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Who Did What To Whom

U.S. and Chinese negotiators ended two days of talks with no sign of agreement Thursday on the return of an American spy plane or Beijing's demand for an end to surveillance flights near its coast.

The chief U.S. negotiator described the second day of talks as productive, but gave no other details. CBS News White House Correspondent Bill Plante reports one staff member described the meeting as two hours and 45 minutes of polemics.

CBS News White House Correspondent Peter Maer, quoting a National Security Council source, reports it was a business-like 90-minute meeting in which all items were discussed, including the return of the EP-3E surveillance plane, but no conclusions were reached.


Click here to learn more about the spy plane incident.


The Americans had threatened to break off the meeting Wednesday, saying Chinese negotiators would not seriously discuss the return of the U.S. plane. Maer reports the U.S. delegation will return home Friday, leaving further discussions to an existing maritime commission, but no date has been set.

Reuters
The Chinese showed a video in which a U.S. aviator took pictures of a Chinese jet.

"The sides have agreed to keep in touch, and future talks will be held at a time and place to be determined through diplomatic channels," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue said. The U.S. Embassy refused to say whether the talks were finished, or give other details.

China has held the U.S. Navy EP-3E surveillance plane, worth about $80 million, since it made an emergency landing April 1 on Hainan Island in the South China Sea. The 24 crew members were released only after 11 days of negotiations.

China wants the United States to take sole blame for the plane's collision with a Chinese fighter jet, whose pilot is missing and presumed dead. Beijing also wants an end to American surveillance flights near the Chinese coast.


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China Thursday showed video footage and photographs of what it called "very convincing" proof that the U.S. spy plane was to blame for the mid-air collision at the heart of a diplomatic standoff.

In a tit-for-tat reply to U.S. images and comments blaming Chna for the April 1 collision, the Foreign Ministry showed photographs of the damaged U.S. EP-3 plane and an animated simulation.


Reuters
A video still released by the Chinese showing the closeness of a U.S. F-18 jet.

Zhang also showed a short video clip of what she said was the interception last year by three Chinese fighters of a U.S. fighter over waters near China's coast.

It was taken by a Chinese fighter pilot and showed a U.S. aviator in an F-14 Tomcat taking photographs of a second Chinese fighter in what Zhang said was evidence the U.S. plane made dangerous moves.

"China has large quantities of evidence, of which this is just a small portion," Zhang told a news conference.

She said the evidence was shown to a U.S. negotiating team during five hours of talks on Wednesday and Thursday at which Beijing repeated its demand that Washington stop surveillance flights near its coastal waters.

The Bush administration has called the collision an accident. It insists the American pilot did not break the law because the plane was flying in international airspace. China blames the U.S. plane, saying it suddenly rammed the Chinese jet.

The U.S. plane is believed to be at the Hainan Island air base where it made its emergency landing. Satellite photos indicate China is examining the aircraft's top secret surveillance equipment.

Talks resumed Thursday only after U.S. Ambassador Joseph Prueher won a promise from Chinese officials to discuss the return of the American plane.


Reuters
Chief U.S. negotiator Peter Verga

Deputy Undersecretary of Defense Peter F. Verga, leader of the eight-member U.S. team, sounded a positive note after the meeting ended.

"We covered all the items that were on the agenda, and I found today's session to be productive," Verga said.

The U.S. Embassy would not say what Prueher told Chinese officials. But a White House spokeswoman said Wednesday that he would convey a warning that the talks could fail without "productive discussion" about the return of the spy plane.

During the first day of talks, the top Chinese negotiator said China had "sufficient evidence" to prove the United States was to blame, the statnewspaper China Daily said Thursday.

"The so-called evidence and speeches given by the U.S. side over the past few days do not hold water," Lu Shumin, head of the Foreign Ministry's North American affairs office, was quoted as saying.

On Thursday outside the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, a lone protester shouted against U.S. espionage for a few minutes before police stopped him.

China has accused the United States of duplicity in taking a harder line since winning the release of the plane's 24 crew members.

The tougher attitude will "lead to the Chinese government doubting whether the U.S. government will carry out agreements," the China Daily quoted international relations expert Yan Xuetong as saying.

The official newspaper also ran a list of "U.S. military mistakes." It included the February collision of a U.S. Navy submarine and a Japanese fishing boat off Hawaii and a 1998 accident where 20 skiers were killed in Italy after a U.S. Marine Corps fighter jet snapped the cable holding up their ski lift.

While American and Chinese negotiators met in Beijing, U.S. officials in Washington were weighing what weapons to sell Taiwan.

Plante reports Mr. Bush is not expected to sell Taiwan the most sophisticated systems it wants, but is expected to tell them next week they can have some ships and submarines.

The communist government considers the island a breakaway province, and has threatened to use force to capture it. The sides split amid civil war in 1949.

The administration has tried to separate the weapons package from the dispute over U.S. spy flights. China bitterly resents the Taiwan arms sales.

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