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Repatriation Of US Aircrew Welcomed By Goff

Foreign Minister Phi Goff has welcomed the release of the US aircrew who have been held on Hainan Island.

"The stand-off which developed over the mid-air collision had the potential to badly damage the relationship between China and the United States. That would have been in the interest of neither country and would have threatened stability and security in the region.

"Negotiators on both sides deserve credit for preventing the incident from developing into a more serious situation. The letter from US Ambassador Prueher to Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Tang enables both countries to feel that honour is satisfied.

"The affair however is a reminder that we cannot simply take good international relationships for granted and that a much more dangerous situation could have developed had nationalistic passions been allowed to boil over," Mr Goff said.


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