A delegation of US officials, led by deputy state secretary Pete Verga has arrived in Beijing to begin talks on the recent mid-air collision between an American spy plane and a Chinese fighter jet. The negotiations are to start April,18. The eight-member American team, consisting of representatives of the State Department and US Defence Ministry, will demand the return of the EP-3 surveillance aircraft which was forced to make a crash landing on Hainan island following the 1 April incident over the South China Sea. The Chinese delegation, containing diplomats and senior officers of the army, is headed by director of America’s and Oceania’s department of Chinese Foreign Ministry Lu Shumin. The US team has indicated it will be putting "tough questions" to the Chinese authorities when they meet on Wednesday. The talks could set the tone for future US-Chinese relations. The plane costs $80 million, and Americans hope that China will not hamper its returning to the USA. At the same time, American servicemen state that spy flight over China will be continued. However China states that the plane will not be returned until official investigation of the accident is complete. At the forthcoming negotiations China even does not intend to discuss the question of returning of the plane. China is to discuss the reasons of the accident, the demand to end American reconnaissance flights, measures to prevent such accidents in the future, etc.
It will be noted that regardless of the results of the forthcoming negotiations, determination of China deserves respect. China will be able to achieve the modern level of economic, military and technical development of the United States only in 20-30 years, experts say.
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