him the minister of foreign affairs, minister of international trade and industry, chief secretary, secretary-general of the ministry of foreign affairs, director general of the national security council, and other aides on the three day trip.
Trump also spoke to Najib about shared security challenges, such as the threat from ISIS and North Korea.
Trump praised Najib’s “major role in not letting ISIS – or as you say Daesh – and others to exist and he’s been very very strong on terrorism in Malaysia and a great supporter from that standpoint.”
“That’s a very important thing for the United States,” he added.
“We are committed to fight Daesh, IS, Al Qaeda, Abu Sayyaf – you name it, they are the enemy of the United States, they are also the enemy of Malaysia,” Najib said.
“We will do our part to make sure our part of the world is safe. We will also contribute in terms of the ideological warfare because you need to win the hearts and minds. The key is to support moderate and progressive Muslim regimes and governments around the world, because that is the true face of Islam. That is the authentic face of Islam,” he added.
On North Korea, Trump also said Malaysia “does not do business any longer with North Korea, and we find that to be very important.”
Trump praised a 15-0 vote in the United Nations Security Council condemning North Korea’s recent nuclear test, but said, “We think it’s just another small step, not a big deal, it was nice to get a 15-0 vote.”
“Sanctions are nothing compared to what ultimately will have to happen,” he added.
According to a White House statement on Monday, Trump was also to speak with Najib about maritime security in the South China Sea, where China has grown increasingly aggressive in claiming territory. However, Trump did not mention the issue to reporters.
The visit marks the first visit by a Malaysian leader to the White House since 2004. Najib has previously met with former President Obama on three occasions, but had not visited the White House since becoming prime minister in 2009.
Najib is planning to speak at the Washington think-tank Center for Strategic and International Studies on Wednesday, and to meet with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.