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'Chinese nationals on board Malaysian plane had no terror links'

March 18, 2014 16:27 IST

China on Tuesday ruled out involvement of its nationals on board the missing aircraft in a hijack attempt, but launched search operation on its own territory in Tibet and Xinjiang after inputs that the Malaysian plane might have flown to Central Asia through the northern corridor.

China has started searching its own territory along the northern corridor to trace the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, China's ambassador to Malaysia Huang Huikang was quoted as saying by state-run Xinhua news agency.

The search began after India, Pakistan and several other counties in the region denied that the plane might have flown over their territories towards Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan.

Based on latest information, the new search areas encompass a northern corridor stretching approximately from the border of Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan to northern Thailand, as well as a southern one from Indonesia to the southern Indian Ocean.

China said it was extremely concerned over the missing plane as 154 of the 239 passengers are its nationals. Huang ruled out involvement of any Chinese passenger on board the flight MH370 in attempt to divert the plane.

"No passenger from Chinese mainland aboard the missing MH370 flight was involved in a hijack or terror attack," he said, as the search to locate the plane entered its 11th day.

Background check on all passengers from Chinese mainland has found no evidence on their involvement, he said. He also said nine naval vessels are prepared to scour new areas along the southern corridor after concluding their futile hunt in South China Sea.

The Chinese envoy said since a criminal investigation has been launched into the missing plane, some information is not suitable for disclosure at this moment, without giving further details.

"The probe into the incident's cause is not suitable to be conducted in a high-profile way," he said.

Huang said China has been in close contact with Malaysia since the very beginning and well informed of latest developments.

"The Malaysian government has been doing its best in search and investigation, but it lacks experience and capability to handle this kind of incident," he said.

Image: A mother of a passenger onboard the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 cries as she listens to a briefing from the airline company at a hotel in Beijing

Photographer: Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters

 

K J M Varma in Beijing