Breaking:China to release crew because we APOLOGISED! : LUSENET : Unk's Wild Wild West : One Thread

Must have delivered the apology overnight!

-- Marg (, April 11, 2001


Read the article again. It says nothing about us apologizing for the incident. We apologized for making an emergency landing in China. We did not apologize for the death of the pilot. America wins.

-- Dr. Pibb (, April 11, 2001.

Xinhua quoted the letter as saying, "Please convey to the Chinese people and to the family of pilot Wang Wei that we are very sorry for their loss."

I did read it Dr. Pibb. Sure sounds like an apology to me. But, if we're going to argue semantics in a Klintoonesque fashion, let's go.......

-- Marg (, April 11, 2001.

Here is an article that better explains why America did not give China the apology it originally demanded. China to free American servicemen/women

-- Dr. Pibb (, April 11, 2001.


The MSNBC article you presented DID apologize for the death of the pilot [if "I'm sorry that the pilot was killed." is considered an apology.] The REST of the article kindof went into the history of the whole thing, and by the time one reaches the bottom, one would think that the crew would NEVER be released. I don't like MSNBC articles in general, so that isn't YOUR fault.

It looks to me like you and Marg disagree on the term "apologize". Marg and I both see "I'm sorry" as an apology, while you seem to concentrate on the thought that there was no admission of guilt [which there wasn't]. I don't think either side expected an admission of guilt. If I poke SO in the nose by accident, I'm going to say, "I'm sorry." I'm NOT going to say, "I'm sorry that I intentionally poked you in the nose.", nor will I say "I'm sorry that your nose hurts but it shouldn't have been near my elbow."

-- Anita (, April 11, 2001.

Thanks Anita. Dr. Pibb, I think part of our misunderstanding is that I'm listening to Fox news and they are reporting on what the Chinese papers and media have quoted us as saying. They say we have apologised and are changing what was actually in the letter that was given, to "save face"

-- Marg (, April 11, 2001.


The letter of two sorries

April 11, 2001

Web posted at: 8:44 AM EDT (1244 GMT)

The following is the text of the letter written by U.S. Ambassador to China Joseph Prueher to Chinese Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan, expressing that the United States is sorry for the loss of the Chinese pilot and that a U.S. Navy plane landed in China without permission.

Dear Mr. Minister:

On behalf of the United States government, I now outline steps to resolve this issue.

Both President Bush and Secretary of State Powell have expressed their sincere regret over your missing pilot and aircraft. Please convey to the Chinese people and to the family of pilot Wang Wei that we are very sorry for their loss.

Although the full picture of what transpired is still unclear, according to our information, our severely crippled aircraft made an emergency landing after following international emergency procedures. We are very sorry the entering of China's airspace and the landing did not have verbal clearance, but very pleased the crew landed safely. We appreciate China's efforts to see to the well-being of our crew.

In view of the tragic incident and based on my discussions with your representative, we have agreed to the following actions:

Both sides agree to hold a meeting to discuss the incident. My government understands and expects that our aircrew will be permitted to depart China as soon as possible.

The meeting would start April 18, 2001.

The meeting agenda would include discussion of the causes of the incident, possible recommendations whereby such collisions could be avoided in the future, development of a plan for prompt return of the EP-3 aircraft, and other related issues. We acknowledge your government's intention to raise U.S. reconnaissance missions near China in the meeting.


Joseph W. Prueher

-- Peg (, April 11, 2001.

What the Chinese news is saying.

US Side Must Take Full Responsibility for Incident: Chinese Foreign Minister

2001.04.11 18:22:29

BEIJING, April 11 (Xinhuanet) -- 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 Minister Tang on behalf of the US Government this afternoon, China's Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan 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 1 April 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 cooperation 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. Enditem

-- Peg (, April 11, 2001.

At least we weren't subjected to the "tie the yellow ribbon 'round the old oak tree BS". A "sorry" is not an apology altho I'm sure the Chinese people were told that it was.

I just hope that we did not immpress the Chinese govermnment that we are wimps and will not continue to surveill their aggressive military activities and weopons development.

BTW, Anita, quit poking SO in the nose.

-- Lars (, April 11, 2001.

Okay, I'll bite.

If "sorry" is not an apology, what is it?

-- Tarzan the Ape Man (, April 11, 2001.

Oh, it's an apology, plain and simple. In the Byzantine world of diplomacy, though, where even the clothes chosen for a given meeting have significance, this DOES permit both sides to claim victory.

We didn't say we were sorry for CAUSING the incident. Further, the statement was issued by our ambassador and NOT the President himself. Compare this to what Clinton (correctly!) did when we accidentally bombed that Chinese embassy; he personally and publicly expressed an apology, no holds barred.

China gets to claim that it's an apology, so their conservatives are mollified. Bush gets to claim that we didn't apologize for causing the accident, so he doesn't get completely egg-faced.

I would imagine that the past few days were actually spend with both sides hammering out the precise wording of these two letters, and precisely WHO would say what.

-- Stephen M. Poole (, April 11, 2001.

The original request from the Chinese was for a word that meant, In Chinese, "I'm sorry for your loss and accept blame for the situation". What America offered was "I'm sorry for your loss".

They did partially accept blame for entering Chinese airspace after the accident, but it's implied that that was unavoidable and isn't the same as accepting blame for causing the accident. It's pretty straightforward, and the US didn't back down on the original idea - to not accept blame for the accident itself.

I'd say the US came out a little bit ahead in the blame game, for whatever that's worth, and that international airspace recon will (and should) continue.

-- Bemused (and_amazed@you.people), April 11, 2001.


Here's what happened from my point of view:

1. China kidnapped some Americans (and their vehicle) and held them hostage.

2. We negotiated an acceptable "ransom," at which point they were freed.

(3. China's still got the vehicle and Satan will start selling ice cream at 5th and Main Street in Hell before we see it again.)

-- Stephen M. Poole (, April 12, 2001.

I don't know if I could work up any outrage even if the Chinese never returned that plane. It almost could be considered a spoil of war, even if the "war" currently is a rather tepid post-cold war. Supposedly the crew deleted any secret codes and information that might be useful to the Chinese, although if any of that stuff was saved on any type of magnetic-storage hard drive, it's probably mostly recoverable.

I wonder if there was any photographic account of the collision on that plane? You would think that it would make sense to film the approach of Chinese interceptors, for recon training purposes if nothing else. I also wonder if such film would ever make it back to the States if it didn't show the "right" evidence... I could see the Chinese deleting it now, or the US pilots deleting it right after the first debriefing in China, depending on what it showed.

-- Bemused (and_amazed@you.people), April 12, 2001.

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