Obama expresses support on MH370: Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR - US President Barack Obama offered support to Malaysia on Saturday in the baffling mystery over missing flight MH370, an official said.

Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein, who is leading Malaysia's efforts to determine the fate of the passenger jet, said he spoke briefly with Obama after the president's arrival for an official visit.

"He said he knows it is a tough, long, road ahead. We'll work together. There is always support," Hishammuddin said.

"I'm very happy to hear (this) because it is a long journey." The brief encounter occurred during an official welcoming ceremony at Kuala Lumpur's Parliament Square, where Obama met his host, Prime Minister Najib Razak.

Malaysia is the third stop on an Asian tour by Obama that has taken him to Japan and South Korea. He heads to the Philippines on Monday.

The Beijing-bound Malaysia Airlines flight with 239 people aboard disappeared without warning shortly after take-off from Kuala Lumpur on March 8.

Based on satellite data analysis, it is believed to have veered far off course and crashed into a remote area of the southern Indian Ocean.

But weeks of searching for wreckage - including two weeks of deep-sea scanning by a US Navy submersible sonar device - has found nothing.

Authorities involved in the multi-nation search led by Australia and including the United States have warned that a long, expensive and challenging struggle lies ahead to find the plane.

It is hoped that recovery of the plane's flight data recorders will reveal the plane's fate, while the lack of answers has left passengers' agonised families unable to achieve closure.

Malaysian authorities and the national airline have been crticised over the unexplained loss of the plane and have been accused of remaining tight-lipped on the progress of the investigation.