Chinese President Jiang Zemin on Friday met with the family members of pilot Wang Wei, who died in the April 1 incident in which a US spy plane bumped into and destroy his fighter jet, and representatives from the military unit he belonged to at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.
Jiang, also general secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), returned from an overseas trip Thursday. He told Wang's family members that during his visit overseas he kept thinking of the search and rescue for the missing pilot every day and was very much concerned about Wang's family, too.
Wang's wife Ruan Guoqin, father Wang Ming, mother Wang Yueqin, his 6 year-old son and his sister Wang Lin were present at the meeting.
Wang's family and his former comrades-in-arms expressed thanks to the CPC Central Committee, the State Council and the Central Military Commission (CMC) for their concern.
Jiang, also chairman of the Central Military Commission, said that Wang died a heroic death to safeguard the country's sovereignty and security. The CMC has awarded Wang Wei the title of "Guardian of Territorial Airspace and Waters," Jiang said, adding this is the highest praise given by the motherland and the people, and is the glory of the whole army and his family as well.
The people will remember Wang Wei forever, Jiang said.
Jiang told Wang's parents that he thanked them for bringing up a good son for the Party and the state. He encouraged Wang's family to continue the work left by the martyr and bring up his son well.
Jiang pointed out that the fundamental cause of the collision incident is that the United States has, over the years, kept sending planes to conduct reconnaissance in airspace near China's coastal areas, undermining China's security.
Jiang said that this matter has not come to an end. China demands that the United States bear responsibility for the incident, he said. Only if the United States stops reconnaissance in airspace near China's coastal areas, can similar incidents be prevented from recurring, Jiang said.
Jiang said, the Chinese people are a peace-loving nation and the Chinese government pursues an independent foreign policy of peace.
China has always attached importance to Sino-US relations and has always stressed treating and handling the two countries' relations from a strategic height, Jiang said.
China does not wish to see confrontation, Jiang said. However, it will never make concessions in dealing with issues which involve national sovereignty, territorial integrity and national dignity, he said.