US - China aircraft incident




                    I cannot comment on the details of it because it is not a matter for the

                    Security Council nor for the United Kingdom. We have all be looking forward

                    to a lowering of tension on the issue of the lost Chinese pilot, which we too

                    regret very much, and of the plane held on Hainam Island. The fact that the

                    Government of China has decided to release the 24 crew members is very

                    good news. It is an important relationship between the People’s Republic of

                    China and the United States and it affects the business we do here at the UN

                    as well as many other aspects, so I think the Council will be highly pleased to

                    hear that as it appears that tension is lessened and the crew is released the

                    matter will be resolved very quickly.


                    (Question about whether the UN played a role)


                    No, it did not. I think the Secretary-General made it clear that if his offices had

                    been useful he would have been prepared to contribute them. The Security

                    Council does not rule the world, it does not intervene in every subject. I think I

                    have been very careful during the UK Presidency to try and direct the Council

                    to do business where it can achieve results and on this sort of issue where

                    there are huge factors involved between the two countries concerned, it has to

                    be sorted out bilaterally. That is where conflicts should be sorted out or

                    incipient disputes should be sorted out between the parties who are

                    responsible. The Security Council steps in at a later stage when it has not

                    been possible for conflicts or incipient disputes to be sorted out. So I think

                    this has happened the way it should have done.


                    (Question: Is it possible to go back to a normal relationship with the United



                    That is for the two countries concerned. And they both have strong interests

                    that interlock with each others. And one would look forward to the

                    development of a relationship that reflects those interests in the context of a

                    globalising and a very interdependent world – look at the strength of the

                    Chinese trade in the United States. Look at all the other issues where China

                    clearly wishes to move forward, but are also looking at a new administration in

                    Washington which also wants the world to move forward to peace and

                    prosperity. I think the primary responsibility of course falls on the two

                    countries themselves.