President Barack Obama landed in Malaysia on the latest stop in his four-country tour of Asia Saturday, where he reportedly expressed solidarity with the country over the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines jet.
“[Obama] said he knows it is a tough, long, road ahead. We’ll work together. There is always support,” Malaysian Transport Minister Hishammuddin said, AFP reports. Obama landed seven weeks to the day since Flight 370 vanished while en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. Despite a massive search operation involving several countries, there is still no sign of the downed jet.
Obama was due to discuss the search for the plane with Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, CNN reports, as one of various issues to be discussed on the first visit of a sitting U.S. president to the country in nearly 50 years. Trade agreements, defense and maritime security were also on the agenda, according to Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes.
The president’s tour of Asia, which ends in the Philippines on Tuesday, is intended to speed up stalled negotiations on a regional trade agreement and reinforce support for U.S. allies amid China’s assertive claims to territories in the South China Sea.
While visiting American troops stationed in South Korea on Saturday, Obama called neighboring North Korea a “pariah state that would rather starve its people than feed their hopes and dreams.”