WASHINGTON -- Pentagon Press Secretary Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder provided the following readout:
Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III spoke by phone Feb. 23 with Malaysian Minister of Defense Mohamad Hasan. Secretary Austin congratulated Minister Mohamad on his recent appointment and the two leaders discussed regional security issues, as well as opportunities to expand and strengthen the U.S.-Malaysia defense relationship.
Secretary Austin and Minister Mohamad exchanged views on the security environment in the Indo-Pacific, to include the South China Sea, and stressed the need for a rules-based approach to security challenges. Both leaders underscored their mutual commitment to working together to maintain a stable status quo in the Indo-Pacific.
Secretary Austin and Minister Mohamad noted several significant recent milestones in the U.S.-Malaysia defense relationship, including the completion of a Defense/POW-MIA agreement in August. Secretary Austin reaffirmed the United States' commitment to expand cooperation with Malaysia, including in the air and maritime domain.
Finally, Secretary Austin and Minister Mohamad closed the call noting that they look forward to meeting in person at the Shangri-La Dialogue later this year.