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Malaysian PM to fly to Perth to observe MH370 search operations

English.news.cn   2014-03-31 19:21:17

KUALA LUMPUR, March 31 (Xinhua) -- Malaysian Premier Najib Razak will fly to Australia this week as resources from seven countries led by Australia continue to search for the missing flight, an official said here on Monday.

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak will travel to Perth on Wednesday to observe search operations firsthand and also to thank the personnel involved in the multinational search effort, including the Malaysian personnel, Malaysia's Acting Transportation Minister Hishamuddin Hussein told reporters.

Militaries of Malaysia, Australia, the United States, New Zealand, China, Japan and South Korea are all working to find the missing plane, said Hishamuddin.

Indonesia has also given permission for 94 sorties - by aircraft from nine different countries - to fly in their airspace, as part of this search.

An Indonesian delegation led by Special Envoy and Special Advisor to the Foreign Minister Wiwiek Setyawati Firman met with Hishamuddin, where support was expressed to the Malaysian government regarding the ongoing search operations for MH370.

Indonesia is one of 14 countries who had passengers on the Malaysian airlines flight that went missing on March 8.

A Joint Agency Co-ordination Center (JACC), which will be based out of Pearce Air force base in Perth is also being established by the Australian government.

"As per the information that we have received from the Australian authorities, the area of search today is 254,000 square kilometers. Nine military aircraft and one civilian aircraft travelled to the search area. Eleven ships, including eight from China, were also engaged in the operation," Hishamuddin said.

Australian ship Ocean Shield, fitted with the towed black box locator and a Bluefin 21 autonomous underwater vehicle, is due to arrive in the search area on April 3.

Hishamuddin, who is also the Malaysian Defense Minister, will leave on Monday night for the United States Pacific Command in Hawaii.

He will attend the Association of South East Asian Nations ( ASEAN) Defence Ministers' meeting, which will be convened by U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel from April 1 to 3.

"On behalf of the Malaysian Government, I will share with my ASEAN counterparts, and the Government of the United States, the latest developments regarding the search for MH370."

"I will convey to our ASEAN neighbors and the United States, Malaysia's utmost appreciation for their invaluable help in the multi-national search effort."

"I will also use this opportunity to discuss the possibility of deploying more specific military assets, in the event that we need to embark on a more complex phase of the operation. I shall be discussing with the United States, and our other friends and allies, how best we can acquire the assets needed for possible deep sea search and recovery."

The Malaysian government will also conduct a high level briefing for Chinese families of passengers on MH370, which is to be telecast live to Beijing for the remaining relatives.

Editor: Shen Qing
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