United States Pacific Fleet Commander Admiral Gary Roughead is expected to visit Malaysia starting from May 17, Malaysia's national news services Bernama said Thursday.
Roughead hoped to discuss matters of mutual interests and maritime security issues with the Royal Malaysian Navy leadership and other leaders in the Malaysian Armed Forces, Bernama said.
Roughead said in an interview with Bernama in Washington that the United States has no desire to have a permanent presence, to patrol or to infringe in any way the sovereignty of the Southeast Asia region.
The United States wanted to know how best it can cooperate in the region, said Roughead who became the chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet in July last year.
The United States continued to have discussions and look at ways to improve the security and the stability of the Asia-Pacific region, particularly in the important area around the Malacca Straits.
On piracy in the Straits, he noted that piracy cases in the waters had dropped significantly since the tsunami hit the region in December 2004.
Countries in the region were also focusing and working hard on the piracy problem, he added.
Earlier, Roughead said in Washington that the U.S. Pacific Fleet was engaged in a series of ongoing exercises with the countries in the region, including CARAT (Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training) from June to August this summer.
He also said that a naval exercise called SEACAT (Southeast Asian Cooperative for Anti-Terrorism) would be held to prepare countries in the region for future challenges and threats.
Roughead also announced the upcoming visit of the US naval hospital ship, "USNS Mercy" on a humanitarian mission to the Philippines, Indonesia, East Timor and Bangladesh for about five months starting from May 25.