PUTRAJAYA, Malaysia, July 22 (Xinhua) -- China will not give up hope in finding the whereabouts of Flight MH370 once a multinational operation covering the current search area in the Indian Ocean is completed, said a Chinese official on Friday.
Minister of Transportation Yang Chuantang made the remarks here at a press conference where he and his counterparts from Malaysia and Australia announced the joint decision to suspend the search operation if the remaining less than 10,000 sq kilometers is scoured and no new evidence emerges.
"Suspension does not mean a termination of the search work. In the future, should key information leading to the location of the aircraft emerges, it will be assessed to determine our next steps," said Yang.
Yang said China is willing to extend the operation time of the sonar ship Dong Hai Jiu 101 after it offered 20 million Australian dollars last year to help maintain the search. "Currently, the crew of Dong Hai Jiu 101 is still on the search mission in the Indian Ocean."
Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 disappeared on March 8, 2014 en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people on board, most of them being Chinese nationals.
China, Australia and Malaysia had previously agreed to comb a search area of 120,000 square kilometer, which has the highest possibility finding debris belonging to the plane.