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A Journey of Valor: Honoring the Rescuers of Lu Peng Yuan Yu 028

The ruthless sea only highlights the compassion of humanity.Through this search and rescue operation, we once again feel the fraternal friendship of the government, the people, and the military of Sri Lanka towards China.

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A Chinese fishing vessel capsized in the central Indian Ocean Image Credit: AP

The Chinese fishing boat “Lu Peng Yuan Yu 028” tragically capsized at the central part of the Indian Ocean on May 16, with 39 Chinese, Indonesian and Filipino crew members on board missing. We are deeply saddened by this tragedy caused by force majeure. May the deceased rest in peace and the living remain strong!

After the accident happened, Chinese President Xi Jinping attached great importance and made important instructions for all-out rescue efforts. Relevant vessels and rescue ships of the Chinese Navy as well as nearby distant-water fishing boats rushed to the site. In the mean time, the Chinese side immediately contacted Sri Lanka, Australia, India, Maldives, Indonesia, the Philippines and other countries for joint search and rescue. The massive operation has covered a total area of nearly 20,000 square nautical miles, covering the maximum possible drift region of people in distress. As we all know, Sri Lankan friends immediately sent a naval vessel and a diving team to the accident site, which was more than 800 nautical miles away.The Sri Lankan divers were the first to dive into the water and enter the hull at the risk of their lives. The Chinese government, the Chinese people and all the families of the crew members of the fishing boat will always remember this special friendship.

On behalf of the Chinese side, I wish to take this opportunity to express oursincere gratitude to President Ranil Wickremesinghe for his decisive and timely decision to provide full assistance; our sincere gratitude to Honorable Sagala Rathnayake for the great coordination thatbought valuable rescue time. I would like to extend our heartfelt thanks totheMinistry of Defense of Sri Lanka, the tri-forces, and all the officers and sailors of Sri Lanka Navy ship Vijayabahu P627 for immediately responding to the order and coming to their aid despite the long distance.

Specially, on behalf of the Chinese side, I would like to pay our most sincere appreciation and highest tribute to the nine brave divers. They are Lieutenant Commander S.A.I.A Subhasinghe, Petty Officer K.P.A. Arunajith, Petty Officer E.M.D.A. Ekanayaka, Petty Officer D.D.N. Jayathissa, Leading Seaman H.D. Darshana, Leading Seaman N.M.C.L. Narayana, Able Seaman W.W.N.C. Sandaruwan, Able Seaman I.D.L.M. Dissanayaka, and Able Seaman R.S. Kumarage.

Finally, I would like to thank all the countries and agencies involved in the search and rescue operation for their timely help. This is not only a joint action to fulfill international obligations, but also a glorious mission to demonstrate the spirit of international humanitarianism.

The ruthless sea only highlights the compassion of humanity.Through this search and rescue operation, we once again feel the fraternal friendship of the government, the people, and the military of Sri Lanka towards China. We also feel deeply that every country and nation belongs tothe global village where we share weal and woe. At a time when global risks and challenges keep emerging, solidarity and cooperation is the only right way forward. Let us join hands to build a community with a shared future for mankind!

Thank you! Sthoo thi! Nandri! 谢谢!

Qi Zhenhong

Qi Zhenhong is a Chinese diplomat. After joining Beijing Service Bureau for Diplomatic Missions (DSB) in the late 1980s he worked in various capacities from an Economist to Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary in the Kingdom of Bahrain. He is a former President of the China Institute of International Studies and currently serving as the Chinese Ambassador to Sri Lanka.

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