China has said there is no evidence linking its nationals on board the missing Malaysia Airlines flight to terror or hijacking. Beijing has also begun searching Chinese territory for the missing aircraft.
China's ambassador to Malaysia, Huang Huikang, said background checks on the more than 150 Chinese passengers from the country's mainland on board missing flight MH370 did not find any evidence that they were linked to a hijacking or terrorist attack on the plane, the official Xinhua news agency reported on Tuesday.
The ambassador also said China had begun searching for the aircraft in its own territory after satellite and military radar data projected two huge corridors through which the plane might have flown.
The northern route, where Beijing has extended its search, stretches in an arc over south and central Asia with the southern corridor sweeping deep into the Indian Ocean west of Australia.
Twenty-six countries are now helping to hunt for the plane. China has played a large role in the search for the missing Boeing 777 as around two-thirds of the flight's passengers were Chinese.
The passenger jet disappeared on March 8 after taking off from Kuala Lumpur en route to Beijing with 239 people on board.
Malaysian authorities say someone on board the flight switched off two vital pieces of communication equipment, allowing the plane to fly almost undetected. As a result, the investigation has zeroed in on the plane's captain, Zaharie Ahmad Shah, and his co-pilot Fariq Abdul Hamid, with the key question being who was in control of the plane when it veered off course about an hour after takeoff.
hc/jm (AFP, AP)