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China: Army, Armed Police Forces Comment on "Letter of Apology" from USA

Text of report by Xu Zhuangzhi and Cao Zhi, by official Chinese news agency Xinhua (New China News Agency)

Beijing, 11 April: After the letter of apology, which Prueher, plenipotentiary and US ambassador to China, delivered to the Chinese government on behalf of the US government, about the US military reconnaissance plane that rammed and destroyed a Chinese military aircraft, the vast number of officers and men of the People's Liberation Army [PLA] and the armed police forces pledged that they would firmly support the central authorities' correct policy decision, turn their patriotism into actions to build stronger armed forces, and safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity with real actions.

After hearing this news report from radio and television stations, the vast number of officers and men of the PLA and armed police forces maintained: The United States has grossly violated the international law and relevant Chinese laws. After the incident occurred, the Chinese Government, upholding the principled position of safeguarding national sovereignty and national dignity, made representations to and lodged protests with the US side in a calm and restrained manner. The struggle shows that the big country dignity China has displayed in safeguarding world peace and defying power politics has produced positive and far-reaching influence in the world, and has demonstrated the capabilities of the party Central Committee with Comrade Jiang Zemin as the core of controlling complex situations and handling complex problems. The struggle has upheld justice, rebuffed the brazenness of hegemonism, and safeguarded national sovereignty and national dignity.

The officers and men of an air unit under the Chinese Navy said: The great concern that the party and government have shown for the safety of an ordinary naval pilot, such as Wang Wei, and the enormous efforts, which the naval and local authorities have made in carrying out the search-and-rescue mission, embody the care and love of the party and the government for the people's armed forces. We must work hard to study modern science and technology so as to master real military skills and contribute even more to safeguarding national sovereignty and protecting the motherland's territorial waters.

The officers and men of an Air Force division said in their discussions: That was not the first time US military reconnaissance aircraft violated China's sovereignty and intruded into our territorial airspace. Over the years, US military reconnaissance aircraft have never ceased carrying out such dangerous provocations in airspace above our country's coastal waters. We want to ask the American gentlemen, who still embrace their Cold War mentality, this question: How would you feel if another country's military aircraft conducts reconnaissance flight in the airspace close to the United States? The officers and men pointed out: Although we have won this round of the fight, the struggle will continue. The United States must stop such flights in the airspace above China's coastal waters because only by doing so can it prevent similar incidents from recurring and can it improve relations with China.

The officers and men of a tank division under the Nanjing Military Region said: China's territory is absolutely not the "backyard" where the armed forces of any country can come and go, China's territorial waters are absolutely not the "swimming pool" in which ships of any country can cruise at will, and China's territorial airspace is absolutely not an "air corridor" in which the military aircraft of any country can enter and exit. Soldiers of the Chinese People's Liberation Army, who are duty-bound to safeguard their motherland, will always bear firmly in mind the sacred mission that the party and the people have given them, firmly safeguard the country's sovereignty and territorial integrity, and safeguard the nation's rights and interests in its territorial waters and airspace.

The officers and men of an armed police unit in Hainan said: Stability is essential for developing the economy and increasing the country's combined national strength, national defence, and national coherence. Today we must turn our righteous indignation into a powerful driving force and make new contributions to ensuring the country's social stability and economic development.

(C) 2001 BBC Monitoring Asia Pacific - Political. via Bell&Howell Information and Learning Company; All Rights Reserved

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