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Powell Expresses Regret Over Loss Of Chinese Pilot

Secretary of State Powell Expresses Regret Over Loss of Chinese Pilot

Excerpt: Secretary of State Powell Expresses Regret Over Loss of Chinese Pilot (Says U.S., China need to "exchange explanations and move on")

Secretary of State Colin Powell, in brief comments at the State Department April 4, expressed regret at the loss of a Chinese plane and pilot in the April 1 collision of the plane and a U.S. surveillance plane over the South China Sea.

Following is that portion of the transcript of Powell's remarks dealing with the accident:

(begin transcript)

U.S. Department of State Office of the Spokesman April 4, 2001


Q: Secretary Powell, the Chinese seem to have drawn a line in the sand on China, saying they want an apology. The United States says it will not apologize. Where are we now?

SECRETARY POWELL: We're in touch with the Chinese Ambassador. [Ambassador] Prueher met with Chinese officials this morning. We'll have other meetings in the course of the day, and we're exploring avenues by which we can get a dialogue going that can cause both sides to present explanations.

As we said yesterday, a United States airplane flying over international air space was intercepted by two Chinese planes also flying in international air space. A tragic accident took place. Fortunately, our airplane was able to get down on the ground safely, and it's a tribute to the skill of that crew that got the plane down. We regret that the Chinese plane did not get down safely, and we regret the loss of the life of that Chinese pilot. But now we need to move on and we need to bring this to a resolution, and we're using every avenue available to us to talk to the Chinese side, to exchange explanations and move on.

Thank you.

(end transcript)

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

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