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U.S. Lowballs China On Spy Plane Pay

A chilly coda to the U.S.-China spy plane flap.

Rejecting Beijing's demand for $1 million in costs, the United States is sending China $34,567 to pay for support of the crippled U.S. Navy spy plane that collided with a Chinese fighter jet in April, U.S. officials said.

The officials, who asked not to be identified, said there was no word yet on whether China would accept the payment, which was en route to the U.S. Embassy in Beijing for transmission to the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

Navy Rear. Adm. Craig Quigley, a Defense Department spokesman, told reporters at the Pentagon's regular briefing the payment was being sent to the Chinese, but he declined to discuss the amount. Quigley said the U.S. received a bill from China, and that some of the charges were legitimate.

The crippled U.S. Navy EP-3 reconnaissance plane landed on China's Hainan Island on April 1 after colliding with a fighter jet in international air space. It did not leave a military airfield there until July 3 when it was dismantled and flown back to the United States for repairs.

China held the 24-member EP-3 crew for 11 days after the collision in a standoff that roiled U.S.-China relations in the first months of the administration of President Bush.

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