More assets required for new-phase search for missing plane

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More sophisticated and high- tech assets were required for the search for the missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 in the new phase, local media reported Saturday, quoting the country's acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein.

The minister said in an exclusive media session with the local media on Friday that he would be meeting with U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel in Singapore in two weeks to request for assets for the new phase, said Bernama, Malaysia's state news agency.

Hishammuddin said some commercial entities had been approached for assets for deep sea search, which were very limited.

"It is important that when I meet with Secretary Hagel in Singapore for the Shangri-La Dialogue, I will request from him other assets that I have identified, which the U.S. Navy could assist in providing it to be used in the search," he said.

"These are the side-scan sonars and this is what I am going to request from Hagel," the minister added.

Side-scan sonar is a sonar system used to create an image of large areas of the sea floor. It is able to provide an understanding of the differences in material and texture type of the seabed.

Hishammuddin said a number of research institutes would also be involved in the new phase of search. "Research institutes from China, Germany and Japan have been involved and we are getting feedback," he said.

Hishammuddin, who is also Malaysia's defense minister, said he would be meeting with defense ministers of the other member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) on Monday during the ASEAN Defense Ministers' Meeting in Myanmar.

"Singapore and Indonesia have already agreed to be the accredited members of the independent panels. So now I'm trying to see if there are other countries in ASEAN that can come and help us," he added.

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