3 US Warships in South China Sea Ordered to Move Out

The United States has ordered three warships in the South China Sea region to move out of the area, a Pentagon spokesman said on Monday local time.

The spokesman also said China had expressed no interest in US offers to help search for a Chinese fighter jet that crashed after collision with a US spy plane. His indication is that the three US battle ships came to help search for the the missing pilot.

"The ships have been released to proceed on duties as assigned," the spokesman said.

Earlier, a defense official had said the three destroyers were lingering in the region to "monitor the situation," after a US surveillance plane made an emergency landing on China's Hainan Island over the weekend following a collision with a Chinese fighter jet.

"The Chinese have expressed no interest in our offer for assistance," the spokesman said, referring to US offers to help with search and rescue efforts for the downed Chinese plane.

In another development, according to Hong Kong media, more than 100 members of Hong Kong Federation of Trade Union (FTU) held a demonstration yesterday afternoon in front of the US Consulate in Hong Kong, strongly protesting to the United States about a US spy plane which crashed a Chinese fighter jet and intruded into China’s airspace, and demanding that the US government immediately apologize for the incident and assume all responsibilities arising thereof.

The FTU representatives shouted slogans outside the Consulate gate and demanded the Consulate to send a diplomat out to take the written protest. But during the one-hour demonstration, none of the US diplomats showed up. Very much disappointed, the FTU demonstrators cried out against the Consulate for ignoring democracy and human rights and finally stuck the written protest on the iron door of the Consulate before breaking up in a peaceful way.

(Agencies 04/03/2001)


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