China sends special envoy to Malaysia, vows to continue search for MH370

From: Xinhua Updated: 2014-03-26 08:39
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THE HAGUE/KUALA LUMPUR, March 25 (Xinhua) -- China said Tuesday it would send a special envoy to Kuala Lumpur to deal with the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 and vowed to continue the search in targeted waters.

Chinese President Xi Jinping, who was in The Hague for the third Nuclear Security Summit, instructed a special envoy be appointed to handle issues surrounding the plane's disappearance with the Malaysian side.

Late on Monday, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said the missing plane "ended" in the southern Indian Ocean, based on new calculations by the British Air Accidents Investigation Branch and Inmarsat, a Britain-based satellite company that provided the satellite data.

"We are highly concerned with Malaysia's conclusion, and have demanded full information and the evidence that supports the conclusion," Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said.

Since the whereabouts of the missing jet remained unknown, China would continue to spare no effort in the search and Chinese vessels were continuing to arrive in the target waters, Hong said.

On Tuesday, Chinese icebreaker Xuelong reached the area where Chinese search planes spotted suspected objects, while the merchant ship Zhonghaishaohua arrived in waters where French satellites spotted suspicious items, according to the spokesman.

Another Chinese naval fleet consisting of supply ship Qiandaohu, missile destroyer Haikou and amphibious transport dock Kunlunshan was expected to arrive in the waters southwest of the Australian west coast city of Perth on Wednesday.

Chinese vessels Haixun 01 and Nanhaijiu 101 were heading for the area where an Australian satellite spotted suspicious items, Hong said.

In addition, China was maintaining its search operation in other possible search areas, despite Najib's announcement the plane had gone down in the southern Indian Ocean.

"As the executor of a task, we should not be distracted by the uncertain information from outside," said Liu Zhonghu, captain of the Jinggangshan amphibious docking vessel, which is searching waters near Sumatra.

Liu said the Jinggangshan and another vessel, the Yongxingdao, would continue to comb their current search area in accordance with previously agreed international arrangements.

No trace of the missing plan has been found since the two vessels entered the 53,000 square nautical mile (181,785 square km) area between Nias Island and Christmas Island early Saturday.

The international search team led by Australia has shifted focus to the southern corridor.

Malaysia's acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said, as a result of the new data analysis, the search and rescue operation in the northern corridor had been called off.

Hishammuddin said all search efforts were now focused in the southern part of the southern corridor, in an area covering some 469,407 square nautical miles, as against the 2.24 million square nautical miles which was announced on March 18.

However, the southern search and rescue mission had been suspended due to the bad weather, the minister said.

"Six Chinese ships are currently in the search area, and are expected to arrive within the vicinity of MH370's last known position by Wednesday morning," he said.

Hishammuddin said two Korean aircraft left Subang airport for Perth Tuesday morning to join the multinational search operation. "HMAS Success is also currently in the search area," he said.

"The American Towed Pinger Locater, an instrument that can help find a black box, is currently en route to Perth and will arrive Wednesday. The system will be fitted onto the Australian ship Ocean Shield, which is due to dock in Perth on March 28. The Ocean Shield, fitted with the Towed Pinger Locater, is due to arrive in the search area on April 5," he said.

China on Tuesday also urged international organizations and related countries to provide information that may help search for the missing plane.

"It is an international search. China hopes international organizations and countries will provide Malaysia and China with valuable information to help us conduct better targeted search work," Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong said at a regular press briefing while answering a question on whether China would demand more evidence from Britain.

He also urged Malaysia to continue to coordinate the international search.

Flight MH370, a Boeing 777-200ER, went missing on its way to Beijing on March 8, shortly after taking off from Kuala Lumpur. The plane was carrying 12 crew and 227 passengers, including 154 Chinese. The search is now in its third week.

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