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CNN BREAKING NEWS

U.S/China Standoff: Chinese Media Reporting U.S. Crew May Be Released

Aired April 11, 2001 - 06:18   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JASON CARROLL, CNN ANCHOR: We want to update you, obviously, on the breaking developments that have been occurring this morning between the -- between the standoff between the U.S. and China. We do know that a press conference is scheduled for 7:00 a.m. Eastern Time. There's also going to be a joint presser on Hainan Island.

No details of these press conferences have been released, but we can tell you that the U.S. ambassador has left the U.S. Embassy for the Foreign Ministry. Also, there clearly appears to be some movement in this standoff. We're being told that this is very rare for the Chinese Foreign Ministry to hold an unannounced press conference.

Also, Chinese media reports at this time are saying that there is a possibility that the 24 crew members will be released.

LINDA STOUFFER, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, the latest on that -- we are just getting this development in. The Chinese state media is reporting right now that the U.S. aircrew are to be released, all 24 U.S. members of that spy plane crew.

There was a statement read on television in China that says that they would be released as soon as appropriate travel procedures were arranged and completed. It was a very brief statement, from what we understand. But again, the word on Chinese state run media now is that the U.S. crew members will be released. They have been held on Hainan Island in China for the 11th day now, after that midair collision that happened.

You might remember, the U.S. surveillance plane was flying in what the U.S. says was international airspace when it had a midair bump with a Chinese fighter jet. Now, the pilot from that fighter jet is still missing and, at this point, presumed dead, although Chinese crews have been out looking for him in the days since the accident.

CARROLL: Just a short time ago, we did hear from Rebecca MacKinnon, who said that it's very difficult to determine exactly what's going to come out of this press conference. She said there was a possibility that perhaps there would be some update on the letter that U.S. officials had put together regarding the negotiations in that letter.

They had discussed possibly having some sort of joint investigation. But, again, it's very difficult at this point to come up with the exact details of what's going to come out of this press conference. But, again, with these Chinese media reports coming out that there is a possibility that these detainees will be released. That certainly is one detail that we're all going to be looking for.

STOUFFER: That's right. The headlines from the state-run media in China: The U.S. air crew members will be released.

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