NAPSNet Daily Report 11 April, 2001

Recommended Citation

"NAPSNet Daily Report 11 April, 2001", NAPSNet Daily Report, April 11, 2001, https://nautilus.org/napsnet/napsnet-daily-report/napsnet-daily-report-11-april-2001/

 
CONTENTS

I. United States

1. Resolution of US-PRC Spy Plane Incident
2. Letter Regarding Spy Plane Collision
3. Effects of US-PRC Spy Plane Incident
4. Photos of US Spy Plane
II. Republic of Korea 1. ROK-US Joint Exercise
2. DPRK Communication Network
3. DPRK Vessels Intrude ROK Waters

I. United States

1. Resolution of US-PRC Spy Plane Incident

US Department of State’s Office of International Information Programs released the following statement (“REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT ON RELEASE OF AMERICAN SERVICEMEN AND WOMEN IN CHINA,” 4/11/01) in which US President George W. Bush said: “I’m pleased to be able to tell the American people that plans are underway to bring home our 24 American servicemen and women from Hainan Island. This morning, the Chinese government assured our American Ambassador that the crew would leave promptly. We’re working on arrangements to pick them up and to bring them home. This has been a difficult situation for both our countries. I know the American people join me in expressing sorrow for the loss of life of a Chinese pilot. Our prayers are with his wife and his child. I appreciate the hard work of our Ambassador to China, Joseph Prueher, and his entire embassy team, who worked tirelessly to solve this situation. The American people, their families, and I are proud of our crew, and we look forward to welcoming them home.”

Reuters (“‘DOUBLE SORRY’ ENDS CHINA-U.S. SPY PLANE CRISIS,” Beijing, 4/11/01) reported that the US ended an 11-day crisis with the PRC on Wednesday by saying it was “very sorry” a PRC pilot died in a collision with its spy plane and “very sorry” the US plane landed in the PRC without permission. However, it fell short of the insistent PRC demands for a full apology, although it represented a major retreat by US President George W. Bush, who initially offered only “regrets,” and did not extract a US admission of responsibility. US Secretary of State Colin Powell said in Paris, “There was nothing to apologize for. To apologize would have suggested that we had done something wrong or accepting responsibility for having done something wrong, and we did not do anything wrong and therefore it was not possible to apologize.” However the PRC immediately started telling its nation that it had won what it set out to win – an apology. The PRC’s official People’s Daily said in a commentary in its Thursday edition, “The firm struggle by the Chinese government and people against U.S. hegemony has forced the U.S. government to change from its initial rude and unreasonable attitude to saying ‘very sorry’ to the Chinese people.” After the delivery of the US letter, the PRC’s Xinhua News Agency quoted Tang as telling Prueher “this is not the conclusion of the case.” Powell agreed the affair was “not over,” but said he saw no long-term damage to relations.

Agence France Presse (“US SPY PLANE CREW LEAVES CHINA AFTER 12 DAYS IN CAPTIVITY,” Haikou, 4/12/01) reported that the crew of the US EP-3 spy plane left the PRC on Thursday on board a chartered Continental Airlines jet after 12 days of detainment. The chartered jet took off from the southern PRC island of Hainan at 7:30 a.m. (2330 GMT) for the five-and-a-half hour flight to the US Pacific territory of Guam. The plane is due to refuel at Andersen Air Force Base in Guam before heading on to the headquarters of the US Pacific Command on the western US island of Hawaii where the crew will be debriefed. The media were kept far away from the crew who made no comments before leaving.

Associated Press (Kevin Gray, “JIANG: NO COMMENT ON CREW RELEASE,” Montevideo, 4/11/01) reported that PRC President Jiang Zemin declined comment about his country’s decision to release the 24 US crew members detained after their spy plane collided with a PRC fighter and made an emergency landing. The PRC on Wednesday agreed to release the US crew, but indicated it would hold the plane pending further talks. During his travels in South America, Jiang has only spoken twice about the standoff. On Tuesday, he said the PRC position was “sufficiently clear” and appeared to stand by earlier demands that the US apologize. In Santiago, Chile, he repeated PRC calls for the US Bush administration to apologize and accept responsibility for the collision.

2. Letter Regarding Spy Plane Collision

US Department of State’s Office of International Information Programs released the following official text of a letter from US Ambassador to the PRC Joseph Prueher to PRC Minister of Foreign Affairs Tang Jiaxuan on April 11, 2001: “Dear Mr. Minister: On behalf of the United States Government, I now outline steps to resolve this issue. Both President Bush and Secretary of State Powell have expressed their sincere regret over your missing pilot and aircraft. Please convey to the Chinese people and to the family of pilot Wang Wei that we are very sorry for their loss. Although the full picture of what transpired is still unclear, according to our information, our severely crippled aircraft made an emergency landing after following international emergency procedures. We are very sorry the entering of China’s airspace and the landing did not have verbal clearance, but very pleased the crew landed safely. We appreciate China’s efforts to see to the well-being of our crew. In view of the tragic incident and based on my discussions with your representative, we have agreed to the following actions: Both sides agree to hold a meeting to discuss the incident. My government understands and expects that our aircrew will be permitted to depart China as soon as possible. The meeting would start April 18, 2001. The meeting agenda would include discussion of the causes of the incident, possible recommendations whereby such collisions could be avoided in the future, development of a plan for prompt return of the EP-3 aircraft, and other related issues. We acknowledge your government’s intention to raise U.S. reconnaissance missions near China in the meeting.”

Agence France Presse (“US ‘LETTER OF TWO SORRIES’ TOOK DAYS OF INTENSE DIPLOMACY TO CRAFT,” Washington, 4/11/01) reported that US officials said Wednesday that the US letter resulting in the PRC agreement to release the crew of the EP-3 spy plane took nearly a week of intense, creative and often frustrating diplomacy to produce. They said the basic outlines of the missive, dubbed the “letter of two sorries” by US diplomats, were presented in an April 4 written message to PRC Vice Premier Qian Qichen from US Secretary of State Colin Powell. However, diplomatic efforts to craft formal language acceptable to both sides were hampered by the PRC insistence on formal apologies for the alleged violation of its airspace by the US spy plane and the loss of its jet and pilot in the collision. One senior official involved said drafting a letter that allowed both sides to say their inflexible positions had been honored was time-consuming and required a “full-court diplomatic press.” The official added, “This was diplomacy in action here. It was an evolution of words that required a lot of creativity, a lot of time and maddening details to get the Chinese to agree to essentially what was in Powell’s roadmap.” The final letter, from US ambassador to the PRC Joseph Preuher to PRC Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan, admits no guilt for any infraction but does use the words “very sorry” twice in reference to the loss of the PRC fighter and pilot and the EP-3’s emergency landing in the PRC without verbal permission. While the PRC maintains those words amount to the apology it demanded, the US insists they do not, and US officials say that is the entire point. A senior US State Department official familiar with the process said, “That is what diplomacy is. They wanted us to say ‘We’re sorry for violating your airspace,’ but instead we say ‘We’re sorry we had to do that, but we did it according to international emergency procedures’. They can tell their people anything they want, but we’re not admitting to violating anything.” The other bone of contention – PRC demands for an end to surveillance missions off the coast – was not easily resolved. According to some accounts, the matter was a major reason an expected resolution to the crisis last weekend was delayed. In Prueher’s letter, the US agreed to hold a joint meeting beginning April 18 “to discuss the incident.” In addition, Prueher’s letter said: “We acknowledge your government’s intention to raise US reconnaissance missions near China in the meeting.” One US State Department official said the sentence came as a very late addition to push the PRC into releasing the crew. The official said, “It certainly is not a statement or sentence that flows naturally.” Though the PRC maintains the sentence means its demand for an end to reconnaissance flights had been met, US officials are quick to point out that the implication of the language is exactly the opposite. The official said, “First of all, we are saying only that we understand and accept that they are going to bring the issue up. It doesn’t mean its a subject for debate or discussion. And second of all, by saying earlier that we are both going to look at ways we can avoid such incidents in the future, we are saying the flights will go on.”

3. Effects of US-PRC Spy Plane Incident

Agence France Presse (“BUSH ESCAPES CHINA CRISIS WITH HONOR INTACT,” Washington, 4/11/01) reported that US President George W. Bush emerged Wednesday from his first foreign policy crisis with honor intact, but it raised as many questions as answers over his young administration’s already relationship with the PRC. US analysts said the collision between the US and PRC planes exposed a fissure in Bush’s administration between hawkish, anti-PRC factions, and the diplomacy-first strategy of moderates and the US State Department. Mark Fung, assistant director of China studies at Washington’s Nixon Center, said the US and the PRC entered the affair like two heavyweight prize fighters but neither inflicted a telling blow. He said, “They both came out swinging but they were not making any contact. There was no blood.” Bush’s approach to the PRC was from a hard initial line to uneasy conciliation. Some critics say that Bush’s forceful call for the return of the 24 US crew members – a bolstering of his campaign pledge that he would not bow down before the PRC – appeared to antagonize the PRC and needlessly prolonged the crisis. John Gershman, of the Foreign Policy in Focus think-tank, said, “The Bush administration wasted the first few days by its blustering. What China wanted was not to be lectured at, but to be treated as an equal in the region.” Later the message from the administration cooled and intense diplomacy led to a US statement of “regret” for the collision that the US believes was not of its making. However, the Bush administration held its ground and refused the PRC demands for an apology in a crisis-ending letter which said it was “very sorry” about the loss and for infringing on PRC airspace when its plane made an emergency landing. In the end, Patrick Cronin of the US Institute of Peace, said, “This has not become the defining negative episode in US-China relations that it could have become.”

New York Times (Jere Longman, “STANDOFF UNLIKELY TO AFFECT BEIJING’S OLYMPIC BID,” 4/11/01) reported that interviews with influential members of the International Olympic Committee indicate that the spy-plane incident between the US and the PRC is not expected to have an effect on the PRC bid to play host to the 2008 Summer Olympics. Kim Un Yong, a powerful member from the ROK who is seeking to succeed Juan Antonio Samaranch as president of the International Olympic Committee, said, “To many IOC members, especially in Europe, it is a U.S.-China issue. The IOC. is not in politics, and for the moment, it will not affect the Olympic decision.” John MacAloon, an Olympic historian at the University of Chicago, said, any attempt by the US Congress as a whole to instruct US and international members of the IOC not to vote for the PRC would be viewed as self-serving and chauvinistic by some members. MacAloon said, “The US Congress is not in position to instruct the IOC about a decision that has to do with the interest of the entire world.” [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for April 11, 2001.]

4. Photos of US Spy Plane

New York Times (William J. Broad, “SATELLITE PHOTOS DIFFER ON SPY PLANE,” 4/11/01) reported that US officials said there are discrepancies in satellite photos of the EP-3 spy plane involved in the collision with a PRC plane. A commercial photo taken from space seemed to show that a large chunk of the fuselage had been removed, a “shark bite,” as some photo interpreters put it, raising alarms. However, a later picture shows no such thing. US officials said the discrepancy illustrated the dangers of rushing to judgment when commercial reconnaissance from space pushed the limits of the knowable. An official with access to federal spy images, which are much sharper, said, “It was stupid. We’ve seen better photos that show no change.” He said the error probably occurred when the company, in trying to improve the photo’s contrast, “clicked on it and moved some pixels, then blew it up. It’s either a digital transmission error or a manipulation glitch.” The official said the US government had other indications that the PRC technicians were crawling all over the plane. He added, “Our assumptions, are that they’re exploiting everything they can internally.” The company that took the photos, Space Imaging, in Thornton, Colorado, said it would not comment on why the images changed. Mark E. Brender, a company spokesman, said, “It’s better left to expert photo interpreters or analysts to draw any specific conclusions.” Martin C. Faga, a former director of the National Reconnaissance Office, an arm of the US Defense Department that runs spy satellites, said he doubted that deception was at work here, but that it might arise in the future as reconnaissance imagery became more common. He said, “The camera sees what it sees. But you have the option of manipulating” the target of the space surveillance. [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for April 11, 2001.]

II. Republic of Korea

1. ROK-US Joint Exercise

The Korea Herald (Kang Seok-jae, “SOUTH KOREA, U.S. TO HOLD ANNUAL JOINT COMMAND POST EXERCISE APRIL 20-26,” Seoul, 04/11/01) reported that the ROK and the US will hold an annual joint command post exercise, called “Reception, Staging, Onward Movement and Integration (RSOI),” April 20-26, the ROK-US Combined Forces Command (CFC) said Tuesday. RSOI is a CFC-led command post drill aimed at training and evaluating its ability to work with US augmentation forces from bases outside the country, officials said.

2. DPRK Communication Network

The Korea Herald (Kim Ji-ho, “N. K. RETAINS CAPABILITY OF ELECTRONIC WARFARE,” Seoul, 04/11/01) reported that the DPRK retains a limited capability of conducting electronic warfare, a London-based monthly intelligence review acquired by the military said Tuesday. The latest issue of Jane’s Intelligence Review said the DPRK has a massive computer production capacity and is endeavoring to develop hacking techniques and the ability to spread computer viruses. The DPRK has been replacing its old- fashioned communications networks with high-speed fiber optic cables to link computer networks of military units and government organizations, the magazine said.

3. DPRK Vessels Intrude ROK Waters

The Korea Herald (Kang Seok-jae, “N. K. VESSELS ENTER SOUTH KOREAN WATERS AGAIN,” Seoul, 04/11/01) reported that two DPRK patrol boats briefly intruded into ROK waters off Yonpyong Island in the West Sea Tuesday, the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said. The DPRK ships retreated when challenged by ROK naval vessels, it added. He said that the patrol boats appeared to have crossed the border on a mission escorting DPRK fishing boats operating nearby.

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Produced by the Nautilus Institute for Security and Sustainable Development in partnership with:
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Timothy L. Savage: napsnet@nautilus.org
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Seoul, Republic of Korea

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Tokyo, Japan

Peter Razvin: icipu@glas.apc.org
Moscow, Russian Federation

Yunxia Cao: yule111@sina.com
Shanghai, People’s Republic of China

Dingli Shen: dlshen@fudan.ac.cn
Shanghai, People’s Republic of China

John McKay: John.McKay@adm.monash.edu.au
Clayton, Australia

 


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