By Ben Blanchard
BEIJING, March 17 Malaysia must "immediately"
expand and clarify the scope of the search for a Malaysia
Airlines jetliner that disappeared with 239 people on
board, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said on Monday in a
statement posted on its website.
Meanwhile, Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said at a
regular briefing in Beijing that China's ambassador to Malaysia
met Malaysia's foreign minister on Monday.
No trace of the plane has been found more than a week after
it vanished but investigators believe it was diverted by someone
with deep knowledge of the plane and commercial navigation.
Satellite data suggests the plane could be anywhere in
either of two vast arcs: one stretching from northern Thailand
to Kazakhstan, or a southern arc from Indonesia into the Indian
Ocean west of Australia.
"Of course search and rescue efforts have become even harder
now, and the area is much bigger," Hong said. "We hope that
Malaysia can provide more thorough, accurate information to
Hong declined to comment when asked if China is checking
into the backgrounds of the Chinese passengers on board in
search of suspicious histories. He declined to say whether China
is searching over Tibet and the western region of Xinjiang for
the jet, or whether China has ruled out that the plane entered
About two-thirds of the passengers on board the flight were
Malaysian investigators are trawling through the backgrounds
of the pilots, crew and ground staff who worked on the missing
Boeing 777-200ER for clues as to why someone on board
flew it perhaps thousands of miles off course.