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Still No Progress in U.S.-China Meeting

Aired April 18, 2001 - 10:19   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: We're going to bring in John King, our senior White House correspondent, with some new news on the meeting that took place between American and Chinese officials in Beijing -- John, hello.

JOHN KING, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Daryn, hello to you. The first news the first details of this meeting in Beijing are from the U.S. perspective certainly not good news. Senior administration officials telling CNN that meeting went for two-and-a-half hours and that both sides presented their views. The U.S. side presented its view that China to blame for the collision. The Chinese side, we're told by our sources, insisted that it was the U.S. that was to blame.

No progress at all on that front, not that the United States expected China to accept its opinion, but more significantly we're told that when the U.S. delegation brought up its demand that China allow a repair crew to go to Hainan Island and repair and retrieve the EP-3 surveillance plane, in the words of one official, quote, "the Chinese would not engage on that issue." That issue is not settled.

Because of that and because from the U.S. perspective China would not even discuss it in any productive way, we're told the U.S. ambassador to China Joseph Prueher will meet early tomorrow in Beijing with Chinese foreign minister and make clear the United States will not have a second meeting on this issue, and sees no reason for a second meeting on this issue unless the Chinese are willing to enter into productive discussions, in the words of a U.S. official, about the return of that EP-3 surveillance plane. So this first meeting, a highly-anticipated meeting, obviously went not well at all from the U.S. perspective, Daryn.

KAGAN: So, John, that's it for now? That plane will just sit on the ground there on Hainan Island I guess.

KING: The plane will sit on the ground. And the U.S. delegation -- eight members plus some aides -- on hand in Beijing will sit and wait for instructions. And the U.S. side, we're told Ambassador Prueher will go in with a very blunt message the tone and the tenor of the future of U.S.-China relations depends on resolving this issue and that the U.S. side we're told will make the case that it is quite disappointed because the agenda was set out in advance.

The Chinese side new full well the U.S. side would insist on the return of that plane. But apparently the Chinese side did not respond at all in any way that the U.S. delegation felt was productive. So we're told the U.S. delegation left the meeting quite frustrated.

And again, China's state news agency has already said there will be a second meeting. The U.S. position is that there will not be a second meeting unless the Chinese change their tone.

KAGAN: John King at the White House. John, thank you.

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