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U.S. Department of State

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U.S. Department of State
Office of the Spokesman
Press Statement

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December 16, 1999

China--Property Damage Agreements

The following statement was made by Department of State Legal Advisor David Andrews in Beijing on December 16, 1999:

"At approximately 2:30 this morning, Beijing time, the United States and China completed negotiations stemming from the tragic mistaken bombing, last May, of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade. Two agreements were signed: one regarding U.S. intent to seek funds from Congress for payments to China for damage to the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade and one regarding Chinese payments to the U.S. for damage to diplomatic and consular facilities in the PRC resulting from demonstrations that occurred in the aftermath of the bombing.

"This was the fifth round of discussions on payments following Under Secretary Pickering's June visit to Beijing to explain the tragic circumstances of the bombing. In August, the United States agreed to extend humanitarian payments to the injured and the families of those killed. These latest agreements represent the culmination of serious efforts by both sides to resolve property issues. I am sure this settlement will be conducive to the improvement and further development of U.S.-China relations.

"I want to thank my negotiating team, including Mr. Stephen Schlaikjer, Director of the China Desk at the State Department; Nick Ferro of the Foreign Buildings Office; and Bill Kissinger and Paula Barton of my own office. I also want to thank our Chinese counterparts, who were led by the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs Director General for Treaties and Law, Madame Xue Hanqin, and the Director General for Consular Affairs, Mr. Zhong Jianhua, and his deputy, Mr. Liao Zhihong. Our team received excellent support from the [U.S.] Embassy staff as well.

"It is fitting that we were able to conclude these negotiations on the day that our new Ambassador to Beijing, Joseph Prueher, presented his credentials to Chinese President Jiang Zemin. I hope this day marks the beginning of a more positive trend in U.S.-China relations.

"Let me give you just a bit more in detail, and then I will depart. The figures involved: We will seek funding in Congress so that we can provide $28 million for damages to the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade. The Chinese have agreed to pay for damage to U.S. facilities in China in the amount of $2.87 million. These figures reflect what both sides see as a fair payment for the property damage based on our delegations' five meetings that comprise an exhaustive review. We will include the $28 million in our Fiscal Year 2001 budget request."

[end of document]

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