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Saturday, 29 March 2014

Letter demands that Beijing mounts own inquiry in MH370 case

BEIJING: Relatives of the Chinese passengers aboard missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 have demanded China mount its own inquiry into the disappearance, a letter shows.

The document, sent to Beijing’s special envoy in Kuala Lumpur, denounced Malaysia’s handling of the search and asked the Chinese government to set up its own “investigation office”.

News of the letter comes as a committee set up by relatives of the 153 Chinese passengers has begun discussions with lawyers about a potential lawsuit against Malaysia Airlines, a move that the family members have hotly debated among themselves.

“We question Malaysia’s motivations in misleading and delaying so as to miss the best moment to find MH370,” the relatives wrote in the letter to special envoy Zhang Yesui on Thursday, blasting Kuala Lumpur’s behaviour as “irresponsible” and “inhumane”.

“We earnestly request that China establish an investigation office into MH370,” the letter states, also urging “an effective communication system between the relatives and the government”.

Beijing has urged Kuala Lumpur to include Chinese experts in its own investigation, but has not so far spoken of setting up its own inquiry.

Asked about the request, foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei told reporters yesterday: “We have repeatedly pointed out that under the current circumstances what is pressing now is the search.”

There were 153 Chinese citizens on board the flight and the letter came days after frustrated family members staged a protest in front of the Malaysian embassy in Beijing.

Relatives have also clashed with senior Malaysian officials in briefings in Beijing, with some openly insulting them and accusing Malaysia of hiding the truth.

The family members’ requests to the Malaysian Government listed in the letter include an official apology, along with return airfares to Malaysia and the provision of food and accommodation until the resolution of the search. — AFP

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