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BBC's Khalid Javed
"The US has accepted that this was a unique and tragic event"
 real 28k

The BBC's Duncan Hewitt
"It's not clear whether China has accepted the US explanation"
 real 28k

Thursday, 16 December, 1999, 11:23 GMT
US agrees embassy compensation

Chinese embassy in Belgrade Five laser-guided missiles slammed into the embassy

The United States and China have reached agreement on compensation for Nato's bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade.

US State Department legal adviser David Andrews said after talks in Beijing that Washington would pay China $28m, subject to approval of the next federal budget by Congress.

China is also to pay $2.87m for the damage caused to US diplomatic property in China in the riots that followed the 7 May attack.

Angry mobs smashed windows and threw Molotov cocktails at the US embassy in Beijing, while the US consul's residence in the southern city of Chengdu was partially burned down.

Injured embassy employee Three people died and 27 were injured
"These figures reflect what both sides see as fair payment for the property damage based on the delegations' five meetings that comprised an extensive review," Mr Andrews told a news conference in the Chinese capital.

"I hope this day marks the beginning of a more positive trend in US-China relations," he said, adding that the bombing had been "tragic" and "mistaken".

The US has already paid $4.5m in humanitarian aid to the families of the three embassy staff killed and 27 injured.

'Not a precedent'

Western diplomats say Washington had sought about $5m for damage to its missions and was reluctant to set a precedent for compensation for damage during military conflicts.

"This was a unique and tragic event. It does not set a precedent," a US official said.

Angry Chinese took to the streets Angry Chinese took to the streets
Ties plunged to their frostiest in decades after the bombing as China severed high-level military contacts with the US and suspended talks on human rights, trade and security issues in retaliation.

The BBC's Duncan Hewitt in Beijing says the deal removes a major obstacle to the resumption of normal ties between the two countries.

But he says it is not clear whether China fully accepts the American case that Nato planners mistook the Chinese embassy for another building because their maps were out of date.

A Chinese spokesman repeated the government's demand for a full explanation and for those responsible for the attack to be punished.

The official Xinhua news agency quoted Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhu Bangzao as saying the $28m would cover damage to property, but made no mention of the US counter claim.

The bombing was a "gross violation of the universally recognised international law" and an "internationally wrongful act by the US", he said.

"The US Government should conduct a comprehensive and thorough investigation into the bombing, severely punish the perpetrators and give a satisfactory account of the incident to the Chinese Government and people as soon as possible."

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See also:
24 Nov 99 |  Battle for Free Trade
China drops trade barriers
04 Nov 99 |  World
US and China to restore ties
29 Oct 99 |  Asia-Pacific
US says China ties improving
18 Jun 99 |  Asia-Pacific
China rejects US apology
08 May 99 |  Europe
Embassy strike 'a mistake'

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