The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on April 12, 2001 · Page 5
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 5

Salina, Kansas
Issue Date:
Thursday, April 12, 2001
Page 5
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THE SALINA JOURNAL U.S-CHINA CRISIS THURSDAY, APRIL 12, 2001 AS • GOODLAND REACTS Goodland unties its yellow ribbons Town prepares to receive Navy crewman Vignery By NATE JENKINS The Salina Journal GOODLAND — Removing the decorations now adorning yards and houses in this corner of the state will, as always and like everywhere, informally signify the end of an event. , But this time, it won't be a melancholy affair. With news that China has ended an 11-day standoff by releasing the 24-member Navy crew that includes Goodland native Jeff Vignery, Goodland residents now will strip the city of yellow ribbons that were hung as a reminder that one of their own was held as a pawn in an international crisis. The Navy crew had been held on China's Hainan Island since making an emergency landing there after •the plane they were flying collided with a Chinese fighter jet. The media hype focused on Goodland and the Vignery family subsided somewhat a few days after the emergency landing was made. But Wednesday, after the Chinese agreed to_ allow the crew to return to the United States, news reporters began to return to Goodland, said Ron Harding, president of the Goodland Area Chamber of Commerce. And, cpincidentally, U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kansas, was scheduled to speak in Goodland Wednesday evening as part of a statewide tour. Jim Lunsway, owner of Mr. Jim's His Shop, a downtown business, said the threat of a return to winter weather Wednesday slowed activity in Goodland to a crawl, and thus downtown banter about Vignery's release was at a minimum. Still, said Lunsway "There's a lot of sentiment over this ... Jeff is well-liked and the Vignerys have lived here forever. They've had our thoughts and prayers. "There's a lot of happiness and relief in Goodland because of the news this morning," Lunsway said. It's not yet clear when Jeff Vignery might return to his hometown, but Harding said when he does, he will be welcomed by a city wide celebration. Free / Standoff resolved at last FROM PAGE A1 The United States evaded the full apology demanded by China, which nevertheless extracted an intricate series of expressions, of sorrow from Washington. "This has been a difficult situation for both our countries," Bush said. "I know the American people join me in expressing sorrow for the loss of life of a Chinese pilot. Our prayers are with his wife and his child." Foreign Minister Tang Jiax- uan said China had agreed to release the crew on "humanitarian grounds." China's deputy U.N. ambassador, Shen Guofang, told The Associated Press that his country would keep the spy plane, which has been held on Hainan since April 1, pending further investigation. He declined to offer a timetable for the plane's return. . American officials assume Chinese experts have stripped the craft of its sophisticated surveillance equipment. Crew members worked to delete top- secret codes and intelligence before the Chinese entered the aircraft, the Pentagon has said. U.S. officials said there were no plans to end the practice of flying spy planes in interna- The Associated Press A chartered Continental Airlines plane carrying 24 crew members of a U.S. military spy plane tal<es off from Hailtou International Airport at 7:30 a.m. local time today. tional airspace near China. Cl^inese officials have denounced the surveillance flights as a violation of national sovereignty. "It must be pointed out that this case has not concluded yet," Foreign Ministry spokesman Sun Yuxi said. Chinese President Jiang Zemin has been on a 12-day Latin American toiir through much of the crisis. It wasn't immediately clear who else in the Chinese government was managing the situation, who had a say in deciding to release the crew, or to what ex­ tent the Chinese military was involved in the process. In addition, there were very few of the direct pronouncements from top officials that are typical in situations when China feels its sovereignty or dignity has been threatened. The Cold War-style dispute inflamed tensions over an expected U.S. decision this month on arms sales to Taiwan — which China claims as its territory — and over the detention in China of several U.S.-based scholars. Relations with China, always a balancing act, chilled further in 1999 when NATO planes bombed the Chinese embassy in Belgrade during air strikes against Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic. American officials said it was an accident; China expressed doubt, and the United States apologized unconditionally. Despite their differences, the two countries are bound as' never before by hundreds of billions of dollars in trade. China wants U.S. support to join the World Trade Organization this year and win its bid to host the 2008 Olympics. Sfenior officials on both sides, said they want to make sure the incident does no damage to long-term relations. In a letter delivered Wednesday afternoon to the Chinese Foreign Ministry, U.S. Ambassador Joseph Prueher twice used the words "very sorry." The letter appeared to be a compromise to satisfy China's' demand for a formal apology while accommodating Bush's refusal to offer one for what his government considered an accident. After the letter's release, the two sides offered different interpretations. "Please convey to the Chinese people and to the family of pilot Wang Wei that we are very sorry for their loss," said the letter, released by the White House in English. Ynot Come On Over! We'll Buy Out Any Competitors Contract! Y)YNOT CELUJLM Dealer Tony Roets WIRELESS STORE HOURS : Mon.-Fri. 9 - 6, Sat. 9 -1 128 N. Santa Fe / SALINA, KS 67401 / 785-823-5225 SUPERIOR ROOFING is now teamed up with Sales Roofing and Supply. Workers compensation, bonded and ^^^^ insured. 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