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Commentary: Information-sharing vital to MH370 search mission

English.news.cn   2014-03-18 20:47:46

BEIJING, March 18 (Xinhua) -- More than 10 days after Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 disappeared from radar and triggered an unprecedented multinational search, the sharing of information among the searching parties has become all the more imperative.

As 26 countries are now involved in the search mission, it is vital for them to share information in a timely and comprehensive manner. Any country that drags its feet at this moment is not showing due respect to the 239 lives aboard the missing plane.

It is known to all that inaccurate, or at least incomplete, information led the initial search in the South China Sea nowhere and thus that precious time was wasted.

Due to the lack of transparency, massive efforts have been squandered and numerous rumors have been swirling, repeatedly wracking the nerves of the waiting families. Therefore, there is no excuse for repeating the same mistakes.

Secondly, it is wrong to cover up information under the excuse of "military reason" or "national security." Keeping a secret can not be at the cost of life. Even if so-called "sensitive information" can not be publicized, it can absolutely be shared among the parties participating in the search mission.

As a matter of fact, concealing some facts has already dragged down the efficiency of the search mission.

It has been a universal practice to share information in rescue and disaster relief missions. For instance, during the AF447 search mission in 2009, both the United States and Brazil provided France with precious satellite data and observation information, which turned out to be vital to the success of the mission.

Another example is the forest fire fighting operations in Australia last October, during which China offered satellite surveillance pictures and data to Australia, which was very helpful.

There is no denying that the current multinational search is unprecedented and complicated, so of course it is a great challenge to conduct timely and comprehensive information sharing.

But there is also no doubt that Malaysia bears unshirkable responsibility to set up an information-sharing platform. In the meantime, other parties possessing valuable data and information, including intelligence superpower the United States, also have a duty to offer the platform timely data and information.

Time means life and transparency brings efficiency. There is no excuse for any party to withhold any helpful information that should come before the fate of 239 people.

Editor: An
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