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FROM AMBASSADOR PRUEHER TO CHINESE
MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS TANG
Dear Mr. Minister:
On behalf of the
United States Government, I now outline steps to resolve this issue.
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.
Although the full
picture of what transpired is still unclear, according to our information,
our severely crippled aircraft made an emergency landing after following
international emergency procedures. We are very sorry the entering
of China's airspace and the landing did not have verbal clearance,
but very pleased the crew landed safely. We appreciate China's efforts
to see to the well-being of our crew.
In view of the
tragic incident and based on my discussions with your representative,
we have agreed to the following actions:
Both sides agree
to hold a meeting to discuss the incident. My government understands
and expects that our aircrew will be permitted to depart China as
soon as possible.
The meeting would
start April 18, 2001.
The meeting agenda
would include discussion of the causes of the incident, possible recommendations
whereby such collisions could be avoided in the future, development
of a plan for prompt return of the EP-3 aircraft, and other related
issues. We acknowledge your government's intention to raise U.S. reconnaissance
missions near China in the meeting.
Joseph W. Prueher