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Friday, 4 May, 2001, 06:19 GMT 07:19 UK
China attacks 'supremacist' US
American spy plane
A full US inspection has not been possible
China has stepped up its attack on US plans for a missile defence shield, saying the scheme appears aimed at establishing "absolute military supremacy" in the world.

The official China Daily newspaper warned that developing the missile shield would "break the present fragile global security equilibrium".

The United States, already the world's only superpower, is attempting to seek even greater global hegemony

China Daily
The condemnation comes amid ongoing friction between both sides as a team of American technicians attempts to inspect the US spy plane held on Hainan Island for more than a month.

Relations between the two countries have been fraught since the mid-air collision between the plane and a Chinese fighter jet on 1 April.

The Pentagon now says China is not providing electrical power for the inspection needed to determine if the plane is in a condition to be flown out of China.

George Bush
The Chinese say Bush's anti-missile programme might spark off an arms race
Spokesman Rear Admiral Craig Quigley said the US technical requirements had been worked out with the Chinese foreign ministry, but apparently were not passed on to officials at Lingshui air base, where the plane is being held.

"As has been our experience recently, it is not at all clear that there's a good communication flow between one part of the Chinese Government to another," said Admiral Quigley.

But the Pentagon has also experienced communication problems of its own which have threatened to further complicate Sino-American relations.

In a surprise announcement on Wednesday, the US Defense Department said all military ties with China had been suspended, only to retract the statement two hours later.

US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld
Donald Rumsfeld: Intentions "misinterpreted"
The Pentagon said the misunderstanding was the result of an aide's misinterpretation of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's intentions.

Mr Bush himself attempted to clarify what was widely seen as an embarrassing blunder.

"What the Chinese must understand is we will be firm in our philosophy, consistent in our beliefs, and we want to work to have a relationship that is a positive relationship for both countries," he said.

On a different front, both China and the US are boosting internet security after an escalation of hacker attacks from the two countries disrupting each other's systems.

Several official Chinese websites have been defaced with pornographic material, while in the US, the Department of Labor was among those hit.

In what is being seen as a more positive development, China's US ambassador struck a conciliatory note in a speech on Thursday, reflecting on "rollercoaster" relations with Washington, but dropping the terse rhetoric of recent Sino-US clashes.

Speaking at the Washington Asia Society's annual dinner, Yang Jiechi said establishing a workable relationship, particularly on trade issues, was in both countries interests.

The BBC's Rob Watson
"Both sides are now hoping for calmer times"
Former Defence Attache Rear-Admiral Eric McVadon
"Controversy has been swirling for a couple of years about the benefits of a military-to-military relationship with China"

Key stories:


Spy plane row



See also:

03 May 01 | Americas
03 May 01 | Americas
03 May 01 | Science/Nature
01 May 01 | Asia-Pacific
02 May 01 | Americas
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