China thanks Thailand for rescue efforts

China thanks Thailand for its ongoing search and rescue operation after boat accidents on July 5 in the rough sea off Phuket that led to the deaths and injuries of a large number of tourists, most of them Chinese.

In his meeting with Tourism and Sports Minister Weerasak Kowsurat at the auditorium of the Phuket international airport this morning, Chinese Ambassador to Thailand Lyu Jian said it is necessary for Thailand and China to step up a cooperation to create a favourable tourism image of the two countries.

As of last night, it was reported that 33 passengers of the Phoenix dive boat died and 23 still missing.
The Chinese ambassador said concentration should now be given to the search for the missing tourists, establishment of the causes of the accidents and remedial actions for the victims.

Mr Lyu said the Chinese government hopes the Thai government will set up a centre to provide convenience for the relatives of the victims of the boat accidents. He expected them to come in a large number.

The ambassador also said his government attaches much importance on information on the search operation which should be provided to both the Thai and Chinese media for further publication.

Mr Weerasak said the Thai government would like to express deep regret for the accidents. He added that the Thai government has tried its best to provide assistance for the victims.

He said a centre, chaired by the Phuket governor, has been set up to direct the search and rescue operation, with support from the army, navy and police. About 800 people are now involved in the operation, he added.

Mr Weerasak said investigation will also carried out to take legal action against those responsible for the accidents. Seven committees have been set up for this purpose.