MH370 experts and investigators call on China to fund a renewed search

MH370 experts and investigators have called on China to fund a renewed search into the missing plane, five years after the Boeing 777 vanished.

Malaysian Airlines crisis manager Fuad Sharuji says China’s lack of contribution and funding for the search is confounding, and the burden of a new search should fall on them.

In an exclusive interview with 60 Minutes, Sharuji pointed to the number of Chinese nationals on board the flight.

Malaysian Airlines crisis manager Fuad Sharuji says China’s lack of contribution and funding for the search is confounding. (60 Minutes)

“There were 153 Chinese on board MH370, out of the total 237 souls on board,” Sharuji told 60 Minutes reporter Sarah Abo.

“Personally I think that the Chinese government should have done more.”

Journalist Ean Higgins, who has researched the disappearance of MH370 extensively, agrees that China failed to play its part in the deep-sea search.

“I do think it’s time for China to step up to the plate on this,” Higgins said.

Sarah Abo inside the vault.
Sarah Abo inside the vault. (60 Minutes)
Prime Minister Mahathir bin Mohamad has promised to continue the search for missing plane MH370. (60 Minutes)

“I believe it’s remiss of China not to make a bigger contribution, and make a new one to help find MH370. I think it would ultimately be quite good for them domestically because it is obviously an issue in China.”

The doomed flight, which left Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, bound for Beijing, China, vanished above the South China sea in the early hours of March 8, 2014.

The search for the plane was funded by Malaysia and Australia, the countries contributing hundreds of millions of dollars. The search was suspended in early 2017, with no answers on the aircraft’s final location or what happened in the plane’s last moments. 

Higgins says China’s efforts were not in line with international counterparts.

Sarah Abo with Danica Weeks and the Malaysian Prime Minister. (60 Minutes)

“As far as we can make out, the Chinese contribution didn’t actually do much searching. The general view in the security community is that they were spying on Australian military activity, rather than actually searching,” he told Abo.

“Basically, it’s their turn. China spends vast amounts of money on aircraft carriers, on other weapons, on aircraft, and even building islands in disputed waters, to project force.”

“It would be good to show that they can also be not just strong, but compassionate, and cooperative, and fund a new search.”

If there’s ever going to be a renewed search for MH370, and closure for the family and friends of those who lost their lives, China could be the one to foot the bill.

To watch ‘MH370: Never Give Up’ and for more on 60 Minutes, visit the official website.

© Nine Digital Pty Ltd 2019



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