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Ambassador Lyu Jian and Chinese Government's Joint Working Group Held Meeting with Thai Side

Right after the arrival of Ambassador Lyu Jian and the Chinese government’s joint working group led by Deputy Director-General Chen Xiongfeng of the Department of Consular Affairs of the Chinese Foreign Ministry at Phuket at 11 o' clock on the evening of July 6, they held a meeting with Thai Minister of Tourism and Sports Weerasak Kowsurat and officials from the relevant departments who were waiting at the airport, on the handling of the boats incident.

Ambassador Lyu said that the Chinese side is deeply shocked at the incident and the heavy casualties it has inflicted on the Chinese side. President Xi Jinping has given important directives, calling for all-out efforts in searching for the missing and treating the injured. Premier Li Keqiang also required us to properly deal with the aftermath of the incident. The Chinese side will work closely with the Thai side, so as to fully implement the directives and requirements of the Chinese leaders. The next few days are critical for the search and rescue, we should focus our efforts on the following areas: to search for the missing, to make appropriate arrangement for the injured and their family members, to find out the cause of the incident, and to establish a reception center by the Thai side for family members of the Chinese tourists and facilitate the handling of follow-up matters, and to stay in close communication and make joint efforts to lead public opinion. The Chinese side has set up a leading group for the handling of the incident, which is composed of a team for search and safety affairs, a team for consular and press affairs, and a team for backup support. The group will coordinate closely with the Thai side. The Chinese side has also dispatched professional rescue teams and is ready to provide technical support at anytime. It is hoped and believed that the Thai government will do its best to properly deal with this incident.

Minister Weerasak said that Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha expresses deep sorrow about this incident. He follows closely the search and rescue operation, worries about the safety of Chinese tourists, and entrusts the minister to deal with the incident and provide all convenience to the Chinese side. The Thai side attaches great importance to President Xi Jinping’s remarks, and is searching for the missing with all its strength. The government has called out 800-strong searching force, and a dozen of fishing boats also volunteered to join. 13 Thai naval vessels and 5 helicopters will continue with their search and rescue at 6:30 on the morning of July 7, while 46 divers will search underwater from 8:00. The Thai side has set up a 7-department joint committee which is ready to carry out close cooperation with the Chinese side in dealing with the incident. An initial compensation plan has also been made.

Ambassador Lyu Jian appreciated the positive statement and efforts made by Prime Minister Prayut and the Thai government. He pointed out that the search and rescue operation has come to a critical stage. Time is life, therefore, we must race against the time. Even if there is only a glimmer of hope, it still deserves our all-out efforts. As for the compensation plan, it will be decided based on further consultation with the Thai side, taking into account the developments of the investigation into the cause of the incident and other factors.

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