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Hundreds of people are missing after a cruise ship carrying 456 people overturned on the Yangtze River in China’s Hubei province.
Officials say five people have been confirmed dead and at least 15 people survived, leaving more than 430 people unaccounted for.
The Eastern Star overturned late Monday in stormy weather and, according to CCTV reports, it had been carrying 406 Chinese passengers, five travel agency employees and 47 crew members.
CCTV also reported that most of the passengers were senior citizens, 50 to 80 years of age. BBC weather forecaster Peter Gibbs said there were severe thunderstorms in the area.
The Eastern Star was having a journey of at least 1,500km (930 miles) from the eastern city of Nanjing to Chongqing in the south-west.
President of China Xi Jinping issued an order for rescue teams to join “all-out” search efforts for possible survivors of the disaster.
The sinking of the Eastern Star may become China’s worst shipping disaster in nearly 70 years.
In other news, there is an ongoing confrontation between China from one side, and the US and its allies from the other side, over the tiny islands in the South China Sea.
For many decades, China, Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei have insisted that all or part of the islands belong to them.
The US is planning to deploy its warships and warplanes to the 12-mile zone around the newly built Chinese military base on the islands.
US president Barack Obama has urged Asian countries, particularly China, to respect the law and stop “throwing elbows.”
Furthermore, Russia and China are planning to perform bilateral naval military exercises in the South China Sea, according to comments by Russia’s Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov.
US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter has recently stated that the US would not back down.
“There should be no mistake: the United States will fly, sail and operate wherever international law allows, as U.S. forces do all over the world,” Carter said at the Shangri-La defense conference in Singapore.
The Chinese are known for their unwillingness to retreat from any conflict, which means the South China Sea conflict could have high chances for further escalation.
Images via Xinhua/REX Shutterstock, XIAO YIJIU/XINHUA/ZUMA PRESS, REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
Written by MYC Bulletin Writer Polina TikhonovaSubscribe to UpdatesRelated Articles