January 30, 2002

US Says Spy Plane Talks "Very Productive"

Talks between China and the United States on the April 1 spy plane incident, dragged back from the brink after a disastrous first round, have turned ``very productive,'' a senior U.S. official said Thursday.

``We covered all the items on the agenda and I found today's session to be very productive,'' Acting Defense Undersecretary for Policy Peter Verga told reporters.

The first day of talks Wednesday broke up after just 2-hours and U.S. officials said there was no point continuing unless China agreed to discuss the return of the EP-3 spy plane crippled in a mid-air collision with a Chinese F-8 fighter.

But U.S. Ambassador Joseph Prueher made a successful visit to the Chinese Foreign Ministry Thursday morning to salvage the talks, extracting a promise that a plan for the return of the EP-3, still stranded on Hainan Island, would be discussed, Verga said earlier.

China wants U.S. spy plane flights along its coast to be halted.

(China Daily 04/19/2001)

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