I am pleased that the Chinese government has agreed to release our service men and women. After the crew is safely at home, we can assess the very real damage done to U.S.-China relations as China declares victory in the impasse. It should be clear to the Chinese regime that the safety of our service men and women is our highest international priority and that their detention is an insult.
Ambassador Joseph Prueher’s letter to Chinese Foreign Minister Tang Jiazuan appears to give the Chinese regime a graceful exit from a huge mistake. The letter does not make the apology that the Chinese government said it needed to release our crew. It appears that the Chinese government’s request for an original apology was a ruse to leverage concessions on reconnaissance flights and arms sales to Taiwan. It also bought the Chinese regime time to exploit the technology on our aircraft and attempt to humiliate the U.S. in the eyes of the Chinese people.
The Chinese government has once again raised questions about its willingness to adhere to international law and custom. For a number of years, we have seen the Chinese government consistently violate international principles of human rights in China and Tibet, proliferate weapons of mass destruction despite agreements that it would not do so, and violate trade agreements which it has signed. China has a glorious future in the global community. In order to achieve that future, it must respect the rule of law.
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