Kuala Lumpur - Malaysia and the United States do not see eye to eye on many things but that has not stopped them from renewing a defence pact for another 10 years. The signing of the Access and Cross-Servicing Agreement, a military logistics cooperation pact, was witnessed by Malaysian Defence Minister Najib Abdul Razak and US Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoëllick on May 9.
Mr Zoëllick was in Kuala Lumpur as part of his 10-day Southeast Asian tour.
The pact allows both nations to provide logistical support, supplies and services to each other's armed forces. The agreement is expected to benefit mostly the US military, which has a large presence in the region and often needs local support to function properly.
A US Embassy statement said the agreement, which will expire in 2015, allows for refuelling of US military planes and also support coordination of bilateral and multilateral emergency and relief operations.
Under the pact, either nation may request support from the other, which will be provided on a voluntary basis, with each party making "its best efforts, consistent with national
During his visit, Mr Zoëllick also offered to help ensure security in the pirate-plagued Malacca Strait, said Mr Najib.
Malaysia is agreeable to "cooperation and collaboration" with the United States to tighten security in the strait, but this does not mean that there would be an American military presence in the area, Mr Najib added.
"The US wants to help out without intruding in the area. They do not want to undermine the principles of sovereignty of the area. In what areas and what ways (they can help) is for the US to consider."
* US and Malaysia extend defence pact by 10 years (The Straits Times, May 10)
* Malaysia and US mull strait deal (The Star, May 10)