Missing MAS plane: Xi initiates emergency measures to locate aircraft

BEIJING (REUTERS, CHINA DAILY/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Chinese President Xi Jinping called for emergency measures to find the missing Malaysian flight that went missing while flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

Xi ordered the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Chinese embassies and consulates to strengthen contact with relevant countries and pay close attention to the search and rescue work for the plane.

He also ordered the Ministry of Transportation and the Civil Aviation Administration to launch emergency measures to ensure the "absolute safety" of China's civil aviation operations.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang meanwhile urged Malaysia to quickly and vigorously push search and rescue work in a call with Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, Xinhua said while Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi convened an urgent inter-ministerial meeting.

China has joined in the search and rescue effort.

Beijing, which has 153 of its nationals on the missing plane, said it had ordered maritime patrol vessels to begin scouring the area. Eight ships belonging to the Nanhai Rescue Bureau and the Hainan Maritime Safety Administration have also been kept on standby to locate the missing plane and rescue any survivors.

An aircraft fleet is reportedly also ready to take off.