Malaysia claims missing flight "deliberate" incident, China urges "thorough, correct information"
                 English.news.cn | 2014-03-16 00:21:46 | Editor: Mu Xuequan

[FOCUS]CHINA-BEIJING-XIE HANGSHENG-URGENT APPOINTMENT-MALAYSIA'S AMBASSADOR(CN)
Xie Hangsheng (R), Chinese vice foreign minister, has an urgent appointment with Malaysia's Ambassador to China Iskandar Sarudin in Beijing, capital of China, March 15, 2014. China on Saturday urged Malaysia to continue providing more "thorough and correct information" about missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, according to Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang. (Xinhua)

BEIJING, March 15 (Xinhua) -- China on Saturday urged Malaysia to continue providing more "thorough and correct information" about missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, after Malaysian Prime Minister claimed the plane deliberately steered off course.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said in a press release that "Chinese technical specialists are on the way to Malaysia to help the investigation."

According to Qin, China will adjust its deployment of research in a timely manner and call on all countries involved to lend a hand.

"We will also keep in touch with relevant countries and international organizations to do our own research and make our own judgment," he said.

Qin said China attaches great importance to the latest news from the Malaysian government about the missing MH370.

"It is the eighth day since MH370 lost contact with its radar signal and time is life," Qin said.

"We urge Malaysia to expand and define the search area for the missing plane and increase the intensity of the search," Qin said.

Flight MH370, a Boeing 777-200ER, went missing on its way to Beijing last Saturday morning, shortly after taking off from Kuala Lumpur. The plane was carrying 12 crew and 227 passengers, including 154 Chinese.

Xie Hangsheng, China's deputy foreign minister also said that "the Chinese government and all the people in the country pay great attention to the latest news on the missing Malaysia Airlines jet," during his meeting with Iskandar Sarudin, Malaysian ambassador to China Saturday afternoon.

Citing the decision made at an inter-agency emergency meeting held in Beijing following Najib's press conference, Xie urged the Malaysian side to continue stepping up the efforts to search the plane, keeping close touch with the Chinese side on the readjustment for the search deployment, and providing the Chinese side with more thorough and accurate information.

Xie also urged the Malaysian side to take their due responsibility for taking care of the families of the passengers on the plane and continue providing utmost assistance for the working team sent by the Chinese government to Malaysia.

Sarudin said the Malaysian side fully understands the request of the Chinese side and will continue to make full efforts to trace the jet and look after the passengers' families, and to support the Chinese team's work.

Meanwhile, Chinese vessels continued their search for the missing flight on Saturday, with two of them heading for the Strait of Malacca.

As of 12 a.m. Saturday, Chinese vessels had searched for more than 140 hours, covering 83,731 square kilometers of the sea's surface and 8098.3 square kilometers of waters underneath. No confirmed debris has been found yet.

Haikou Missile Destroyer left for Malacca late Friday and will work with China's patrol ship Haixun 31.

Another vessel, Yongxingdao, equipped with underwater robots and rescue boats, will also move towards the Strait of Malacca after it finishes its search in the east of the Gulf of Thailand.

Other Chinese warships continued to broaden the search area to the southeast of the Gulf of Thailand, combing a total of 5,100 square nautical miles (about 17,400 square km).

Warships Jinggangshan, Kunlunshan (amphibious transport dock), and Mianyang (missile frigate) have so far searched a sea area of 2,400 square nautical miles (about 8,200 square km).

SWITCHING FOCUS

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said Saturday the disappearance of the missing Malaysia Airlines jet was deliberate, and the authorities have refocused their investigation into its crew and passengers. But he stopped short of confirming a hijack.

"Based on new satellite information, we can say with a high degree of certainty that the aircraft communications addressing and reporting system, or ACARS, was disabled just before the aircraft reached the east coast of Peninsula Malaysia," he told a press conference near the capital's International Airport.

Shortly afterwards, near the border between Malaysian and Vietnamese air traffic control, the aircraft's transponder, which communicates with civilian air traffic controllers, was switched off.

Citing Malaysian air force radar data, the prime minister said the missing flight did indeed turn back, then flew westward back over Peninsula Malaysia before turning northwest.

"These movements are consistent with deliberate action by someone on the plane," he said.

He also said the last confirmed signal between the plane and a satellite came at 8:11 a.m. Malaysian time on March 8, about seven hours and 31 minutes after takeoff.

Based on the new data, the Malaysian authorities are now trying to trace the missing jet in one of the two possible corridors -- a northern one from the border of Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan to northern Thailand, and a southern one stretching from Indonesia to the southern Indian Ocean.

"In view of this latest development, the Malaysian authorities have refocused their investigation into the crew and passengers on board," the prime minister said. "Despite media reports that the plane was hijacked, I wish to be very clear: we are still investigating all possibilities as to what caused MH370 to deviate from its original flight path."

Meanwhile, the prime minister said the authorities are reassessing the redeployment of assets.

"Clearly, the search for MH 370 has entered a new phase," he said.

Upon Malaysia's decision to end operation in the South China Sea, Vietnam, which has joined the search mission from the first day the plane disappeared, has decided to end the hunt for the plane.

The Thai navy on Saturday also suspended its search over the Gulf of Thailand and Andaman Sea for the missing Malaysian jet after Malaysian Prime Minister's latest update.

An official statement issued by Malaysia Airlines released on Saturday said that the well-being of missing passengers and crew are always the key focus in our steps in search of the plane.

"We remain absolutely committed to sharing confirmed information with family members and the wider public in a fully open and transparent manner. However given the nature of the situation, the importance of validating new information before it is released into the public domain is paramount", the statement said.

They have gleaned satellite signals to try to identify the location of a missing commercial airliner, but the information should be verified and analyzed before public disclosure, the statement said.

Related:

Indian air traffic control experts rule out possibility of missing Malaysian jet entering Indian airspace

NEW DELHI, March 15 (Xinhua) -- Indian air traffic control experts have ruled out the possibility of the missing Malaysia Airlines jet entering Indian airspace without being noticed by Indian defense system, said local daily Times of India online Saturday.

Air traffic controllers at the eastern Indian city Kolkata have ruled out the possibility of the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 flying over Indian airspace, said the report. Full story

Malaysia says missing jet deliberately steered off course, shifts search focus to new territory

KUALA LUMPUR, March 15 (Xinhua) -- Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said Saturday the disappearance of the missing Malaysia Airlines jet was deliberate, and the authorities have refocused their investigation into its crew and passengers. But he stopped short of confirming a hijack.

"Based on new satellite information, we can say with a high degree of certainty that the aircraft communications addressing and reporting system, or ACARS, was disabled just before the aircraft reached the east coast of Peninsula Malaysia," he told a press conference near the capital's International Airport. Full story

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