U.S. President Barack Obama has held talks with Malaysia's prime minister on the third leg of a four-nation tour of Asia - the first trip to the Southeast Asian nation by a sitting U.S. president in nearly five decades.
At a joint news conference Sunday, Prime Minister Najib Razak expressed his gratitude for American help in the search for missing Malaysia Airline flight 370. Mr. Obama pledged to continue providing all the assistance possible in the search for the plane, which has been missing for seven weeks.
The two leaders said they had agreed to upgrade upper-level ties to a "comprehensive partnership," and to cooperate on the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact and the nuclear Proliferation Security Initiative, both of which Malaysia has opposed in the past.
When questioned about Malaysia's human rights record, Mr. Obama said the country had made progress on human rights, but still has some work to do. He added that the U.S. does as well.
President Obama arrives Monday in the Philippines where officials of the two countries will sign a new 10-year security pact that will allow for a larger U.S. security presence.
The agreement sets up a framework for the rotation of U.S. troops and equipment, such as ships and fighter jets, into Philippine military bases.
Mr. Obama's two-day trip to Manila is the final stop in his Asia tour, which also included Japan and South Korea.
This is Mr. Obama's fifth visit to Asia since taking office in 2009. He has promised to make the Pacific region a greater economic, diplomatic and military priority for the United States.