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Senate Chairman Calls for Return of U.S. Crew

Senate Chairman Calls for Prompt Return of U.S. Crew

Text: Senate Armed Services Chairman on U.S.-China Aircraft Collision

(Chinese acted unprofessionally, Warner says)

The chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee said the March 31 incident involving a U.S. aircraft and a Chinese fighter plane could have been avoided "if Chinese pilots had respected the laws of international airspace."

Senator John Warner (Republican of Virginia) called for the prompt return of the American crew and its plane.

Following is the text of an April 1 press release from the office of Senator John Warner:

(begin text)


April, 1 2001

Warner Statement on Air Incident with China

Washington, DC -- Today, U.S. Senator John Warner, Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, released the following statement:

"This is a tragic military accident that could have been avoided if Chinese pilots had respected the laws of international airspace.

"The loss of their pilot is, of course, regretted.

"But, to assert that U.S. pilots, flying a large, propeller driven aircraft could purposely maneuver to 'ram' a high performance, far more maneuverable, jet fighter, is beyond understanding.

"China, as an emerging military power, appears, in the eyes of military persons the world over, very unprofessional, unless, it comes forward promptly with an accurate explanation of the incident and returns our aircraft and crew."

(end text)

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

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