Intelligence checks on 153 Chinese passengers on a missing Malaysian airliner produced no red flags, China said yesterday, as Malaysia marshalled ships and planes from 26 countries to search an area the size of Australia.
Eleven days after contact was lost with Malaysia Airlines flight 370 and its 239 passengers and crew, there has been minimal progress in determining precisely what happened or where the plane ended up.
Lending fresh weight to the belief that the plane was deliberately diverted, the New York Times reported that the first turn it made off its flight path was programmed into the Boeing 777’s computer navigation system, probably by someone in the cockpit.
Rather than manually operating the plane’s controls, whoever altered flight 370’s path typed seven or eight keystrokes into a computer situated between the captain and the co-pilot, the newspaper said, quoting US officials.
Two-thirds of those on board were Chinese, and Malaysia had asked authorities in Beijing to run an exhaustive background check on all their nationals as part of a probe into everyone aboard.
Chinese Ambassador to Malaysia Huang Huikang (黃惠康) yesterday said no evidence had been found that would link anyone to a possible hijacking or terrorist attack on the jet.
Chinese media has been critical of Malaysia’s handling of the investigation, saying valuable time and resources were wasted in the hours and days immediately after the aircraft disappeared on March 8.
Meanwhile, Thailand’s military said its radar detected a plane that may have been Malaysia Airlines flight 370 just minutes after the missing jetliner’s communications went down, adding that it did not share the information earlier because it was not specifically asked for it.
Thai air force spokesman Montol Suchookorn yesterday said the plane followed a twisting flight path to the Strait of Malacca, which is where Malaysian radar tracked flight 370 early on March 8.
However, Montol said the Thai military was not sure whether it detected the same plane.
CONSOLIDATION? Taiwan Thinktank deputy executive-general Doong Sy-chi said Beijing’s intimidation tactics are further alienating those who identify as Chinese Only 2 percent of respondents to a poll on constitutional amendments and national identity identified as Chinese, while 62.6 percent identified as Taiwanese, the Taiwan Thinktank said yesterday. Legislators have proposed amendments to the Additional Articles of the Constitution (憲法增修條文), which would change the definition of the nation’s territory, remove the Taiwan Provincial Government as an entity, prioritize the use of “Taiwan” for national groups at international events, and remove restrictions on defining the national emblem, national flag and national anthem. The poll showed that 80.5 percent of respondents agreed that the nation should participate as “Taiwan” at events organized by world
NO SIGN OF WAR: Only if Taiwanese showed determination to defend the nation would others be willing to help in the event of a Chinese attack, the premier said Should China launch a war against Taiwan, the military would fight to the last standing person, Minister of National Defense Yen De-fa (嚴德發) said yesterday, adding that the nation has fully fleshed-out defense strategies. “Beijing has continued its acts of provocation against Taiwan, but there are currently no signs that it is ready to launch a full-scale war,” Yen said at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei. Asked how long Taiwan could withstand an attack from China, Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said: “Taiwan will not fall.” Any belligerent force that initiates acts of war would pay a heavy price, and so too would Beijing,
MISTAKE: The Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy is not a UN body, and the government is committed to protecting the nation’s name, Joseph Wu said The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday condemned the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy for listing Taiwanese cities as belonging to China on its Web site, and asked that it correct the error. The organization was inaugurated in Brussels in 2016 as a global coalition of mayors committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Six Taiwanese cities at the time joined the coalition as cities in “Taiwan,” the ministry said. However, officials from the Kaohsiung City Government — one of the organization’s members — last week noticed that the city was now listed on the organization’s Web site as a
MOTHERLAND? Taiwanese who take part in China’s National Day celebrations could be fined NT$100,000 to NT$500,000 if found to have contravened Taiwanese laws The Ministry of Culture yesterday cautioned China-based Taiwanese artists against breaching Taiwanese law by taking part in China’s National Day celebrations. The ministry issued the statement following media reports that Ouyang Nana (歐陽娜娜) is to sing a popular Chinese patriotic song titled My Motherland (我的祖國), and Angela Chang (張韶涵) is to sing Protect (守護) with Chinese entertainers at an event to mark China’s National Day on Thursday. The Mainland Affairs Council is investigating whether such behavior contravenes regulations in the Act Governing Relations Between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area (臺灣地區與大陸地區人民關係條例), the ministry said. If the behavior involves matters