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Thursday, 9 August, 2001, 19:20 GMT 20:20 UK
China paid $34,000 over spy plane
The dissassembled plane
The affair spelled a low point in US-China relations
China's hopes for a $1m windfall over the US spy plane affair have been dashed after the Pentagon agreed to pay just $34,000.

China put in a bill for $1m to cover its "costs" in the affair, which was triggered when a US reconnaissance plane made an emergency landing in China after colliding with a Chinese fighter in April.


We were ready to consider only those (claims) that were reasonable and appropriate

Pentagon spokesman
China said it wanted compensation for feeding the 24 US crew members during their 11-day stay on Hainan Island and for its role in helping to return the damaged US plane.

But the Pentagon, doing its own sums, came up with a much lower figure.

It works out at little more than $100 a day per crew member.

A spokesman said the Pentagon had been ready to consider only "reasonable and appropriate" costs China incurred. The biggest cost - breaking up the EP-3 aircraft and flying it away - had already been paid by the US.

The spokesman said the final payment was now being sent via diplomatic channels to Beijing.

Snubbed

China, which tried to use the incident to its diplomatic advantage, may now feel rather snubbed.

The EP-3's crew arriving in Honolulu
The aircrew had to wait 11 days before going home
The Pentagon was under pressure not to overpay the Chinese.

In July the US House of Representatives warned it did not want China to receive any money from the affair.

One Republican congressman, Tom DeLay, described the episode as "communist piracy" and Chinese demands for compensation as "the deluded daydreams of a despotic regime".

China and the US are now keen to put the incident behind them.

It led to a period of choppy relations between the two powers, which were further complicated by issues such as US missile defence technology tests and Chinese accusations that some visiting Chinese-Americans have been spies.

See also:

19 Jul 01 | Americas
Congress blocks spy plane payout
06 Jul 01 | Americas
Spy plane back in US
03 May 01 | Americas
US 'split' on China policy
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