U.S. EP-3e and Chinese Fighter Collide

Materials presented in chronological order.

Rosenthal, Elisabeth, with David E. Sanger. "U.S. Plane in China After It Collides With Chinese Jet." New York Times, 2 Apr. 2001. []

On 1 April 2001, a U.S. Navy EP-3e Aries II "spy plane on a routine surveillance mission near the Chinese coast collided ... with a Chinese fighter jet that was closely tailing it. The American plane made an emergency landing" on China's Hainan Island. The United States "said it was seeking the immediate return of the 24 crew members ... and of the sophisticated aircraft and all its intelligence equipment."

Dao, James. "China's Shadowing Had Annoyed U.S." New York Times, 2 Apr. 2001. []

Senior Pentagon officials said on 1 April 2001 that "Chinese fighter jets have flown dangerously close" to U.S. "reconnaissance planes over the South China Sea several times in recent months, prompting complaints from American officials to the Chinese." The EP-3e Aries II turboprop aircraft "involved in the latest incident was a sophisticated, long-range maritime surveillance plane used to monitor the activities of ships, submarines and aircraft and also capable of intercepting and interpreting electronic signals from military units on land.... The Navy aircraft was part of a squadron based on Whidbey Island, Wash., but it began its mission on [31 March 2001] from Kadena air base on Okinawa, about 1,000 miles from Hainan."

Bamford, James. "The Dangers of Spy Planes." New York Times, 5 Apr. 2001. [http://]

The author uses the latest U.S.-China spy plane incident to consider whether the use of spy planes for electronic monitoring "is still useful or if, with the end of the cold war, the risks now outweigh any advantage.... The United States now has intelligence satellites that can eavesdrop on conversations almost anywhere in the world.... And land-based listening posts in Japan, South Korea and elsewhere are equipped with giant antenna farms focused on Chinese military, naval and diplomatic communications. There are good reasons to consider ending our frequent, provocative, costly and often redundant close-in air patrols."

Shanker, Thom. "U.S. Resumes Its Spy Flights Close to China." New York Times, 8 May 2001. []

According to defense officials, U.S. reconnaissance flights off the coast of China were resumed on 6 May 2001 "for the first time since [the] collision on April 1 between a Navy surveillance plane and a Chinese fighter jet.... An unarmed Air Force RC-135 took off from Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, Japan, flew its mission in international airspace off China's northeastern coast ... and returned to its base ... without being trailed by Chinese interceptors, officials said."

Callamari, Peter, and Derek Reveron. "China's Use of Perception Management." International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 16, no. 1 (Spring 2003): 1-15.

"China successfully used perception management in manipulating press coverage of the EP-3 incident to avoid blame and a label of enemy of the United States.... China nurtured a preexisting belief in many quarters that the United States is an uncontrollable hegemon.... Through a constant flow of propaganda, Beijing altered the focus and blame for the EP-3/F-8 collision."

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