KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Trade, defense and maritime security are among the issues President Barack Obama will discuss with Malaysia's leader this weekend.

Prime Minister Najib Razak, leads a southeast Asian nation with an important role in U.S. efforts to forge deeper relations with Asia.

Obama arrived in Malaysia today and headed off to an audience with the royal family and a state dinner.

During the two-day visit, which follows stops in Japan and South Korea, Obama will also meet with citizen leaders and hold a town hall-style forum with young leaders from across the region.

Ben Rhodes, Obama's deputy national security adviser, said relations between the U.S. and Malaysia have blossomed in recent years and that the country has become a "pivotal state" in the Obama administration's push to strengthen ties throughout the fast-growing and strategically important region.