Tue09192017

LAST_UPDATEWed, 20 Sep 2017 8am

[Video] Trump Gives Najib VIP Welcome, Tweets That 'Its A Great Honor'

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The warm welcome, friendly conversation and camaderie says it all.

US President Donald Trump was clearly pleased to meet Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and his familiar gestures expressed his intention to accord our prime minister the warmest welcome the Oval Office could offer.

"I just want to say it is an honour to have you here..It is an honour to have your delegation with us," Trump openly stated even before the bilateral meeting got underway.

Trump repeated this once again when both leaders sat down for a bilateral meeting along with their respective delegations.

"But I just want to say, it’s an honor to have you here," Trump interjected his formal address to personally address Najib. This was followed by another round of warm praises when the US President took to his famous Twitter handle @realDonald Trump to once again express his pleasure.

He definitely wanted to get the message out that PM Najib was an honoured guest. Compare this to the earlier visit by Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong whom Trump briefly mistook for Indonesian President Jokowi Widodo much to the amusement of the world media watching. This was followed by an equally brief joint statement issued by the White House which did not go beyond diplomatic pleasantries.

However, the joint statement by Najib and Trump displayed true statesmanship on both sides recognising the strengths that they can each draw on to strengthen bilateral ties in a meaningful way to benefit their people.

The VIP treatment accorded by Trump to Najib did not go unnoticed with mainstream US media criticising the US President for going to uneccesary lengths for a leader linked to a corruption scandal. 

Similarly local Opposition leaders have been on overdrive in pointing out the entire trip was an unecessary expenditure and an ego trip to burnish the prime minister's image at home. PKR's Nurul Izzah tweeted 'The most expensive handshake , aye" in response to the event.

Despite the unfounded criticism, the former business impresario recognised the importance of Malaysian-US ties which Najib helped strengthened. Trump[ highlighted during the bilaterial meeting the financial benefits of Malaysian-US ties and the strategic  role Malaysia plays in regional counterpoint to North Korea as well as US influence in Southeast Asia in the face of growing China investments dominating the region.

"Malaysia is a massive investor in terms of stocks and bonds and exchange...they (Malaysian investors) have to be very happy as we are hitting new highs almost on a weekly basis.

"The prime minister has a major role in not allowing ISIS or Daesh as you call it and others to exist.

"He has been very very strong on terrorism in Malaysia and a great supporter on that standpoint..and that is very important to the United States.

"He does not do business with North Korea any longer, and we find that to be very important."

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Media reports of the conclusion of the first bilateral meeting also reflected Trump's earnest display of warmth as he reportedly broke convention when he accompanied Najib  all the way to the door when leaving the White House.

Observers point out that Trump normally bid farewell to official guests at the main floor itself.

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Officials said Trump, who normally saw off guests at the main floor, remarked that Najib was "a friend", NST reports.

Both leaders are expected to issue a joint statement at the conclusion of the White House meetings as Kuala Lumpur and Washington celebrated six decades of bilateral ties this year, Bernama reports.

Malaysian delegation comprised of Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman, International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed, Ambassador to the US Tan Sri Zulhasnan Rafique, Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Dr Ali Hamsa and National Security Council director-general Gen (R) Tan Sri Zulkifeli Mohd Zin.

 - mD