Chinese President stops off in Brazil
BRASILIA, Brazil (AP) -- Chinese President Jiang Zemin made a discreet
arrival in Brazil's capital Wednesday, frustrating expectations that he would
comment on the end of his country's diplomatic standoff with the United States.
The Chinese Embassy in Brasilia said early Wednesday that Jiang would speak
at the Brasilia Air Base on his arrival from Montevideo, Uruguay. Expectations ran
high that he would speak of China's decision to release 24 U.S. crew members
detained since their spy plane collided with a Chinese fighter and made an emergency
landing on April 1.
But on arriving at 2:50 p.m. local time (1750 GMT), Jiang merely smiled,
Brazilian and Chinese officials and left in a motorcade for his hotel. The embassy
released a communique about his visit that said nothing about the plane incident.
The statement said Jiang and Brazil's President Fernando Henrique Cardoso
would discuss "our bilateral relationship and the international matters of common
interest." They also will discuss a strategic partnership that includes a joint
program to build and launch satellites.
Jiang, who visited Brazil in 1993, will spend just 18 hours in the country.
is China's largest trading partner in Latin America, with $2.3 billion in trade last
China on Wednesday agreed to release the American crew, held on Hainan
island in southern China, but indicated it would hold the plane pending further
talks. The end to the stalemate came after U.S. President George W. Bush's
administration sent China a letter saying the United States is "very sorry" for the
plane's unauthorized landing last Sunday and the death of a Chinese pilot.
During his travels in South America, Jiang has only spoken twice about
standoff. On Tuesday, he said China's position was "sufficiently clear" and
appeared to stand by earlier demands that the United States apologize.
Earlier, in Santiago, Chile, he called for the Bush administration to apologize
accept responsibility for the collision.
Jiang opened the 12-day trip in Chile last Thursday. He paid visits to
and Uruguay and is to leave Brazil on Thursday en route to Cuba and Venezuela,
the last stop on his tour.
Copyright 2001 The Associated Press.