A ground crew member directs a Royal Australian Air Force AP-3C Orion upon its returns to RAAF base Pearce from searching for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 over the southern Indian Ocean on Wednesday. Photo: AFP
Mainstream Western media has focused on the "intense relations" between China and Malaysia, affected by the missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370, which is still being hunted. Huang Huikang, China's ambassador to Malaysia on Wednesday criticized "some irresponsible Western media" for "creating tensions" in the China-Malaysia relationship.
On the same day, a Chinese female tourist was reportedly kidnapped by suspected Filipino insurgents.
These offer opportunities for Western media to stir up Sino-Malaysian bilateral relations. Frankly speaking, the Chinese public is very dissatisfied against Kuala Lumpur over its handling of the disappearing plane, with some vehemently venting their anger. But these are impulse condemnations and only focus on the issue of the missing flight. It doesn't represent the general attitude toward Malaysia from the whole society.
As time passes, Chinese society will be able to heal itself from trauma caused by the jet tragedy, so will Malaysia discard the backlash against Chinese criticism. The missing MH370 is an unprecedented catastrophe which will inevitably set off a chain reaction. But it's not powerful enough to alter the friendly nature of China-Malaysian relations. The friendliness built on the geopolitical, historical and actual interests of the two is not as fragile as some Western observers expect.
Both Beijing and Kuala Lumpur should strengthen their belief in solid positive relations. The public is susceptible to any surprising events in an information era. This is normal and inevitable. The Sino-Malaysian relationship needs to withstand and tolerate temporary public alienation.
As China has more intensive communications with the outside world, it will encounter a high probability of frictions with others. These unpleasant episodes could never be used as excuses to terminate interactions.
The distressed families and relatives of the victims onboard the plane, as well as those showing sympathy to them, are not obliged to care about China's diplomacy at this sorrowful moment. In front of some Western media's intentions to set Beijing and Kuala Lumpur at loggerheads, we have no other choices but face up to the complicated situation. But the bilateral relations won't be easily derailed.
Grass-roots voices have played an important role in affecting China's foreign relations. The missing MH370 has presented the world with the increasing diversity of China. Adaptation will take place naturally.
The Chinese official diplomatic attitude should be clear-cut and unshakable. Public opinion, in particular online opinion, is often in confusion and in contradiction with the core interests of the nation. The official side shouldn't be influenced by populism. Media should also take responsibility. A rational manner when facing major public events is a lesson Chinese media must learn.
Read more in Special Coverage: