After two weeks of international search for the missing Malaysian Airlines flight, Prime Minister Hun Sen on Friday invited China and Malaysia to search for the plane in Cambodia.
“We welcome our friends China and Malaysia to come and work in our land if there are suspicious signs…if they suspect that the airline fell in Cambodia, then Cambodia is happy to cooperate,” Mr. Hun Sen said after the annual meeting of the Education Ministry.
Flight MH370 disappeared on March 8 en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. Earlier this week, Malaysian officials said that the plane could have crashed anywhere between the southern Indian Ocean and central Asia, an area covering about 7.68 million square kilometers. The search has spread as far south as waters off Western Australia.
On Tuesday, ten days after the plane went missing, Cambodia announced that it would join the multilateral search supported by 26 countries.
Previously, the government said it lacked the capacity to join the search. But Mr. Hun Sen said that his government changed its policy after receiving a request from the Chinese Embassy in Phnom Penh.
“Recently, the Chinese Embassy [asked] in a note that Cambodia help with the search, so we also started to order the armed forces…to search some areas,” he said.
China donated the four helicopters that Cambodia is now using in the search.
Mr. Hun Sen said the public should not be concerned over the deployment of Cambodian helicopters and navy vessels along the Cambodian-Vietnamese maritime border as they were only helping to look for the plane.
“We don’t want [you] to be surprised that our Defense Minister [Tea Banh] ordered the armed forces to monitor [the ocean] already, because Cambodia is not kicking away our international duties and obligations,” Mr. Hun Sen said.
The governments of Australia, the U.S., the U.K., Malaysia and China have concentrated on the Indian Ocean. Debris that could have belonged to the aircraft was spotted floating Thursday 2,500 kilometers southwest of Perth, Australia.
sovuthy@cambodiadaily.com
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