BEIJING, March 10 -- As China makes all-out efforts to locate the missing passengers on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, experts have weighed in on the importance of China's role in the salvage mission.
Li Jinming, deputy director with the marine policy and law center of Xiamen University, emphasized the need for China's role in the rescue, saying that since almost two-thirds of the passengers on board the plane were Chinese, it is China's "bounden duty" to be part of the rescue efforts.
Li said that China should play an important role in the rescue, noting that the country boasts advantages, as its marine forces are better equipped compared with many neighboring countries and regions.
Shi Yinhong, a professor at the School of International Studies of Renmin University, said that the investigation of the accident following the salvage mission will be long, and that China will be inseparable from the process.
An emergency response team assembled by the Ministry of Transport (MOT) set out early Sunday from south China's Sanya Port in Hainan Province to the waters where the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 might have crashed.
The largest patrol vessel in the South China Sea, Haixun 31, departed from Sanya on Sunday afternoon and is scheduled to arrive at the site on Tuesday afternoon, carrying 50 rescuers as well as equipment including a maritime helicopter and sonar systems.
Rescue vessel South China Sea Rescue 101 is carrying 12 divers and salvagers and will join another rescue vessel, South China Sea Rescue 115, at the rescue site.
The latter ship is scheduled to arrive at the site on Monday night, while South China Sea Rescue 101 will arrive on Tuesday afternoon, according to the MOT.
South China Sea Rescue 101 is 109.7 meters long, with 6,200 tonnes of full load displacement.
Meanwhile, another rescue vessel, Tai Shun Hai of China Ocean Shipping (Group) Company, arrived at the suspected crash site at 9 a.m. Sunday and started searching, according to the MOT.
Contact with the flight was lost along with its radar signal at 2:40 a.m. Beijing time on Saturday as it was flying over the Ho Chi Minh City air traffic control area in Vietnam.
The flight was carrying 12 crew members and 227 passengers, including 154 Chinese.