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  • Dec 22, 2014
  • Updated: 7:38am
Malaysia Airlines flight 370
NewsChina
Flight MH370

China sends envoy to Malaysia to press for answers on flight MH370

China demands satellite data that prompted Malaysian PM to declare jet was ‘lost’, while hundreds protest outside embassy in Beijing

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 25 March, 2014, 11:40pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 26 March, 2014, 1:04pm

As the search for missing Malaysia flight MH370 resumed on Wednesday morning, a special envoy sent by President Xi Jinping was en route to Kuala Lumpur to press for details about the fate of the vanished airliner, as relatives of passengers accused that country's officials of lying about the flight's final hours.

While weather conditions over the southern Indian Ocean have improved, the crisis over Malaysia Airlines flight 370 raged on, topping the agenda of a central government meeting in Beijing chaired by Premier Li Keqiang .

Xinhua said Deputy Foreign Minister Zhang Yesui would act as the special envoy and head for Kuala Lumpur as soon as possible to "learn about the situation" and "ask the Malaysian side to properly handle related issues".

Watch: Chinese relatives demand 'truth' over MH370 crash

Another deputy foreign minister, Xie Hangsheng , told Malaysia's ambassador to Beijing, Iskandar Sarudin, that China wanted the precise data that prompted Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak to announce on Monday night that the flight had "ended" in the southern Indian Ocean.

"We demand the Malaysian side make clear the specific basis on which they come to this judgment," Xie said.

In a statement after the meeting, the State Council said search and rescue was still the priority and that the government would provide legal aid and medical services to passengers' relatives.

After 18 days of anguish, hundreds of Chinese, including relatives of those on board, marched to the Malaysian embassy in Beijing. They carried placards and chanted "liar", and "You owe us an explanation". Tempers flared as protesters pelted the embassy lawn with plastic bottles and scuffled with police, who took no steps to end the demonstration.

Malaysia Airlines chairman Mohammed Nor Mohammed, stuck to his guns, telling a press conference that although no wreckage had been found, there was no doubt the flight was lost.

Acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein reiterated that British satellite company Inmarsat used a new technique to trace the plane's path over the Indian Ocean.

Using the data, he said the search in a so-called northern corridor had been ended. The remaining search area is now 469,407 square nautical miles.

Air Marshal Mark Binskin, deputy chief of Australia's Defence Force, said the hunt was still monumental. "We are not searching for a needle in a haystack. We are still trying to define where the haystack is," he said.

A dozen aircraft from Australia, the United States, China, Japan and South Korea will scour the seas some 2,500 km (1,550 miles) southwest of Perth in the hunt for potential debris, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority said. Bad weather on Tuesday forced the suspension of the search.

Although officials sharply narrowed the search zone based on the last satellite signals received from the Boeing 777, it was still estimated at 1.6 million square kilometers (622,000 square miles), an area bigger than Texas and Oklahoma combined.

Search teams are racing to find the "black box" data recorders, which could explain why the flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8 changed course before vanishing.

Erik van Sebille, an oceanographer at the University of New South Wales, said the plane could hardly have vanished in a more inhospitable place than the southern Indian Ocean. "It's got some of the strongest winds in the world and the highest waves."

Australia said improved weather would allow the hunt for the plane to resume today after gale-force winds and heavy rain forced a day-long delay.

Chinese media questioned why Malaysian officials had altered the official tally of passengers and crew on Monday.

Najib said 226 passengers and "our 13 friends and colleagues" were aboard, a change from the 227 passengers and 12 crew announced earlier. Malaysian officials said an engineer was previously counted as a passenger.

Danny Lee, Angela Meng, Mandy Zuo, Agence France-Presse, Associated Press

 

Watch: MH370 relatives in China distraught as hope extinguished

 

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This article is now closed to comments

Marcus T Anthony
The Internet is also a big factor here. The conspiracy theories and blame have spread like wildfire on the Chinese internet. I have been hearing these rumours for the past two weeks in my house as I live with three Chinese mainland people. Most of what they are talking about is completely fictional, but they are so worked up about this and so full of anger and blame that it is impossible to say anything to counter their version of events. The whole tragedy has been twisted into a kind of China victim story. And now the government seems to be using it to political advantage and stirring up even more hatred. All you have to do is compare the way people from other countries have reacted to see that something is not right here. Everywhere else people have accepted that this is a tragedy and that the circumstances were very unusual. Perhaps the authorities in Malaysia and elsewhere did a poor job. That will come out in any investigation, hopefully. But calling them "executioners" and suggesting that they deliberately tried to hide information is hysterical and completely without evidence. I think that what this sows is that China has still not healed from the trauma of Maoism. All that anger and pain and distrust of humanity still lies just below the surface. But directing that rage at external enemies isn't going to solve the underlying issue. The CCP needs to come clean on what happened during the twentieth century in China. Only the truth can set the country free.
legalchina
What is wrong with the Chinese, do they not know that scores of Malaysians and passengers of other nationalities also perished ? Do they not think other people feel the same pain and grief and frustration of not knowing what happened. Even experts in the field are baffled and this incident is now making aviation history so what are they expecting of the Malaysian government. I have never been a fan of the Malaysian government, but this was just too much for them too ! So they fumbled at first but that is human. I would like to see the Chinese government do a better job if the shoe was on the other foot !
meoii
We should leave some reservation before we commenting on the chinese here.There's something not quite right, the families members of flight MH370 are probably just being used a pawns for a national propaganda campaign. T-shirts, placards, busses...the whole thing is orchestrated. Let's wait and see how it all unfolds.
-
Trains that crash in china, a hole is dug up and the train is buried within 24hrs. Then all media was banned from reporting about it. That's how things are done in China. So why is China pressing for so much now?
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noian.xhh2a
As an ethnic Chinese overseas with friends who met some of those missing, really embarrassed by the behavior of China on this issue. It was pretty obvious those aboard the plane were lost 3-4 days after it vanished, the chances of survival was more or less zero. I don't understand why people are so up in arms about Malaysia proclaiming the people on board are dead. There is no reason for a cover up, and calling Malaysia liars isn't helpful.
blue
When people are grief stricken, they turn completely irrational. They were holding out hope until now. I do not feel at all embarrassed by the behavior of these poor people. I only feel sadness because this is such a horrible tragedy. I find your lack of empathy more disturbing personally.
shuike
What a moron no wonder they banished you to hell Lucifer.
michael.michael.1447342
At least the Malaysian Prime Minister didn't SMILE when he announced during the press conference the loss of life unlike the Philippine President who happily happily smile talking about the Hong Kong tourist bus massacre in the Philippines.
Stephan
You are right. If it would have been a Chinese aircraft and other countries DEMANDED for an explantion, China would have treated it as interference in internal matters. That's the way they are!
lucifer
What about the government using this tragedy to stir up nationalism to bolster its image? Are you Ok with that?
shuike
Would you want your government to do less if it inolved your loved ones? Please be careful what you say. It may come true. The Chinese government sent an armada & atleast 3 planes there to search irrespective of costs. That shows my government cares about its citizens.

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