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US Diplomats Meet With Plane Crew

April 7, 2001

HAIKOU, China (AP) _ A detained U.S. air crew in China are in ``very high spirits″ and have been allowed to receive e-mails from home, an American diplomat said early Sunday.

Diplomats were allowed to see the crew for about one hour Sunday morning. It was their third meeting since the U.S. Navy EP-3E made an emergency landing on Hainan island in the South China Sea after an in-flight collision April 1 with a Chinese fighter jet.

``The crew is ... in very high spirits. They understand the circumstances under which they are here,″ said the U.S. Embassy military attache, Army Brig. Gen. Neal Sealock, one of two diplomats to see the crew.

Sealock said the diplomats had checked the health and treatment of the crew.

``They are looking forward to going home. They do offer that they very much appreciate the e-mails that they’ve been allowed to receive from home,″ Sealock said without giving any details.

Sealock, one of at least seven U.S. diplomats on Hainan, spoke briefly to reporters, then said he had to leave to report to Washington. He would not answer any questions.

The meeting began after Sealock and Ted Gong, a U.S. consular official, discussed ground rules with Chinese officials for two hours, according to Mark Canning, another diplomat.

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