China: US Statements 'Unacceptable'
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) - Chinese President
Jiang Zemin's spokesman said U.S. statements on the spy plane collision
were "unacceptable," demanding again on Monday an apology from the Bush
Zhu Bangzao, a senior Chinese foreign minister
official, told a news conference during Jiang's visit to Argentina that
the Chinese are not satisfied by the responses given so far by the Bush
administration since the April 1, incident over the South China Sea.
"Where is the responsibility? I think it's very clear," said
Zhu, when peppered with questions at the only formal news briefing
scheduled during a visit here. "The pronouncements of the United States
are unacceptable to the Chinese people."
Zhu, speaking through a
translator, suggested recent U.S. statements did not go far enough. Jiang
last Thursday in Chile kicked off a 12-day Latin American tour by
repeating calls for a U.S. apology.
Zhu did not state publicly why
Chinese officials think the American response was inadequate. Nor would he
elaborate on any specific statements made recently by U.S. Secretary State
Colin Powell or others in the Bush administration.
weekend, Powell had said the U.S. government was "sorry" for the Chinese
fighter pilot still missing and feared dead. On April 5, Bush also offered
his personal regrets at the apparent loss of life but the U.S. government
has stopped short of apologizing.
Zhu said a Chinese investigation
into the events April 1 is still ongoing and proceeding in accordance with
international and Chinese law.
"The United States should
apologize and response appropriately," Zhu.
Earlier Monday, Bush
said in Washington that diplomacy does take time, but warned that the
potential for damage to the relationship rises "every day that goes by"
without a resolution.
Jiang, in the mists of an extensive Latin
American trip, did not make any commment Monday on the spy plane standoff,
leaving the foreign ministry official to respond to questions.
last Thursday in Chile, Jiang repeated Chinese demands that the United
States apologize for the April 1 collision. The U.S. Navy EP3E
surveillance aircraft made an emergency landing on Hainan Island off the
coast of southern China after the in-air collision. The 24-member U.S.
crew continues to be held there.
In Buenos Aires, meanwhile, Jiang
looked upbeat at public appearances Monday, but the diplomatic showdown
over the plane collision has overshadowed his trip.
Jiang spent the day at an Argentine ranch outside Buenos Aires. He flies
Tuesday to Montevideo, Uruguay, and Wednesday to Brazil. Cuba and
Venezuela are to follow.
Jiang's trip has been widely viewed as an
attempt by Beijing to build support ahead of a vote at the U.N. Commission
on Human Rights on the communist country's human rights record. With the
exception of Chile, the other South American countries are members of the
commission based in Geneva. The body is expected to take up the issue in a
vote tentatively set for April 18.
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