MH17 needs impartial investigation

Updated: 2014-07-19 06:47

By Wang Hui (China Daily)

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People across the world are shocked and saddened by the death of 298 passengers and crew of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which went down in strife-torn eastern Ukraine on Thursday. The cause of the downing of the aircraft, a Boeing 777-200, must be found as soon as possible, and those responsible must be identified and brought to justice.

This is the second tragedy to strike Malaysia Airlines in just four months. On March 8, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 disappeared with 239 people on board, and its fate remains a mystery. A tragedy of such magnitude striking the same airlines twice in such a short time is unprecedented in aviation history.

Since the loss of the two flights is a loss to humanity, the world should come together to investigate the two tragedies and plug the loopholes that plague aviation safety.

In response to Thursday's tragedy, many airlines have decided to avoid the air corridors over and surrounding the strife-torn regions of Ukraine. Therefore, belligerent parties in Ukraine should cease fighting immediately to safeguard regional security as well as facilitate investigations.

Some reports say the Malaysia Airlines flight was struck by a surface-to-air missile just meters above a no fly-zone imposed by Ukrainian authorities. If true, this should set the alarm bells ringing, warning the international community that the Ukraine crisis is spinning out of hand and its adverse impact on regional security is deepening.

But before the speculation on the missile proves true, countries should stop pointing the finger at one another because that will only complicate matters further.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has echoed global calls for a "full, transparent and international investigation" into the downing of the Malaysian flight. In fact, the UN should lead the probe into both MH17 and MH370 so that the truth behind the two tragedies can be known and people who have lost their loved ones can get justice.

The author is a senior writer with China Daily. wanghui@chinadaily.com.cn

(China Daily 07/19/2014 page5)

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