PETALING JAYA, Malaysia - Malaysia, in collaboration with China, is planning to develop a maritime training hub for the ASEAN region.
Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said that Malaysia had offered its Maritime Training Institute for the purpose.
"The Governments of Malaysia and China are discussing the mechanism of the collaboration, including the hosting of regional programmes," he said in a statement from Mandalay, Myanmar, yesterday.
Liow issued the statement after meeting his Chinese counterpart, Yang Chuantang, on the sidelines of the 20th ASEAN Transport Ministers Meeting to discuss bilateral matters.
Liow said the cooperation aimed to leverage on collective resources would benefit other ASEAN members as well.
He said China had in the past provided technical assistance and numerous capacity building programmes to ASEAN, particularly in the training of seafarers.
To reciprocate, Malaysia has offered the maritime institute to collaborate with Chinese experts to develop a training hub for the ASEAN region, Liow added.
He also announced that the Qinzhou Port in south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region had become a sister port of Kuantan as a mark of close cooperation between the two countries.
"The two ports will cooperate in various fields, including shared shipping lanes, logistics, information exchange and talent training," he said.
Liow also welcomed the establishment of the Silk Road Economy Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.
He said the Silk Road initiative would strengthen connectivity and support economic growth and trade activities in the region while serving as a viable opportunity for ASEAN countries to speed up the setting up of the ASEAN Economic Community by 2015.
Liow said that he and Yang had also discussed the ongoing underwater search operations for MH370, which remained a top priority for the Government in collaboration with China and Australia.
He said Malaysia was grateful to China which had continued to make available valuable assets and resources for the search effort.
"Its survey vessel 'Zhu Khezhen' also collaborated in the survey operations to gather data from the seafloor, which was utilised for mapping the terrain of the search area.
"This is a clear reflection of the strength of Malaysia-China ties," he said.
Liow said the ongoing underwater search which involved a comprehensive exploration of the sea floor had covered more than 7,000sq km.
To keep the public informed of the latest developments of the search operations, the Joint Agency Coordination Centre and the Australian Transport Safety Bureau have been conducting a series of technical briefings to the media, with the latest briefing held on Nov 26, he said.