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Bush's uncle in China on business

CHICAGO (CNN) -- President Bush's uncle is currently in China on a business trip.

Prescott Bush Jr., brother of former President George Bush, left Sunday -- hours after the news broke of the U.S. spy plane collision with a Chinese fighter jet -- on United Airlines' inaugural flight to Beijing.

The 88-year-old Bush, who has a long history of business involvement in China, traveled to the Chinese capital in his role as chairman of the U.S.-China Chamber of Commerce, a trade organization based in Chicago.

This is not the only time the president's uncle has been in China while relations with the United States were strained.

In September 1989, Bush made a controversial visit to China after the June 4 massacre of hundreds of pro-democracy demonstrators in Tiananmen Square to meet with officials and potential business partners in several investment deals.

"We aren't a bunch of carrion birds coming to pick the carcass," Bush told the Wall Street Journal at the time. "But there are big opportunities in China, and Americans can't afford to be shut out."

The U.S.-China standoff over the U.S. Navy surveillance plane, which was forced to make an emergency landing on the Chinese island of Hainan, and its crew of 24, which is being detained, has upset the itinerary of the group of business and civic leaders with whom Prescott Bush was traveling.

"They were supposed to have dinner with a vice minister, but that was canceled because of this ongoing situation," said Mai Hong, executive director of the organization.

Most of the group will return to Chicago on Friday, but Bush is expected to fly to Hong Kong for further business, said Hong.

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4:30pm ET, 4/16

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