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Thursday, April 12, 2001, updated at 09:12(GMT+8)
China  

Spokesperson on the Letter from the US Government Saying "Very Sorry" to the Chinese People (Q&A)

I After the incident, the Chinese side has been insisting that the US side should make an apology. But the US side has so far only said that it is very sorry for the incident. Yet, the Chinese side has decided to allow the US crew members to leave China. Does that mean that the Chinese side has made concessions to the US side over this matter? Or has the US side made any commitments to the Chinese side?

A: US Ambassador Joseph Prueher, the representative plenipotentiary of the US Government for handling the incident, formally handed a letter on behalf of the US Government to Chinese Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan to say ��very sorry�� for the incident. In the letter, the US Government has said ��very sorry�� to the Chinese people and the family of pilot Wang Wei for the missing pilot and aircraft. The US side has also said ��very sorry�� to the Chinese side for its plane entering China��s airspace and landing at a Chinese airfield without acquiring a verbal clearance. Under these circumstances and out of humanitarian considerations, the Chinese Government has decided to allow the US crew members to leave China after completing the necessary procedures. However, it must be pointed out that this case has not concluded yet. The two sides will continue their negotiations on this incident and other related issues.

II The Chinese side has made it clear that the decision to allow the US crew members to return to their country does not imply the conclusion of the incident resulting in the missing of the Chinese pilot. What does that mean exactly by saying that ��it has not concluded��? Does the Chinese side still demand an apology from the US side? Or does it has any more demands?

A: The US military reconnaissance plane rammed into and destroyed a Chinese military plane off the coast of China��s Hainan Province, resulting in the missing of a Chinese pilot, intruded into China��s airspace and landed at a Chinese airfield without permission. This is a serious incident. The responsibility for this incident entirely lies with the US side. According to international law and the provisions of the relevant laws of China, the Chinese side has every right to conduct a comprehensive investigation of this incident. Once the US crew members leave China with the Chinese permission , the two sides will continue their negotiations on this incident and other related issues.

III The Chinese side says that after completing necessary inquires with the US crew members, the Chinese Government will allow them to leave China. Has the Chinese side completed the inquires? What is the result of the inquires? Under what circumstances will the US crew members leave China? How will the Chinese side determine the nature of their involvement in the incident? Will China prosecute them?

A: Our investigation has not completed yet. The Chinese side will reserve the right to make further representations with the US side and handle the incident on the basis of results of the investigation.

IV President Bush asked the Chinese side to release the US crew and return its plane as soon as possible. How will China do to the US plane? Will China return the plane to the US side? If so, when will China do that? What further conditions will the Chinese side raise for the return of the plane?

A: According to international law and the provisions of the relevant laws of China, the Chinese side has every right to conduct a comprehensive investigation of such an incident in which a foreign military reconnaissance plane that rammed into and destroyed a Chinese plane, illegally intruded into China��s airspace and landed at a Chinese airfield. The Chinese side will decide on how to do with the plane on the basis of the results of the investigation.

V The searching and rescuing efforts by the Chinese side for the missing Chinese pilot are still under way and the whereabouts of the pilot are still unknown. As such, why does the Chinese side allow the US crew members to leave China? How does the Chinese side think it appropriate to solve the remaining problems concerning the crashed aircraft and the missing pilot?

A: US Ambassador Joseph Prueher today handed a letter on behalf of the US Government to say ��very sorry�� to the Chinese side. As the US Government has already said ��very sorry�� for the incident in the letter, the Chinese Government has, out of humanitarian considerations, decided to allow its crew members to leave China. The Chinese pilot, Wang Wei, is still missing. The Chinese leadership, Government and people are extremely worried and deeply concerned about his life. We are doing everything possible to search for him.

VI The Chinese side has demanded that the US side stop sending military aircraft to the vicinity of the Chinese coast for reconnaissance activities and take effective measures to prevent the recurrence of such incidents. But the US side has failed to respond to this. Will the Chinese side insist on this? If the US side continues with reconnaissance flights off China��s coast, what measures will the Chinese side take?

A: The reconnaissance activities against China by the US aircraft off China��s coast pose a threat to China��s security interests. We demand that the US side take seriously the solemn representations made by the Chinese side, stop sending aircraft to the vicinity of China��s coast for reconnaissance activities and take effective measures to prevent the recurrence of such incidents.

VII The Chinese side has made it clear that the Chinese and US sides will continue their negotiations on the incident and other related issues. I would like to ask at what levels China and the US will conduct such consultations? What will the two sides discuss in such talks? Will the two side carry out a joint investigation into this incident? Will the two sides continue to implement the relevant consensus reached between them on how to avoid dangerous maritime military actions? Will the two sides consider introducing a new mechanism to prevent the recurrence of such incidents?

A: China and the US have conducted several rounds of diplomatic consultations on the incident in which the US reconnaissance plane rammed into and destroyed a Chinese plane. This case has not concluded yet. The two sides will continue with the negotiations on this incident and other related issues in the coming days. We believe that it is more important to strictly abide by the relevant principles of international law and implement the existing consensus than to introduce a new mechanism. This is the only effective way to avoid the recurrence of such incidents.

VIII What adverse impact does China think the incident has on China-US relations? How does China expect China-US relations to develop in the future?

A: The Chinese side has always attached importance to China-US relations. To develop friendly relations and cooperation between China and the US is the interests of both countries and vital to peace and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region and the world at large. However, it must be based upon the three China-US Joint Communiqu��s and such basic norms governing international relations as mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, mutual non-aggression and non-interference in each other��s internal affairs. It is our hope that the US side will not do anything more to impair the bilateral relations. The US should properly handle this incident and work with the Chinese side to bring the bilateral relations onto the track of normal development.



From the Website of Ministry of Foreign Affairs



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Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Sun Yuxi held a press conference in Beijing Wednesday evening on the collision between a U.S. surveillance plane and a Chinese fighter jet.

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