The two hawkish senators are meeting with top defense and security policy leaders in Malaysia and Singapore, as well as with U.S. officials in both countries. The visit comes as the Obama administration has announced a “pivot” toward Asia at a time when Chinese economic and military power is becoming a growing concern for other nations in the area.
China's claims to the South China Sea, a vital trade lane and oil and gas deposit, have prompted military buildups in nearby countries, including Malaysia, which has competing claims to the Spratley islands.
Singapore for its part launched a Strategic Partnership Dialogue with the U.S. earlier this year and boasts more military personnel training in the United States than any other country in the region despite its tiny size.
“Had terrific mtg w/ Prime Minister Najib in #Malaysia- an impressive reformer who is improving US-Malaysia relations,” McCain wrote.