Pentagon: Boarding violated international law
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A Pentagon official said Monday that if the Chinese boarded the U.S. spy plane that made an emergency landing on China's Hainan Island, "they have violated the sanctity of this aircraft," and in so doing, violated international law.
According to a source in China, quoted by CNN, Chinese authorities boarded the plane shortly after its emergency landing.
"In our view that aircraft is sovereign U.S. soil and they have no right to board that aircraft," the Pentagon official said. "If in fact they have done what they have said they have done, they have violated international law."
The official noted the crew is trained in a procedure to destroy equipment and paper, even trained to use hammers, axes and shredders.
"The expectation would have been if they were going somewhere where the equipment would have been compromised, they would begin the process of destroying the equipment," the official said.
But, the official noted, "We are not sure if that was accomplished."
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