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China offers funds in search for missing MH370 plane

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China today pledged USD 14.5 million to help fund the search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, the government said in a statement, after the plane vanished in 2014.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, who is visiting Malaysia, made the offer in a meeting with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, according to the statement posted on the central government website.

Australia is leading the difficult search in the southern Indian Ocean for the plane which mysteriously diverted off course on March 8 last year and disappeared with 239 people on board – the majority Malaysians and Chinese.

Li was quoted as saying that he hoped Malaysia and Australia would continue the search and maintain “effective communication” with China.

In September, French officials confirmed that a wing part found on a remote Indian Ocean island was from the ill-fated plane, a month after tests on the flaperon began.

Based on satellite analysis of the plane’s likely trajectory, searchers are scouring the seabed off Australia’s west coast, so far covering some 60,000 square kilometres.

The search area is scheduled to have been completely combed by the end of June 2016.

“There’s still a lot of territory to cover and still a very high prospect that we will find the aircraft there,” Martin Dolan, chief commissioner of the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, said last month.

“If the aircraft is in the (search) area, which we think highly likely, then we will find it.