STANDOFF WITH CHINA
The Michigan Daily - Friday, April 6, 2001- 5
China still wants an apology
The Washington Post
HAIKOU, China - China said yesterday the Unit-
ed States has moved in the right direction by express-
ing regret over the loss of a Chinese pilot whose jet
c lided with a U.S. surveillance plane, as diplomatic
cWrts accelerated in hopes of easing the standoff
between Washington and Beijing and ending the
detention here of 24 U.S. crew members.
A Foreign Ministry spokesman, Sun Yuxi, repeated
Chinese demands that the United States issue an official
apology about Sunday's collision, which occurred over
the South China Sea about 70 nautical miles southeast
of Hainan Island. But in what was seen as a diplomatic
opening, he would not say whether that is a condition
for the crew's release, adding, "We do not want to see
U.S.-Chinese relations affected by this incident."
"The regret expressed by the U.S. side is a step in
*right direction to solving this question," Sun said
at a news conference in Beijing. He made no mention
of President Jiang Zemin's previous demand that the
United States stop its surveillance flights along the
Chinese coast. In addition, China's state-run media
toned down coverage yesterday of the standoff, and
U.S. diplomats reported better access to Chinese offi-
cials to discuss the crisis.
In Washington, State Department spokesman
Richard Boucher said talks with China were "at a sen-
sitive moment." Another senior State Department offi-
cial said that U.S. Ambassador to Beijing Joseph W.
Prueher and Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister Zhou
Wenzhong yesterday discussed whether an existing
bilateral maritime commission might investigate the
circumstances of the collision and Chinese complaints
about U.S. surveillance flights.
Another administration official said they also dis-
cussed what expressions of regret or sympathy might
ease tensions over the incident. And he said the Chinese
indicated U.S. diplomats would get another opportunity
to meet with the plane's crew in Hainan. "That was the
most concrete manifestation of forward movement," he
said. U.S. Embassy officials briefed Powell by tele-
phone several times during the night, Washington time.
Speaking to newspaper editors later in Washington,
President Bush repeated an expression of U.S. regret,
first made Wednesday by Secretary of State Colin
Powell, about the fate of the missing Chinese pilot,
Wang Wei. Bush again urged China to free the U.S.
crew without further delay.
"I regret that a Chinese pilot is missing, and I regret
one of their airplanes is lost. Our prayers go out to the
family, to the pilot. Our prayers are also with our own
servicemen and women, and they need to come home,"
he said. "Our message to the Chinese is we should not
let this incident destabilize relations. Our relationship
with China is very important. But they need to realize
that it's time for our people to be home."
In an important signal, the president's remarks were
reported by official Chinese news agencies, which
previously had not covered U.S. explanations of the
Talks between Deputy Secretary of State Richard L.
Armitage and Chinese Ambassador Yang Jiechi also
preceded the Bush statement at midday. An adminis-
tration official said that Prueher is expected to meet
with a senior Foreign Ministry official today, and that
the tone of that meeting would be an important indica-
tion of whether yesterday's exchanges and Bush's
comments would lead to an end of the standoff.
Chinese President Jiang Zemin speaks to reporters at La Moneda presidential palace
in Santiago, Chile, yesterday. Jiang repeated his demand that the United States mgst
apologize for the collision.
'*W ashington Post
BEIJING - When 24 U.S. service-
men and women made an emergency
landing on a Chinese airfield Sunday,
they presented China's military with a
golden opportunity to advance the
goal that dominates its strategy:
reuniting Taiwan with the mainland.
First, possession of the U.S. Navy
03E has provided access to some of
ieadvanced technology that symbol-
izes U.S. military dominance in Asia.
Second, for some in the Chinese hier-
archy, the standoff over the detained
U.S. crew has been a chance to test
how far the United States will go to
defend its role in the Taiwan Strait.
China's strenuous military modern-
ization, made possible by a growing
economy, is aimed at enabling Beijing
to threaten Taiwan if necessary to
#y out the Communist leadership's
pledge of reuniting the island with the
mainland. In addition, the Chinese
effort is designed to create as many
obstacles as possible for the United
States should it want to defend Tai-
wan in hostilities, something military
experts call area denial.
The modernization, according to
Ken Allen, a former assistant air
*che in Beijing, seeks in particular
t push China's defensive perimeter
out farther" This was one of the main
lessons of the Persian Gulf and Koso-
vo wars for Chinese military plan-
ners, who saw how U.S. forces did not
need to fly just above a target or send
ground troops to destroy it.
To accomplish this, China's mili-
tary must become a sea and air power,
and not just a continental one, for the
first time in Chinese history. The air
f e, navy and army missile forces
e made rapid progress in their
attempt to do so, although the pro-
gram has encountered many problems
and ground forces still dominate the
2.4 million-strong People's Liberation
When the United States dispatched
two aircraft carrier battle groups to
the region following large-scale Chi-
n e military exercises near Taiwan in
6, the Chinese were unable to
locate the carriers. Since then, West-
ern military officers said, Chinese
spotting techniques have significantly
improved. Over the past year, Chinese
fighters have regularly flown into the
middle of the Taiwan Strait; they
often patrol the halfway point.
"There is a growing sense of profi-
ciency, of the right to be out there and
doing this," Allen said.
'This point was dramatically illus-
tedin an unusual report by a pro-
Beijing newspaper in Hong Kong in
June 1999. Although two years old,
the report has hints of what happened
over the South China Sea on Sunday
morning. The newspaper, Wen Wei
Po, interviewed several Chinese pilots
flying missions to intercept what the
report intimated were U.S. surveil-
#With consummate flying skill and
the wisdom of being bold but cau-
tious, the Chinese aircraft flew in for-
mation within 30 meters (100 feet)
from the foreign plane," one section
read. Pilot "Zhang Junsheng saw the
pilot of the foreign plane signal with
his left hand in a yellow glove that
- c Lt'y
Qs CHNA Shanghai
ing . ; rt " CHINA
Pentagon speculates jet was
flying too close to spy plane
Los Angeles Times
r . ./ #_
pp finu' Sea ~
WASHINGTON - The American spy plane at the center
of a U.S.-Chinese diplomatic storm may have been disabled
when an aggressive Chinese fighter pilot flew too close
beneath the Navy EP-3 and was sucked by turbulent air cur-
rents against the belly of the larger aircraft, Defense Depart-
ment officials said yesterday.
Piecing together the possible causes of the midair collision
from what they admit was limited evidence, Pentagon offi-
cials speculated that the fighter pilot may have lost control
after flying as close as 10 feet from the American plane in an
effort to intimidate its crew.
The collision probably smashed the Chinese F-8's cockpit
and threw off debris that damaged the EP-3's propellers, nose
cone and flaps, officials said.
Officials acknowledged that their analysis was partly
guesswork, based on the appearance of the damaged aircraft
in photos from China, on a brief radio conversation with the
American pilot just after the collision, and their knowledge of
recent U.S. reconnaissance flights in the region.
U.S. officials have not had a conversation about the acci-
dent with the 24 U.S. crew members, who have been detained
by the Chinese since the crippled American plane landed in
southern China shortly after the incident Sunday morning.
The U.S. description of the events differs radically froni the
version offered by the Chinese, who say the collision too<
place when the U.S. plane suddenly veered into their snaler
U.S. defense officials say they strongly believe the U.S.
plane was flying straight and steady. They say the EP-3's fast
turn occurred a little less than 10 minutes before the collision
as it made a U-turn away from the Chinese coast and toward
Okinawa, Japan, where its flight originated.
Congress rethinking visits to
China, trade relations policy
Los Angeles Times
WASHINGTON - Even if the United States and China
manage to resolve their differences soon, the standoff over a
collision between two military planes has galvanized American
lawmakers hostile to Beijing and tested the goodwill of those
open to dealing with the Communist regime.
The fallout for the Chinese government has been heavy on
Capitol Hill. Several lawmakers are rethinking plans to visit
China during their two-week spring break. Others are mount-
ing an effort to rescind the U.S. policy of normal trade relations
with the world's most populous nation.
Inevitably, the longer the standoff continues, the more it will
influence lawmakers who are concerned about other aspects of
For instance, Sen. George Allen (R-Va.) introduced legisla-
tion yesterday to grant citizenship to a Virginia resident, Gao
Zhan, who has been held by Chinese authorities as an alleged
spy since February. And dozens of lawmakers are advocating
sales of advanced naval weaponry to Taiwan, which Beijing
considers a rogue province.
With so much riding on the U.S.-China relationship, many
lawmakers say even if the current dispute is resolved soon, Bei-
jing will have endangered its political capital on Capitol Hill.
Apology a touchy subject
The Washington Post
The collision of a U.S. Navy surveil-
lance plane and a Chinese fighter jet
has landed the Bush administration in
the middle of one of Asia's touchiest
subjects, the diplomacy of apology.
For the Chinese government, extract-
ing an apology from the United States
represents an important diplomatic
goal and a matter of "face," or respect.
For the Bush administration, making an
apology would be an admission of
guilt, humbling the White House not
only in the eyes of Asian countries but
also among conservative Republicans
who want the United States to stand up
An apology would also carry legal
weight, Bush administration officials
fear, with possible implications if
China wanted to put the U.S. plane's
pilot on trial, or press for compensa-
tion, or wrangle an agreement that the
United States would wease flying sur-
veillance planes close to China's
"I think there's a big difference," said
an administration official. Regret for
the loss of the Chinese pilot - which
Secretary of State Colin Powell
expressed Wednesday and President
Bush repeated yesterday - "is fine.
And apologizing is different."
Food for Thought
Winning & Losing
In surveys taken, 82% of
Vietnam Vets who saw
heavy combat strongly
believe the war was lost
because of lack of will,
not of arms.
Gary Lillie & Assoc., Realtors