News / Asia

China Hesitant to Accuse Russia for Plane Crash

Flowers are placed on a plane engine at the crash site of a Malaysia Airlines jet near the village of Hrabove, eastern Ukraine, July 19, 2014.
Flowers are placed on a plane engine at the crash site of a Malaysia Airlines jet near the village of Hrabove, eastern Ukraine, July 19, 2014.

The missile attack against a civilian airliner high above eastern Ukraine, killing all 298 aboard, is already seen as a pivotal moment in the Ukraine crisis. China has said the conflict is an internal struggle that should be negotiated peacefully, but has resisted joining Western-led sanctions against Moscow.

After the MH17 crash, China joined the international community expressing condolences for the victims and their families.

In a statement issued shortly after the tragedy, the country's Foreign Ministry said it was shocked by the crash and hoped the causes would be found as soon as possible.

But while some countries, including Australia and the United States, have "pointed the finger" at Russia - which they say is arming the rebels in Donetsk and is likely to have provided technical assistance with the missile that downed the plane - China has refrained from making any accusation.

Zhu Feng, a professor of international relations at Peking University, says China will not rush to a conclusion too early, and the severity of the incident calls for an independent international investigation.

“If Russia will be found responsible for this, then Russia will have to shoulder that responsibility. But we cannot just pick a conclusion and say that Russia is behind this as a certainty,” he said.

Rockets have shot down passenger planes before. Here are a few examples:

October 4, 2001

Ukraine's military is conducting an exercise shooting missiles at drones when one missile locks onto a Siberia Airlines plane en route from Novosibirsk to Tel Aviv.  All 78 people on board are killed.

July 3, 1988

U.S. warship Vincennes mistakes Iranian passenger plane for a threatening warplane during the war between Iraq and Iran. All 290 people on board are killed when the airliner is shot down over the Gulf.

September 1, 1983

A Soviet fighter jet shoots down a Korean Air Lines passenger jet over Soviet airspace after mistaking it for a spy plane. All 269 people on board are killed, including U.S. Representative Lawrence McDonald of Georgia.

April 20, 1978  

A Soviet fighter plane attacks an off-course South Korean jetliner. Two passengers die after the plane is forced to crash land.

February 21, 1973

Israeli jets fire at a Libyan Airlines flight traveling from Tripoli to Cairo that drifted into Israeli airspace. Israel claims the plane refused to identify itself. The airliner loses control and crashes, killing 108 people. Five survive the crash.

 

State media conveyed a similar message in an editorial Friday.

Xinhua said, “As there is still no convincing evidence on who is responsible for bringing down the unlucky Malaysian airliner MH17 over eastern Ukraine, any precipitate leap to a conclusion on the crash will only be detrimental to efforts for impartial investigation and calm the situation.”

The editorial quoted Russian President Vladimir Putin's position that Ukraine bears the responsibility as the tragedy occurred over its territory.

David Zweig, professor of politics at Hong Kong's University of Science and Technology, says China's restraint reflects Beijing's ambivalence about the conflict in Ukraine.

“It matches pretty much their view about the separatists in eastern Ukraine, which is that they don't like them but they don't want to hurt the relationship with Putin,” he said.

Russia's annexation of Crimea, as well as mounting evidence that Putin is sponsoring rebel forces in eastern Ukraine did not sit well in China.

Beijing has long championed the principle of non-interference in other countries' affairs and at home; it blames separatism for heightened tensions in ethnically diverse areas such as Tibet and Xinjiang.

“If the separatists [in Ukraine] get a bad reputation, that doesn't hurt China, only as it gets closer to Russia maybe they'd gonna be more concerned,” said David Zweig.

In response to the crash, the United States announced it will extend the scope of sanctions against Russia.

While analysts in China say the tragedy might spur more attention to the conflict in Ukraine, the Chinese government is not likely to endorse sanctions or publicly shame Russia.

  • Vice President Joe Biden:  ``(The plane) apparently has been shot down - shot down, not an accident, blown out of the sky.''
  • President Vladimir Putin: ``This tragedy would not have happened if there had been peace on that land, or in any case if military operations in southeastern Ukraine had not been renewed. And without doubt, the government of the territory on which it happened bears responsibility for this frightening tragedy. We will do everything that we can so that an objective picture of what happened can be achieved. This is a completely unacceptable thing.''
  • German Chancellor Angela Merkel: ``We need to start an independent investigation as quickly as possible. A ceasefire is needed for that and it's important that those responsible are bought to justice. There are many indications that the plane was shot down, so we have to take things very seriously.  (I am making) a very clear call for the Russian president and government to make their contribution to bringing about a political solution.''
  • Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak: ``If it transpires that the plane was indeed shot down, we insist that the perpetrators must swiftly be brought to justice.''
  • Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko:  ``(The) tragedy showed again that terrorism is not localized, but a world problem. And the external aggression against Ukraine is not just our problem, but a threat to European and global security.''
  • Aleksandr Borodai, Prime Minister of the self proclaimed 'Donetsk People's Republic: ``Apparently, it's a passenger airliner ... truly shot down  by the Ukrainian Air Force.''
  • Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott: ``We all know that there are problems in Ukraine. We also know who is very substantially to blame for those problems, and the idea that Russia can somehow say that none of this had anything to do with them because it happened in Ukrainian air space frankly does not stand up to any serious scrutiny.''

 

You May Like

Photogallery Americans Celebrate Thanksgiving With Feasts, Festivities

Holiday traditions include turkey dinners, 'turkey trots,' American-style football and New York parade with giant balloons More

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

With two years left in term, analysts say, president has less to lose by taking conversation on race further More

Video Italian Espresso Expands Into Space

When Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti headed for the ISS, her countrymen worried how she would survive six months drinking only instant coffee More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Scotty from: London
July 21, 2014 4:58 AM
What would Russia gain from shooting down this aircraft? Nothing but international condemnation so ask yourself a logical question. Ukraine is being run by right wing fascists so is there any wonder many Ukrainians want out and Crimea was a Russian province anyway. Ukraine government is fighting in Eastern Ukraine and it has the BUK system from the Soviet era so this is either an appalling miscalculation by a military which is the most likely scenario or someone whipped up a hatred of Russia by committing a cynical and ruthless act. Ukraine by the way, had an elected president until recently and had that still been the case, non of this would have happened but somebody armed the fascists and let them burn people alive in buildings.


by: eunuch from: Beijing
July 20, 2014 3:22 PM
China is just a coward, who bullied smaller neighbors and knees to Russia.


by: William Li from: Canada
July 20, 2014 1:11 PM
No doubt Ukraine government did this and try to blame it on Russia and rebels! Why Ukraine deployed BUK missiles in east Ukraine since rebels don't have warplanes at all?

In Response

by: Mike from: California
July 21, 2014 1:28 AM
William.. Get your facts straight. Russia needs to get out of Ukraine and stop stealing land.


by: melvin lee from: malaysia
July 19, 2014 6:53 PM
China, Russia, North Korea,Burma ,etc., are all big liars .

In Response

by: unclesam20009 from: Shengzhen, China
July 20, 2014 1:03 AM
Don't blame China! Blame the government! All Chinese people know who is the perpetrator. There is no doubt that Putin is! All Chinese people know who is our friend: America or Russia? There is no doubt that is America. But for some political reasons, the American values, democracy and freedom, pose the greatest threat to Chinese communist part's core interest: dictatorship! But Putin never will threat the CCP's core interest. So Chinese people see America as friend, while the CCP( the government) view Putin as friend!


by: Huno from: Spain
July 19, 2014 9:50 AM
Severe sanctions on Russia can stop Putin! If we are so divided to do that,Putin destroys EU and Ukraine!!!

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
To Make A Living, Nairobi Street Vendors Face Legal Hurdles, Physical Violencei
X
Lenny Ruvaga
November 27, 2014 7:05 PM
The Nairobi City Council has been accused of brutality in dealing with hawkers in the Central Business District - in order to stop them from illegally selling their wares on the streets. Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video To Make A Living, Nairobi Street Vendors Face Legal Hurdles, Physical Violence

The Nairobi City Council has been accused of brutality in dealing with hawkers in the Central Business District - in order to stop them from illegally selling their wares on the streets. Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

Throughout the crisis in Ferguson, Missouri, President Barack Obama has urged calm, restraint and respect for the rule of law. But the events in Ferguson have prompted him to call — more openly than he has before — for profound changes to end the racism and distrust that he believes still exists between whites and blacks in the United States. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Online Magazine Gets Kids Discussing Big Questions

Teen culture in America is often criticized for being superficial. But an online magazine has been encouraging some teenagers to explore deeper issues, and rewarding their efforts. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky went to this year’s Kidspirit awards ceremony in New York.
Video

Video US Community Kicks Off Thanksgiving With Parade

Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday whose roots go back to the country's earliest days as a British colony. One way Americans celebrate the occasion is with parades. Anush Avetisyan takes us to one such event on the day before Thanksgiving near Washington, where a community's diversity is on display. Joy Wagner narrates
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid