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'Say sorry!' 'Shan't!' 4/4/01
(FORMER US SECRETARY OF STATE)
This matter is soluble, and will be
settled within a few days. I would not
apologise for the spy plane. I would
express regret for the loss of life,
which I understand Secretary Powell
has already done. I believe that that,
plus a proposal for a fact finding
mission, of which plane turned into
what plane, but does not argue the
issue of the intelligence operation. It
will, in my view, lead to a settlement.
How do you rate the Bush
administration's handling of this crisis?
We have to separate what is being said
by the media and in our countries, from
what the administration is saying. The
administration has been restrained, and
has made every effort to keep this, what
is basically an accident of two planes
colliding, from blowing up into an incident,
which is something worse. My feeling is
that it will be resolved. I cannot imagine
that the Chinese President and his chief
foreign policy adviser would have left
China for twelve days, if they thought that
this was going to turn into a major crisis,
so the only danger is excessive machoism
on one side or the other.
It comes in the context of what some
people are calling the start of, if not a
new Cold War, a frostiness between the
US and China. In that sense, it's all the
more dangerous. Is that how you read it?
There are no doubts that there are elements
in each country that have ideological or
national biases against the policies of the
others. I do not think that is the dominant
trend in either country. The art of this, is
to handle the crisis in such a way, that it
doesn't feed attitudes that welcome
confrontation. This is not an issue on
which there needs to be confrontation
between China and the US. China should
release those 24 prisoners.
In the broader context of Chinese/American
relations, do you think it would be wise for
the Bush administration to go ahead with
the sale of the destroyers to Taiwan?
I think the administration should give
weapons that make it clear that we stand
by what every President since the opening
of China has reiterated, our desire for a
people solution. I personally would not
sell the weapons at this moment.
Because they are really tying the defence
of Taiwan into the defence of the American
military system. Therefore, they indirectly
restore the military relationship, the ending
of which was a precondition for the normal
relations, and which has been reaffirmed by
every American President, including the
Republican Presidents, Reagan and the first
President Bush, before that. I would favour
a significant arms package, but I would not
include that particular weapon system. But
then, my mind could be changed if I knew
more about the technology.
Henry Kissinger, thank you.