By Dr Patrick Cronin, Senior Advisor and Senior Director, Asia-Pacific Security Program, Centre for a New American Security (CNAS), Washington, DC

Date: 9 September 2014
Venue: ISIS Conference Room, Kuala Lumpur

The United States is seeking to deepen its engagement with Southeast Asia in general and Malaysia in particular. Building on President Barack Obama’s successful visit to Malaysia in April, the United States needs to further expand its security cooperation with Malaysia to deal with a range of challenges from countering coercion in the South China Sea to containing the spread of transnational terrorism. But Washington’s policy of “rebalancing” to the Asia-Pacific is also predicated on enhanced diplomacy and trade, and not just security cooperation. Increasingly, rising middle powers like Malaysia must play a larger role in ensuring the future prosperity and stability of the region. Bringing Malaysia into the Trans-Pacific Partnership would represent a crucial step both bilateral relations and the future trading rules within the wider region. So, too, would a successful role as chair of the ASEAN process in 2015.

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