A Senior Chinese official has demanded Malaysia to turn over satellite data it used to conclude that a missing airliner has crashed in the Indian Ocean.
Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister Xie Hangsheng told Malaysia’s ambassador to Beijing that China wanted to know exactly what led the Kuala Lumpur government to announce that the plane has plunged in the ocean.
“We demand the Malaysian side to make clear the specific basis on which they come to this judgement,” Xie said during an urgent meeting with Malaysian Ambassador Iskandar Sarudin in Beijing.
Questions remain over the fate of the Malaysia Airlines passenger jet that went missing more than two weeks ago.
Malaysia Airlines Chairman Mohammed Nor Mohammed Yusof told a news conference Tuesday that it may take time for further answers to become clear.
“This has been an unprecedented event requiring an unprecedented response,” he said. “The investigation still underway may yet prove to be even longer and more complex than it has been since March 8th.”
On Monday, Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak cited new satellite data, announcing that the ill-fated plane has gone down in the South Indian Ocean.
The premier added that the data indicated the plane had flown “to a remote location, far from any possible landing sites.”
“It is therefore with deep sadness and regret that I must inform you that according to this new data, Flight MH370 ended in the southern Indian Ocean,” Razak said.
The announcement came as investigators are still looking at various possibilities including possible mechanical failure, hijacking, sabotage, terrorism or issues related to the mental health of the pilots.
Relatives of the Chinese passengers aboard the missing Malaysian jet have staged a protest in Beijing, accusing Kuala Lumpur of attempting to hide the truth about the fate of their family members.
Meanwhile, international rescuers have halted the hunt for Flight 370 due to bad weather conditions. International forces are looking for two objects spotted by satellite images 2,500 kilometers southwest of Perth.
Flight MH370 with 239 passengers and crew vanished from radar screens early on March 8, less than an hour after taking off from Kuala Lumpur on a scheduled flight to Beijing.
At least 150 Chinese citizens were on board the missing plane.