It is a desperately tragic event, but trying to solve the mystery of Flight MH370 has seen many countries working together in an amazing spirit of international co-operation.

At the time of writing, Flight MH370 hasn’t been found and traces of the pings from the black box have been lost. Many commentators and experts think the true story of the missing plane might never be told, though underwater searchers are still examining a section of the Indian Ocean – about 2000km off the coast of Perth, Western Australia.

The South China Sea, where the flight originally disappeared, is an area of the world full of secrecy and mistrust. Yet political unease and tension over territory have been put aside and countries previously cold towards each other have worked together to find the plane.

Eight countries are directly assisting Malaysia in trying to establish the whereabouts of Flight MH370 – United States of America, Britain, France, New Zealand, China, Australia, Japan and South Korea. But in other political areas, there are sometimes frosty relationships between some of the countries. China is a communist country, and neither they nor the citizens of Malaysia enjoy the same freedoms as people in America, New Zealand, France, Britain, Australia, South Korea and Japan.

It is clear that countries – and their leaders – are able to work together in times of crisis. They can work to try and solve an international problem when lives are at risk. If, though, countries can put aside their differences to search for a missing plane, why can’t they do it more often over other things?

Russia is currently threatening to cause a civil war in Ukraine by invading a part of the east of the country. Only a few months ago these two countries were competing peacefully alongside each other at the Sochi Winter Olympics.

There are underlying tensions and different ways of doing things in every country. Every country wants to protect its own citizens and interests, and leaders have a duty to ensure that citizens are safe from threats from other countries. Yet we have seen in the last few weeks during the terrible, and mysterious, tragedy of Flight MH370 that when it really matters these nine countries – New Zealand included – have shown the rest of the world how to work together.

Article written by Ben Egerton

[colored_box color=”green”]This is an opinion-based article designed to provoke debate, discussion and further inquiry
amongst your students:[/colored_box] 

[colored_box color=”yellow”]Critical Thinking Challenges:

1. Some countries are willing to share resources with the rest of world – and take the lead at times of human crisis (like finding Flight MH370 or going to countries after natural disasters). Why do you think some countries are willing to do this and other countries might not?

2. The search for Flight MH370 is taking a long time and costing a lot of money. Where do you think the money is coming from? Who’s responsible for paying for it?

3. Why does the disappearance of an aeroplane grab our attention?

4. What does it mean, in the third paragraph, by ‘countries previously cold to each other’?


[colored_box color=”green”]Practical Tasks:

Visit and read through the information about how different countries are contributing to the international search effort.





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