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Multinational search for missing MH370 plane laudable, unprecedented

Editor: Ren Zhongxi 丨Xinhua

05-04-2014 08:26 BJT

Full coverage: Malaysia Airlines Plane Bound for Beijing Goes Missing

BEIJING, May 3 (Xinhua) -- Twenty-six countries have been so far involved in the difficult search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, which mysteriously disappeared on March 8 en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

Experts say the unprecedented, multinational search efforts reflect a laudable spirit of cooperation in the international community, in which China has made notable efforts to find the ill-fated plane with 239 people onboard, including 154 Chinese.


By April 28, the search had covered more than 4.5 million square kilometers of the Southern Indian Ocean.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said countries involved in the search had shown a remarkable spirit of cooperation.

"This multi-country search is a powerful example of international cooperation at a time of adversity," he said, calling it "a very important humanitarian exercise."

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said the joint efforts of the 26 countries had brought comfort to the families of passengers on the missing plane, and their contribution would be remembered.

"In a time of great tragedy...differences have been set aside, as 26 nations have united behind a common cause. The disappearance of MH370 is without precedent, so too is the search," the prime minister said.

Ekaterina Koldunova, a politics professor of the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, said regional cooperation in the search for MH370 was impressive.

Chris McLaughlin, senior vice president of Inmarsat, agreed the persistent and close cooperation among countries involved in the search was impressive.

In addition to government efforts, many companies and organizations such as Inmarsat also played an active role and made their contribution to the search, he said.

The Boeing company, which built the missing aircraft, said in a statement Thursday it was engaged as technical adviser to the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board, sharing technical expertise and analysis with the Malaysian investigation team and supporting the ongoing search.

"We are working with all parties in hopes of bringing this to a resolution as soon as possible," it said.

Angus Houston, chief of the Australian Joint Agency Coordination Center (JACC), said all parties had "worked together closely" in the search.

"Australia and PRC, together with Malaysia and other nations, have worked tirelessly in trying to find flight MH370," he said.

In an emailed statement issued Wednesday, U.S. Navy 7th Fleet Commander Vice Admiral Robert Thomas said support from U.S. allies and partners in the region had been "exceptional."

"At one point, 26 countries were working together in close coordination to achieve a common goal," he said. "To see such significant depth of international cooperation coming together for one mission is unprecedented and highly encouraging for the security and stability of the region."

Oh Ei Sun, senior research fellow at Singapore Rajaratnam School of International Studies and former political secretary to the Malaysian prime minister, agreed cooperation and coordination in humanitarian and non-traditional areas were increasingly important. "It is heartening to see those participating countries are sharing information and sometimes even resources, all with humanitarian aims," he said.


China has made all-out efforts in searching for the missing flight.

By May 1, China had deployed 18 naval ships and coordinated 66 merchant ships and 20 fishing boats in the search, covering an area of about 1.4 million square km. China has also sent 13 search planes to the target area and deployed 21 satellites in the hunt, which meant the largest scale operation of search and rescue by China in history.

Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Wing Commander David Turner said cooperation with Chinese colleagues had been brilliant.

"We've been thrilled to work with them and admired that they've displayed an incredible level of professionalism," he said, "They've been hospitable, friendly and it's been nothing but an extreme privilege to work alongside them."

Colin Barnett, premier of Western Australia, thanked China, along with other nations involved, for their assistance in the search efforts.

"Listening to the feedback from the Commonwealth agencies leading this search effort, there has been nothing but praise for the international efforts and the conduct of all the amalgamated defence forces," he said.

"Western Australia's long-established relationship with China has to date been focused around trade but the Chinese authorities' assistance with the search for MH370 has broadened and deepened that relationship," he said.

Houston, as the JACC chief, noted that, during the visual search, China provided the greatest number of ships, seven, which, together with the Chinese aircraft, did a magnificent job.

He added that Chinese expertise was instrumental to the work of the expert team in Kulua Lumpur.

RAAF Group Commander Craig Heap, who leads and coordinates the air search mission, has described the Chinese airforce detachment searching for the missing MH370 in Australia as very professional and they made great contributions to the search mission.

Heap said the Chinese crew had made a "fantastic contribution" since their first operation on March 23. "They have conducted many search missions and they are highly professional. We are very happy that they are here for the multinational effort," Heap said.

He added the Chinese detachment had done an "extensive visual search and provided significant contributions" which "China should be proud".

RAAF pilot Tom Blackburnen said the Chinese air force had an extraordinary spirit of team work and learning ability, which indicated they were well trained.

At Perth airport, Chinese aircraft were the first to leave for the search area almost every day, said Qian Feng, vice director and chief editor of Asian Daily in Thailand.

This showed China's deep concern for the Chinese passengers aboard the missing MH370 and China's mien as a responsible country in a joint international operation.

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