US 'Very sorry' to Chinese people

Shanghai Star. 2001-04-12

24 crew memers to leave after completing necessary formalities

BEIJING - Following is the full text of the report by the Xinhua News Agency on the delivery of a US letter yesterday over the collision between a US surveillance plane and a Chinese fighter jet:

While receiving a letter that US Ambassador Joseph Prueher, the representative plenipotentiary of the US Government for handling the incident of a US military reconnaissance plane ramming into and destroying a Chinese military aircraft, handed over to China's Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan on behalf of the US Government this afternoon (Wednesday), Minister Tang pointed out that the US side must take full responsibility for the incident, provide convincing explanations to the Chinese people, stop its reconnaissance activities above the Chinese coast and take measures to stop the recurrence of such incidents.

Ambassador Prueher said in the letter that both President Bush and Secretary of State Powell have expressed their sincere regret over China's missing pilot and aircraft. He said on behalf of the US Government that they were very sorry to the Chinese people and the family of pilot Wang Wei and that they were very sorry for the US plane entering China's airspace and landing without a verbal clearance. The US side also expressed its appreciation of China's efforts to see to the well-being of the American crew.

Minister Tang pointed out that it is a serious incident that the US military reconnaissance plane rammed into and destroyed a Chinese military plane on the morning of April 1 off the coast of China's Hainan Province, leading to the missing of the Chinese pilot, and entered China's airspace and landed at the Chinese airfield without permission. The said US plane intruded into China's territorial airspace and encroached upon China's sovereignty in violation of international law and the provisions of relevant laws of China as well as the consensus that China and the US reached last May on avoiding dangerous maritime military activities. Its act has thus constituted a threat to China's national security. The US side must take full responsibility for the incident. It is entirely reasonable and legitimate for the Chinese side to ask for an apology to the Chinese people from the US side.

Minister Tang emphasized that ever since the US military reconnaissance plane rammed into and destroyed a Chinese military plane, the Chinese side has all along handled this incident with calmness and restraint and in accordance with international law and the provisions of relevant laws of China. The competent departments in China have, out of humanitarian considerations, treated the 24 crew members of the US reconnaissance plane well and arranged for their meetings with US diplomatic and consular officers. He said he noted that the US side expressed in the letter its appreciation to the Chinese side for all this. He told Ambassador Prueher that the Chinese side understands the American people and the families of the crew are eagerly looking forward to an early return of the crew and a reunion with them. As the US Government has already said "very sorry" to the Chinese people, the Chinese Government has, out of humanitarian considerations, decided to allow the crew members to leave China after completing the necessary procedures.

He also pointed out that this is not the conclusion of the case involving the US military plane ramming into a Chinese aircraft, causing the missing of the Chinese pilot, entering the Chinese airspace and landing at a Chinese airfield without permission. The two sides will continue with the negotiations on the matter and other related issues. The Chinese Government and people demand that the US side provide convincing explanations to the Chinese people on this incident, stop sending aircraft to the vicinity of the Chinese coast for reconnaissance activities and take effective measures to avert the recurrence of similar incidents. The US side must understand fully the seriousness of the incident, take seriously the solemn position of the Chinese side and properly handle this incident. It must not make an erroneous judgment and further damage the bilateral relations.

Minister Tang finally stressed that China's sovereign independence, territorial integrity and national dignity brook no infringement. It is China's consistent position that state-to-state relations, including China-US relations, must be based on 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. The Chinese side attaches importance to China-US relations. To develop friendly relations and co-operation between China and the US serves the interests of both countries and the world at large. It is hoped that the US will strictly abide by the three China-US Joint Communiques and the basic norms governing international relations and will refrain from doing anything more to impair the bilateral relations. The US should take a constructive attitude and work with the Chinese side to bring the bilateral relations onto the track of normal development.

Week In Brief

SHANGHAI

Weather this weekend

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A nine-year-old boy died after being crushed by a train Monday at the Shanghai Railway Station. The engineer of the Shanghai-Hangzhou train saw the boy playing on the tracks but was unable to stop the train before it struck the child. The number of such accidents has reached 56 this year.

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