Tags: China | Demand | Compensation

China to Demand Compensation

Thursday, 03 May 2001 12:00 AM

Quoting official sources in Beijing, the Hong Kong newspaper said the Chinese side will argue that the U.S. should pay compensation and will cite the May 1999 bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade by U.S.-led NATO forces as a precedent.

Three Chinese journalists were killed in the bombing.

U.S. officials have stated that Washington will not pay any compensation to China for the spy plane incident.

The same position was repeated on Tuesday by the newly confirmed Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, James Kelly, in testimony to the sub-committee on East Asia and the Pacific of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

In his testimony, Kelly specifically ruled out paying China for the return of the aircraft.

"There will be no reparations. No payments," he said, adding that Washington would only consider meeting the cost of transporting the EP-3E Aries II surveillance aircraft from Hainan Island.

The spy plane was left at Hainan's Lingshui Air Base after it collided with a Chinese F-8 fighter jet on April 1. The fighter pilot, Wang Wei, was killed.

China has accused the U.S. plane of ramming into the Chinese jet but the U.S. insists that the aircraft was flying straight and level and it was the Chinese jet that was at fault.

The Chinese sources declined to reveal how much money Beijing would be seeking but said Chinese negotiators would take the 1999 bombing as a reference point.

In January 2001, the U.S. Government agreed to pay $28 million to cover some of the reconstruction costs of the destroyed Chinese embassy, but Washington has refused to term the payment as "compensation".

The Chinese sources added that each family of the three Chinese journalists killed in Belgrade had received $1.5 million as "humanitarian assistance" from an American fund. However, this was never counted as part of the "compensation" by the U.S.

One Beijing source said the issue of compensation would have a direct bearing on the decision on when to return the damaged aircraft to the U.S.

The source said the Chinese leadership had been under pressure as many citizens and the military had demanded the government take a tough stance in handling the collision aftermath.

According to the source, the Chinese side expects the next round of talks to also include discussion on how to proceed with the investigation of the collision as both sides have yet to agree on its cause.

In interviews last week, U.S. President George W. Bush indicated that he would stick to his plan to attend the Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation summit to be held later this year in Shanghai. Analysts said this suggested there was room for both governments to settle the problem to create a better atmosphere before Bush's visit.

Copyright 2001 by United Press International.

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Quoting official sources in Beijing, the Hong Kong newspaper said the Chinese side will argue that the U.S. should pay compensation and will cite the May 1999 bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade by U.S.-led NATO forces as a precedent. Three Chinese journalists were...
China,Demand,Compensation
465
2001-00-03
Thursday, 03 May 2001 12:00 AM
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