Tags: Navy | Plane | May | Returned | From | China | Crates

Navy Plane May Be Returned From China in Crates

Monday, 21 May 2001 12:00 AM

"The airplane will be returned," he said on the NBC program "Meet the Press." "There have been negotiations under way as to figure out exactly how to do that. My guess is it may well have to be crated out, partly because it's in such bad shape."

China has refused to allow a repair crew from the U.S. military and the plane's manufacturer to get the disabled EP-3 Aries II in flying shape. The aircraft collided with a Chinese fighter jet on April 1, killing the Chinese pilot and forcing the EP-3 to land on Hainan Island, about 350 miles southwest of Hong Kong.

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has demanded that the plane, once repaired, be allowed to fly back to the United States. A Pentagon spokesman said last week that that remains the preferred mode for the aircraft's return.

The plane's 24-member crew, which had been detained on Hainan for 11 days, was decorated at a White House ceremony last week.

"I think the key for us was to get the crew back, and they are back," Cheney said. "Whether or not we should actually leave it there and try to repair it and then fly it out or crate it out, that's a subject to be negotiated with the Chinese ... We want the airplane back, and we have not said exactly how that has to be done."

Asked by "Meet the Press" moderator Tim Russert whether it would be a "humiliation to us if it's crated out," Cheney answered, "No."

Copyright 2001 by United Press International.

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The airplane will be returned, he said on the NBC program Meet the Press. There have been negotiations under way as to figure out exactly how to do that. My guess is it may well have to be crated out, partly because it's in such bad shape. China has refused to allow...
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2001-00-21
Monday, 21 May 2001 12:00 AM
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