President Xi Jinping has called for all-out efforts to search for and rescue the missing tourists as well as actively treat the injured after two boats with 127 Chinese tourists on board overturned in a storm off Thailand's southern resort island of Phuket on Thursday evening.
The tragedy has caused the death of at least 16 Chinese tourists, and some 33 others are still missing. The remaining 78 Chinese travelers have been rescued, according to the latest report by the Chinese Embassy in Thailand.
Xi has instructed the Chinese Foreign Ministry and Chinese embassies and consulates in Thailand to step up efforts to require the Thai government and related authorities to search for and rescue the missing Chinese and treat the wounded with all-out efforts. The Ministry of Culture and Tourism has been told to assist with relevant work.
During the summer, many people go out for travel, and floods and rain are more frequent. Under such circumstances, relevant departments at all levels across the country should release safety warnings in a timely manner, Xi said.
He required relevant departments to remind travel agencies and tourists to be more aware of risks, take measures to eliminate hidden security dangers, enhance risk monitoring and improve emergency response to better safeguard the safety of lives and public property.
Premier Li Keqiang has also asked for more efforts to protect the safety of Chinese people traveling abroad and safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese citizens through the overseas protection mechanism.
As required by President Xi and Premier Li, the Chinese Foreign Ministry as well as the embassies and consulates in Thailand have activated the emergency response mechanism, and coordinated the Thailand side to make all-out efforts in the search and rescue of Chinese travelers.
The Thailand side is deploying more rescue forces. A joint work team composed of officials from the Chinese Foreign Ministry, the Ministry of Transport and the Ministry of Culture and Tourism is heading to Phuket.