Obama arrives in Malaysia; 3rd stop on Asia tour

DARLENE SUPERVILLE Associated Press Published:

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) -- President Barack Obama on Saturday opened the first visit by a U.S. president in nearly half a century to Malaysia, the third stop on Obama's weeklong goodwill trip through Asia.

Stepping off his plane and onto a red carpet at an air base near Kuala Lumpur, Obama was met by an honor guard in crisp white uniforms. Malaysia's foreign minister and top envoys to the U.S. were on hand to greet Obama before he boarded his limousine for the drive to Kuala Lumpur's Parliament Square.

During the two-day state visit, Obama will meet with Prime Minister Najib Razak and be honored at a state dinner at the National Palace. He also plans to hold a town hall-style forum with young people.

Obama's long-awaited visit to Malaysia had been scheduled for last fall, but was postponed because of a U.S. government shutdown. His rescheduled visit comes as Malaysia has attracted international attention over the March 8 disappearance of a commercial airliner with 239 people on board.

Officials were preparing to widen the search area in a remote part of the ocean as Obama was arriving in Malaysia. The air base where Air Force One landed has been used as a staging ground for some of the recovery operations for the missing jet.

Lyndon B. Johnson was the last American president to visit Malaysia. That visit was in October 1966.

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