NNA – U.S. President Barack Obama arrived in Malaysia on Friday on the final leg of a series of summits aimed at furthering Washington’s bid to rebalance ties towards Asia and challenge China’s increasingly assertive posture in the region.
Security was unusually tight in the Malaysian capital with police citing unconfirmed reports of an “imminent terrorist threat”, following last week’s attacks in Paris and the downing of a Russian airliner over Egypt by Islamic State militants.
Obama is joining leaders of the 10-member Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) for a weekend summit. Leaders from seven other countries with close partnerships with the grouping – Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, Russia and South Korea – will also attend a series of meetings starting on Saturday.
At least 2,000 army personnel were stationed at strategic points in Kuala Lumpur and another 2,500 were on standby, Armed Forces chief Zulkifeli Mohd Zin said.
Obama and most of the other leaders are arriving from the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Manila, where the U.S. President tried to turn the heat on China over its territorial claims in the disputed South China Sea.
Both the APEC meeting and the ASEAN summit typically focus on economic issues but have been overshadowed by global efforts to combat Islamic State following the attacks in Paris that killed at least 129 people.–Reuters