US and Chinese officials Wednesday ended a first round of talks on the collision between a US spy plane and a Chinese fighter jet with no sign of a narrowing of differences between the two sides.
An eight-member Pentagon delegation, headed by Deputy Undersecretary of Defense Peter Verga, returned to the US Embassy here looking tense and refusing to talk to the press after three hours of talks at China's Foreign Ministry.
Neither side would immediately comment but China's official Xinhua news agency announced that the talks would continue Thursday.
"There is nothing to say, nothing to say," a spokeswoman at the Chinese foreign ministry told AFP.
Washington has vowed to win the return of a crippled EP-3 surveillance plane that was forced to land on China's Hainan island after the April 1 collision with the Chinese plane.
The US has also insisted that it is entitled to continue surveillance flights in international airspace near China.
China, whose negotiating team was headed by foreign ministry department head Lu Shumin, has demanded an end to such flights, which it regards as a threat to its national security.
Each capital has accused the pilots of the other side for the collision which sparked the most serious crisis in US-China relations since the mistaken NATO bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade nearly two years ago.
The pre-talks rhetoric however was tempered by statements from both sides emphasising the importance of not allowing the row to drag on indefinitely.
The relatively low level of the officials involved in the meeting was also seen as reflecting the desire on both sides to contain the row and prevent it from spilling over into other key areas of the relationship.
The two sides were also to discuss how to prevent similar incidents in the future.
China released the 24 crew of the US plane on Thursday after the US expressed sorrow for the dead Chinese pilot, but has kept the plane – BEIJING (AFP)
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