KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's commitment to peace and moderation is admirable, according to a senior US State Department official.
Todd Chapman, principal deputy assistant secretary of the Political-Military Affairs Bureau under the State Department, praised the country's principles of moderation, economic growth and respect for people.
Speaking to The Star during a short visit here, Chapman said the security partnership between Malaysia and the US was maturing.
"We are pleased to see how Malaysia has a lasting commitment to the importance of international peacekeeping around the world," he said, adding that the collaboration and mutually beneficial training exercises between both nations helped build an understanding of the other's capabilities.
"Each year, 30 senior officers from the Malaysian Armed Forces head to the US to study. We also have a range of exercises to build understanding and have seen a ramping up of this kind of training in the last 18 months," he said.
The US-Malaysia security partnership, Chapman said, was on an upward trend.
Chapman, who was here to meet officials from the Foreign and Defence ministries last week, said the US was enthusiastic about opportunities to grow its security partnership with Malaysia.
On talks that the US authorities knew the whereabouts of the missing Flight MH370, he dismissed this as "lies from detractors".
"We have responded in a robust way to provide assistance, including sending naval forces to help with the search.
"Throughout these tragedies, we have shown that the US is a dependable and reliable partner in times of need.
"Conspiracy theories abound about a lot of things. In this case, they are not founded in truth," he said, adding that it was regrettable that people sought to advance such theories.
There have been many theories linking the United States to MH370, including that the plane had landed in the US naval base in Diego Garcia.