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World - Europe

Clinton calls Chinese president with apology

May 14, 1999
Web posted at: 12:10 p.m. EDT (1610 GMT)

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- U.S. President Bill Clinton spoke with Chinese President Jiang Zemin on Friday morning, offering personal apologies for the NATO bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Yugoslavia, administration officials told CNN.

White House press secretary Joe Lockhart said it was a "very constructive" conversation in which the president voiced "regrets and condolences" for the embassy bombing. In addition to discussing the Kosovo crisis, Clinton stressed his view that broader relations between the United States and China should not be damaged by the recent events, Lockhart and other officials said.

In the half-hour telephone call, Clinton made clear he was determined to move forward with talks aimed at generating U.S. support for China's entry into the World Trade Organization.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhu Bangzao said Thursday the bombing had cast a cloud over the WTO talks, but China still wanted to join.

Clinton has also offered his apologies for the bombing in a private letter to Jiang. The president and other U.S. officials have also offered public statements of regret for the attack, which killed three Chinese journalists.

NATO called the bombing in Belgrade a tragic error caused by outdated maps. Angry Chinese staged three days of violent, government-sanctioned protests outside the U.S. and British embassies in Beijing and consulates elsewhere in China after the attack.

China also cut off a human rights dialogue with the United States and froze military exchanges.

The United States and NATO allies need China's support to get a possible peace agreement through the U.N. Security Council, but Beijing has said it won't begin talks on the question until NATO stops its air campaign.

White House Correspondent John King and Reuters contributed to this report.

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NATO presses on with systematic bombing of Milosevic's military
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China mourns victims of Belgrade embassy bombing
May 12, 1999
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Extensive list of Kosovo-related sites:
  • Kosovo

  • Federal Republic of Yugoslavia official site
      • Kesovo and Metohija facts
  • Serbia Ministry of Information
  • Serbia Now! News

  • Kosova Crisis Center
  • Kosovo - from

  • F-117s arrive at Aviano to support possible NATO operations
  • NATO official site
  • BosniaLINK - U.S. Dept. of Defense
  • U.S. Navy images from Operation Allied Force
  • U.K. Ministry of Defence - Kosovo news
  • U.K. Royal Air Force - Kosovo news
  • Jane's Defence - Kosovo Crisis

  • Doctors Without Borders
  • U.S. Agency for International Development (Kosovo aid)
  • Doctors of the World
  • The IOM Migration Web
  • InterAction
  • International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
  • International Committee of the Red Cross
  • Kosovo Humanitarian Disaster Forces Hundreds of Thousands from their Homes
  • Catholic Relief Services
  • Kosovo Relief
  • ReliefWeb: Home page
  • The Jewish Agency for Israel
  • Mercy International

  • Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty
  • Independent Yugoslav radio stations B92
  • Institute for War and Peace Reporting
  • United States Information Agency - Kosovo Crisis

  • Expanded list of related sites on Kosovo
  • Ministry of Foreign Affairs of P.R.China
  • 1997 view of Kosovo from space - Eurimage
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