No further details were given.
A recent Xinhua article states:
It is stated in the U.S. letter that "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." The U.S. side goes on to say that it is "very sorry the entering of China's airspace and the landing did not have verbal clearance."
The U.S. side has also expressed its appreciation of "China's efforts to see to the well being" of its crew.
According to the sources from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the case has not been closed. The two sides will hold talks soon to discuss the cause of the incident and ways for the U.S. side to stop dispatching its reconnaissance aircraft to the vicinity of the Chinese coast and prevent the recurrence of such incidents, and other related issues.
Copyright 2001 XINHUA NEWS AGENCY
Apparently the letter was good enough to secure the return of the American crew. Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan said the crew were being released on "humanitarian grounds."
Jiaxuan added, "China puts great importance on its relations with the United States."
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