WASHINGTON — After rejecting Beijing's demand for $1 million, the United States is sending China $34,576 to pay for support of a U.S. Navy surveillance aircraft crippled after a collision with a Chinese fighter jet in April, U.S. officials said Thursday.
The officials, who asked not to be identified, said there was no word yet on whether China would accept the payment, which was en route to the U.S. Embassy in Beijing for transmission to the Chinese Foreign Ministry.
Navy Rear Adm. Craig Quigley, a Defense Department spokesman, told reporters at the Pentagon's regular briefing that "an appropriate amount of money" was being sent to the Chinese. But he declined to discuss the amount.
The crippled Navy EP-3 reconnaissance plane landed on China's Hainan island April 1 after colliding with a fighter jet in international airspace. It did not leave a military airfield on Hainan until July 3, when it was dismantled and flown back to the U.S. for repairs.
China held the 24-member EP-3 crew 11 days after the collision in a standoff that roiled U.S.-China ties in the first months of the Bush administration. The Chinese pilot died.