Trump meets Malaysian delegation to express thanks

PETALING JAYA: United States President Donald Trump met up with officials from Malaysia to thank them for their search and rescue efforts for its missing sailors after its warship the USS John S McCain collided with a merchant vessel.

“Trump expressed the United States’ gratitude for Malaysia’s efforts to recover the fallen US sailors of the USS John S. McCain,” the United States embassy in Malaysia said in a statement on Friday.

In the photograph released by the US embassy, National Security Council director general General Zulkifeli Muhammad Zin and Malaysia US ambassador Zulhasnan Rafique can be seen flanking Trump at the Oval office at the White House.

“Trump also mentioned that he looks forward to welcoming Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak to the White House in September,” it said.

Trump has invited Najib for talks at the White House on Sept 12.

Malaysia was part of an international search and rescue operation for 10 American sailors who were missing after the USS John S. McCain collided with a Liberian-registered MV Alnic MC.

The Royal Malaysian Navy deployed six vessels the KD Handalan, KD Gempita, KD Lekiu, Super Lynx, a B101 boat as well as the KD Duyong and a diving team.

It also deployed two helicopters from the Royal Malaysia Air Force and Royal Malaysian Army.

The SAR crew initially found a body and had handed it over to the US Navy, however, the Navy confirmed on Thursday that it was not one of its sailors.

However, the Navy has identified another body of a missing sailor as Electronics Technician 3rd Class Kenneth Aaron Smith, 22, from New Jersey.

The US Navy has currently suspended wider search efforts for its missing sailors after more than 80 hours of efforts but continues search and recovery inside its warship.

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