photo of Lingshui Airfield taken 10 April (SpaceImaging.com)
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Chronology of the China-U.S. spy plane standoff
A chronology of the spy plane crash and diplomatic maneuvering
between the United States and China.
DAY 1 - Sunday, April 1:
- A U.S. Navy EP-3E surveillance plane with a 21-man, 3-woman crew
collides with a Chinese fighter jet sent to intercept it over the
South China Sea, well outside China's 19-kilometer (12-mile ) territorial
sea and airspace. It makes an emergency landing at a military airfield
on China's Hainan island.
- China says the plane's crew members are safe but reports the Chinese
fighter crashed and its pilot is missing. Beijing blames the U.S.
aircraft for the collision.
- Adm. Dennis Blair, commander in chief of the U.S. Pacific Command,
says the collision was caused by a ``pattern of increasingly unsafe
behavior'' by China's military.
DAY 2 - Monday, April 2:
- U.S. diplomats leave for Hainan hoping to meet with American crew
- President George W. Bush urges China to release the aircraft and
let U.S. diplomats meet crew members. Says failure to do so would
violate ``standard diplomatic practice.''
DAY 3 - Tuesday, April 3:
- President Bush says China must release crew and plane. Secretary
of State Colin Powell says crew is detained by China and that the
United States has nothing to apologize for.
- U.S. diplomats meet with crew members and report they are fine.
DAY 4 - Wednesday, April 4:
- Chinese President Jiang Zemin demands a U.S. apology.
- The Bush administration offers regrets but no apology.
DAY 5 - Thursday, April 5:
- In Beijing, police detain several Chinese protesters outside U.S.
- China says the American crew members broke international law and
will be kept for questioning, repeats demand for formal U.S. apology.
- U.S. diplomats give Chinese officials books, magazines and snacks
for the crew members.
DAY 6 - Friday, April 6:
- U.S. diplomats see crew members. Powell says they are in ``good
health'' and ``high spirits'' and that diplomats may get to meet with
- Both sides begin reviewing a draft letter intended to end the stalemate
that would express regrets for the loss of life and entail an exchange
of views on the collision.
DAY 7 - Saturday, April 7
- China's top foreign affairs official writes Powell to say statements
of regret are inadequate and demand an apology.
- U.S. side says its position is unchanged.
DAY 8 - Sunday, April 8
- Talks continue on freeing crew. Bush sends letter expressing condolences
to wife of missing Chinese fighter pilot.
DAY 9 - Monday, April 9
- President Bush cautions that ``diplomacy takes time'' but warns
China that relations could suffer if it doesn't release the crew.
DAY 10 - Tuesday, April 10
- China says Powell's expression of regret is a step in the right
direction, repeats demand for apology.
- President Bush describes situation as a ``stalemate.''
DAY 11 - Wednesday, April 11
- United States and China reach agreement for crew's release.
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