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Chinese tamper with downed U.S. spy plane

Posted April. 04, 2001 18:14,   


China`s removal of sensitive equipment from the U.S. navy spy plane that made an emergency landing on Hainan island in the South China Sea after a collision with a Chinese fighter is feared to stir up a diplomatic storm.

CNN quoted the Pentagon as reporting on Tuesday that Chinese soldiers defied an American protest and boarded the plane, removed its crew and removed sophisticated equipment from the plane.

An official of the U.S. embassy in Beijing predicted negotiations with Chinese over the incident would take more than ten days, saying the two countries could discuss the return of the surveillance plane during a meeting to be held in San Francisco in mid-April under an agreement for the prevention of maritime and military incidents between the United States and China.

Earlier on Tuesday Chinese President Jiang Zemin said that responsibility for the collision lay with the American side, calling for an end to U.S. surveillance flights off China`s coast.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhu Bangzao told the press that for the sake of humanitarianism a meeting between an American diplomat and the crew members was arranged, but gave no details.

U.S. President George Bush on Tuesday morning convened an emergency session of the National Security Council to discuss ways of dealing with China`s decision to start dismantling some of the high-tech equipment on the plane.

Lee Jong-Hwan ljhzip@donga.com