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International Relations Chairman Urges Release

International Relations Chairman Urges Release of Navy Crew

Text: International Relations Chairman Urges Release of Navy Crew

(Hyde asks if Americans detained in China are "hostages")

China should immediately release the crew of the U.S. aircraft that made an emergency landing on Hainan Island March 31 and return all U.S. equipment, Henry J. Hyde, chairman of the House International Relations Committee, said in an April 2 press release.

Following is the text of the press release:

(begin text)

NEWS Committee on International Relations U.S. House of Representatives Henry J. Hyde, Chairman

April 2, 2001

Hyde Urges Prompt Release of Navy Crew

"Responsible members of the international community do not arbitrarily detain citizens of other nations."

(WASHINGTON) -- U.S. Rep. Henry J. Hyde (R-IL), chairman of the House International Relations Committee, commented this afternoon on the need for a prompt and safe return of the 24-member U.S. Navy crew aboard an EP-3E reconnaissance plane. The aircraft made an emergency landing following a reported midair collision with a Chinese F-8 aircraft over the South China Sea on Sunday:

"This volatile situation will only be defused by China's immediate release of crew members and return of all U.S. equipment. Since the beginning of the year, the People's Republic of China has detained a number of American citizens and permanent residents, including a five-year old boy who was held apart from his family for four weeks. Responsible members of the international community do not arbitrarily detain citizens of other nations.

"Are we to assume that all of these individuals are now considered hostages? I don't know, and I certainly hope not. But if they are, the Beijing government is terribly mistaken if it believes these actions will influence the U.S. decision -- due later this month -- to permit the sale of defensive weapons to Taiwan."

(end text)

(Distributed by the Office of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site:

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