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Malaysian PM to visit China; MH370 to be discussed

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak will make an official visit to China and the missing Malaysia Airlines plane will be discussed, said Acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein on Thursday.

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak will make an official visit to China and the missing Malaysia Airlines plane will be discussed, the Acting Transport Minister said on Thursday.

Hishammuddin Hussein, who is also the country's defence minister, said the prime minister's visit to China is to commemorate the long years of working together, and the missing jet issue cannot be avoided.

At a news conference in Kuala Lumpur, Hishammuddin said the search for MH370 has entered the 69th day, with search entering a Transition Phase prioritising deep-sea search.

As such, the air and surface search has been suspended.

He said the Malaysian Cabinet was briefed on Wednesday on the outcome of last week's Canberra meeting.

"I now have the mandate to announce that the details of the Transition Phase have been approved," he added.

He said the next stage of the search would be more detailed and would involve more commercial vessels.

The Canberra meeting confirmed the procurement arrangements for the use of commercial contractors will be undertaken by Australia, in consultation with Malaysia, while Malaysia and China will provide specific assets. 

Malaysia is also in the process of acquiring related assets from Petronas, SapuraKencana, Boustead and Deftech.

Petronas will lend autonomous underwater vehicles for the search operations.

The minister said the establishment of the International Investigation Team has assured them that investigations into the missing Malaysia Airlines flight 370 would be conducted by an independent, competent and credible team.

Malaysia has also approved a specialised Communication, Coordination and Media Committee to focus on streamlining communications with Australia and China, Hishammuddin said.

The hunt for the missing Malaysian passenger jet in the Indian Ocean was put on hold on Thursday after technical issues with a US Navy mini-submarine that require spare parts to be sent from Britain.

Replying to queries, Hishammuddin said the "ping" information was the best lead that that the search team had and Ocean Shield would focus on areas yet to be searched.

Malaysia Airlines will be responsible for travel arrangements for next of kins' visit to the final resting place once it  is confirmed.

"I understand that the disappearance of MH370 has caused terrible anguish for the families," said Hishammuddin.

He added that Malaysia will keep searching for the plane for as long as it takes. 

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