China calls for 'severe punishment' for those involved in UK truck deaths
By Ben Blanchard BEIJING (Reuters) - China called on Britain on Friday to seek 'severe punishment' for those involved in the deaths of 39 people, believed to be Chinese nationals, found in a truck container near London, as a major state-backed paper said Britain should bear some responsibility for the case. Paramedics and police found the bodies of 31 men and eight women on Wednesday on an industrial estate at Grays in Essex, about 20 miles (30 km) east of the British capital. For years, illegal immigrants have stowed away in trucks while attempting to reach Britain, often from the European mainland.
By Ben Blanchard
BEIJING (Reuters) - China called on Britain on Friday to seek "severe punishment" for those involved in the deaths of 39 people, believed to be Chinese nationals, found in a truck container near London, as a major state-backed paper said Britain should bear some responsibility for the case.
Paramedics and police found the bodies of 31 men and eight women on Wednesday on an industrial estate at Grays in Essex, about 20 miles (30 km) east of the British capital.
For years, illegal immigrants have stowed away in trucks while attempting to reach Britain, often from the European mainland. In 2000, 58 Chinese were found dead in a tomato truck at the port of Dover.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said British police were still carrying out their verification work and at present are not able to verify the nationalities of the deceased.
"We hope that the British side can as soon as possible confirm and verify the identities of the victims, ascertain what happened and severely punish criminals involved in the case," she told a daily news briefing.
Hua said that no matter where the victims were from, the case was an enormous tragedy.
The international community should strengthen their cooperation on fighting illegal immigration and on communication and intelligence to prevent such incidents from happening again, she said.
The Chinese embassy in London said it has sent a team to Essex to coordinate with the police.
The widely read Chinese tabloid the Global Times said in a Friday editorial that at the moment it was impossible to say how much responsibility the dead should bear for the tragedy.
"But such a serious humanitarian disaster has occurred under the eyes of the British and Europeans," it said. "It is clear that Britain and relevant European countries have not fulfilled their responsibility to protect these people from such a death."
Even if the victims were found to have been smuggled into the country, their deaths were not their fault, added the paper, which is published by the ruling Communist Party's official People's Daily.
"We hope that Britain and European countries will put into effect their various commitments to human rights and make due efforts for Chinese people to be free from abuse and sudden death."
Britain appears not to have learned its lesson from the Dover incident two decades ago, it added.
"Imagine how thoroughly European countries would take measures if dozens of Europeans were collectively tragically killed in some way," the paper said.
"Could the British and European people ask themselves why they have not been able to avoid a similar tragedy...Did they take all the serious remedial action that they could have?"
(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States
BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.