China to Release Spy Plane Crew After Washington Says Its Sorry: The Corporate Interests behind the Diplomacy

April 11, 2001


Chinese officials announced today that the 24 crew members of the US spy plane will be released. The Chinese ForeignMinister said that the crew members would be released as soon as "appropriate travel procedures" were completed. Hisstatements were followed by President Bush’s at the White House.

The announcements came shortly after the US submitted a formal statement to the Chinese government which expressedsevere regret for entering China’s airspace during the emergency landing. The letter also said the US is "verysorry" for the loss of the Chinese pilot.

Why didn’t this conflict escalate? Today we will look at how the business interests of the two countries have becomeincreasingly inter-dependent. U.S. corporate executives had been pressuring the Bush administration to keep theconflict from affecting their economic interests, warning that threatening trade sanctions could come back to hauntthem. And the New York Times is reporting today Kmart warned Chinese diplomats that it will seek newsuppliers if the American crew wasn’t released promptly. The company was responding to thousands of calls and e-mailfrom customers urging the retailer to stop buying products from China.


  • Lori Wallach, Director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch.
  • Patrick Woodall, Research Director of Global Trade Watch.

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