Beijing: China today said it will actively take part in the follow-up search operation for the crashed Malaysian jet along with Malaysia and Australia despite a lack of progress in locating the plane so far.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said China has noted Malaysia`s promise to continue the search and inviting concerned parties in the international community to set up an independent team to thoroughly investigate the incident, to which China has a positive and welcome attitude.
"China is ready to closely cooperate with the Malaysian and Australian sides in the search work while carrying out a fair investigation," he said, adding that China will work with Malaysia to provide services to relatives of the passengers and protect their just and lawful interests.
Qin expressed deep empathy and sympathy to the relatives of all people aboard the plane, including those of the 154 Chinese passengers, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
He also expressed China`s gratitude for efforts by all parties involved, including Malaysia and Australia, in the search and investigation work, noting that several countries` governments and leaders had expressed sympathy with China and Chinese passengers` relatives on many occasions.
In the massive search operation that has lasted for more than 50 days, China attached great importance to the event.
China has sent a total of 18 naval vessels, 13 planes, and has used 21 satellites in the search operation, Qin said.
"The scale of this search operation is unprecedented in China`s history," Qin said.
Malaysia Airlines said in a press release today that as there is still no trace of the missing Flight MH370, the search operation in the southern Indian Ocean is moving to a new phase.
The Beijing-bound Boeing 777-200 - carrying 239 people, including five Indians, an Indo-Canadian and 154 Chinese nationals - mysteriously vanished on March 8 after taking off from Kuala Lumpur.