WASHINGTON DC, Sept 13 – Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has described his discussions with President Donald Trump at the White House on Tuesday afternoon as a “positive and friendly meeting”.
Both leaders were jovial and seen shaking hands several times, while grabbing each other’s forearms as they were walking in and out of the West Wing meeting room.
“The last time we met (was), some years ago, we teamed up to play golf. That was a successful meeting for us as our team won.
“And our discussions this afternoon were very much about how our two great nations can continue winning by working closely together,” Najib said at a dinner hosted by the US-ASEAN Business Council and US Chamber of Commerce at the St Regis hotel here.
Najib arrived at the White House at 11.45am and was greeted by President Trump at the entrance of the West Wing building.
Najib and Trump held bilateral talks with their respective senior top ministers and advisors before both leaders had a four-eyed meeting at the Oval Office.
Najib’s visit to the White House, which lasted over an hour, was at the invitation of President Trump.
An official who was at the White House said, after the meeting, Trump accompanied Najib to the door to send him off, instead of them departing at the main floor where the president would normally send-off visiting leaders.
“Trump was reminded by one of his officers of this, but he (president) told him that he will accompany PM Najib downstairs to depart. Trump said ‘he (PM) is my friend’,” according to the official.
At the dinner, the Prime Minister said last year’s trade between Malaysia and the US amounted to nearly US$33 billion.
“We need to regain that level of interaction as there are huge opportunities for our two countries to explore, and great benefits to come from closer trade and investment ties,” he said.
Najib said that last year alone, American companies brought in RM5 billion, or more than US$1 billion, of foreign direct investment (FDI) into Malaysia.
The US is the fifth largest foreign investor in Malaysia, with a total of RM36 billion, or US$8.5 billion, worth of FDI stock.
Present were US-ASEAN Business Council president and chief executive officer Alexander Feldman, senior vice-president for Asia at the US Chamber of Commerce Tami Overby and US Ambassador to Malaysia Kamala Shirin Lakhdhir.