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Yugoslavia: China Demands Apology Over Embassy Bombing

Prague, 10 May 1999 (RFE/RL) - Chinese Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan today demanded an official apology from NATO for the bombing of its embassy in Belgrade and called for a detailed public investigation of the incident and punishment of those responsible. China's state media have failed to carry expressions of regret over the incident from U.S. President Bill Clinton and refuted NATO's explanations that the bombing was a mistake. The U.S. has postponed all official visits to China, including a scheduled trip by Under Secretary of State Stanley Roth. The postponment follows massive and violent anti-American demonstrations throughout China.

Earlier today, China suspended high-level military contacts between the U.S. and Chinese armed forces and postponed bilateral consultations on weapons proliferation, arms control and human rights.

Also today, Germany announced that Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder would shorten -- at China's request -- a trip to China. Schroeder's adviser Michael Steiner said on a television program that the chancellor's talks in Beijing would focus almost exclusively on the embassy bombing.

China's President Jiang Zemin was today quoted by the Chinese Xinhua news agency as telling Russian President Boris Yeltsin that there could be no UN solution to the Kosovo crisis as long as NATO bombs Yugoslavia. Yeltsin subsequently sent his envoy Viktor Chernomyrdin to Beijing to discuss the Kosovo situation.

But NATO's spokesman Jamie Shea said today in Brussels that the alliance saw no permanent or even temporary setback to diplomatic efforts to find a settlement in Kosovo. He confirmed that NATO continues its air strikes against Yugoslavia.

In the meantime, China's stock markets today declined sharply on fears that the NATO-China crisis could adversely affect foreign trade and economic relations with the West.