- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 2, 2001

A senior American official said yesterday the United States will not forgive or forget Chinas holding 24 crew members of a downed surveillance plane for 11 days last month.
The blunt statement by the new assistant secretary of state for East Asia, James A. Kelly, was made to Congress as a U.S. team arrived in Hainan, China, to inspect the downed plane.
"Were not going to conduct business as usual after our servicemen and women were detained for 11 days in China," said Mr. Kelly, who was confirmed earlier yesterday by the Senate.
"Beijing needs to understand that," he told the Senate Foreign Relations subcommitee on East Asia yesterday.
Mr. Kelly delivered the first major speech on China by a Bush administration official since the Hainan incident. The new administration has said it is reviewing past policies toward China and other important issues.
While Mr. Kelly, a former Navy officer, held out offers to "work with the current leaders and with the next generation of leaders in China," he was offering tough love at best.
"We will hold China to its bilateral and international commitments," he said. "We will use all available policy tools to persuade it to move in more constructive directions."
Saying he would be "frank about our differences," Mr. Kelly listed them: Taiwan, human rights, freedom of faith, arms sales and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
U.S.-Chinese relations have plunged to a low point over the detention of the U.S. air crew and President Bushs approval last week of the largest arms sale to Taiwan in a decade.
David Shambaugh of George Washington University told the congressional panel that China sees U.S. surveillance flights off its coast — such as the flight that was involved in an April 1 collision with a Chinese fighter — as a sign of "hostile intent."
The Chinese are also concerned about stepped up U.S. arms sales to Taiwan, the suspension of U.S.-China military exchanges, U.S. condemnation of China for human rights abuses, the downgrading of Chinas importance while ties to Japan are strengthened and possible opposition to its hosting the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, Mr. Shambaugh said.
The statement delivered yesterday by Mr. Kelly did not duck any of the sensitive issues which have troubled U.S.-China relations.
He said "we will continue to focus on Tibet" and seek "an end to religious restrictions against Tibetan Buddhists."
He also said "we have not been satisfied" at Chinas failure to grant consular access to an American University researcher held by China for several weeks, an issue raised at yesterdays panel hearing by Sen. George F. Allen, Virginia Republican.
Mr. Kelly said Mr. Bush intends to visit China in the fall when he will attend the meeting of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Shanghai, a visit he described as representing the United States commitment to Chinas economic reforms.
Mr. Kelly said that while the United States is running an $80 billion deficit in its trade with China, U.S. firms sold $16 billion worth of goods to the Asian country in 2000, an 18 percent increase over the previous year.
"China is a kind of friend. Not a kind of enemy. But not an ally," said Mr. Kelly.
On Hainan island, technicians from Lockheed Martin, the main contractor for the EP-3E surveillance plane, arrived yesterday at Haikou, the capital, the Pentagon said.
They are to travel today to the military airfield where the plane is located, spokesman Navy Lt. Cmdr. Terry Sutherland said in Washington.
Mr. Kelly said the United States would not pay reparations to China for the crash of its fighter, which collided with the American EP-3E airplane.
However, the United States is willing to pay the costs of moving its own damaged plane onto a barge to ship it back home.


Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

 

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide