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MH370 proof Asia can unite despite disputes: Hishammuddin

Malaysia's Defence and Acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said the search for the missing MH370 is proof Asian nations can come together despite conflicting geopolitical interests.

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's Defence and Acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said the search for the missing MH370 is proof Asian nations can come together despite conflicting geopolitical interests.

He added that when Malaysia chairs ASEAN next year, his government will draw on its recent experiences to help bring stability to a region dealing with escalating territorial disputes in the South China Sea.

Dozens of nations came together in the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.

But few have played as big a role as Australia, which has been leading the search for the plane in the Southern Indian Ocean.

The defence minister has again thanked Australia as its navy chief Vice Admiral Ray Griggs pays a three-day visit to Kuala Lumpur.

"The relationship between Australia and Malaysia strengthened to the extent that people could not believe how we overcame geopolitical considerations, phobias and paranoia when it came to MH370," Mr Hishammuddin said.

It's this proven cooperation that has Malaysia confident that security and stability in the Asian region is possible despite escalating tensions over territorial disputes between ASEAN nations and Beijing in the South China Sea.

"When Malaysia chairs ASEAN next year, we can show, at the very least, how we handled the MH370 search. If we translate that into a security context, it's not impossible to avoid conflict like what's going on in the Middle East from happening in our region," said Mr Hishammuddin.

He added that his meetings last week in Canberra with delegations from China and Australia were an example of the kind of regional teamwork possible.

The delegations discussed the next phase of the search, including the divvying up of costs involved.

But while nations may be cooperating, family members of those onboard MH370 remain frustrated.

They are requesting authorities release the satellite data used to estimate the plane's crash site for independent analysis.

"There's been so many requests for so much information. The beginning it was transcripts of the conversation, then it was the cargo manifest,” said Mr Hishammuddin.

“I'm trying to put forth the argument that if you do want the information, then you go through the panel of experts that we've established and if it doesn't affect their investigations, by all means release it. But the point is this: any information released will not stop speculation."

Both the Australian and Malaysian delegations will be addressing their respective cabinets this week on just what came out of the tripartite meetings in Canberra. 

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