Fri, Oct 14, 2011 - Page 1 News List

China demands action after 13 sailors killed

Reuters, BEIJING

China yesterday demanded swift action from Thailand, Laos and Myanmar to prevent repeat attacks against Chinese nationals on the Mekong River after 13 sailors died on its waters near the Thai--Myanmar border.

“The Chinese government values the life and safety of every Chinese citizen and demands a thorough probe of what happened and that the murderers be brought to justice,” Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Song Tao (宋濤) told envoys from the three countries in Beijing.

Song said officials in the three Southeast Asian countries should “step up their investigation, get to the bottom of the matter as soon as possible, report their findings to China in a timely manner and ... severely punish the assailants,” a statement on the ministry’s Web site said.

The three countries must ensure the safety of Chinese sailors on the river and China would assist in ensuring that happens, the ministry paraphrased Song as saying.

The victims were crew members on two cargo ships attacked on Oct. 5 in the “Golden Triangle,” where the borders of Myanmar, Thailand and Laos meet, a region notorious for drug smuggling.

China would send a patrol ship to pick up Chinese sailors who have been stranded in Thailand since the incident and hoped the three countries would provide assistance for that, Song said.

The envoys expressed their deep condolences over the deaths and said they were committed to working with China to deal with the aftermath of the incident, the ministry’s statement added.

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