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KUALA LUMPUR,  Southeast Asian countries will work with China on the Belt and Road initiative, a senior Malaysian minister said Thursday.

Officials from the ten members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) gathered here for the 21st ASEAN Transport Ministers’ Meeting. Ministers from three ASEAN dialogue partners, namely China, Japan and South Korea, also attend the two-day meeting. Malaysian Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai, who chairs the meeting, said ASEAN countries will work together with China on the Belt and Road initiative.

“We welcome the Belt and Road initiative, and we will support it,” he told reporters. ASEAN ministers discussed a strategic transport action plan focused on the areas of air, land and maritime support, which calls for greater connectivity, efficiency, integration, safety and sustainability of ASEAN transport.

The ministers also touched on the haze that has shrouded part of Southeast Asia in recent months, Liow said in a statement.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the meeting, Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said improved connectivity and transport network comprising land, air and maritime routes throughout the region will contribute significantly to the growth of ASEAN.

Founded in 1967, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore,

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