WASHINGTON (AP) The House voted overwhelmingly Wednesday against reimbursing China for the 11 days the crew of a grounded Navy spy plane spent on a Chinese island or for the cost of returning the aircraft.
The provision seemed to put the House at odds with the Bush administration, which has rejected Chinas demands for $1 million. The administration said it would consider reimbursing reasonable costs related to returning the plane.
By a bipartisan vote of 424-6, lawmakers approved language by House Majority Whip Tom DeLay, R-Texas, that would block such payments.
The brazen audacity of some demands can almost take on a kind of comic grandeur, said DeLay, who also spoke of Communist piracy and the deluded daydreams of a despotic regime.
The language was attached to a measure financing the department of State and other agencies next year, which the Senate has yet to consider.
The spy plane incident has heightened tensions between the two countries, which are complicated by issues including trade and Chinese accusations that some visiting Chinese-Americans have been spies.
The EP-3E surveillance plane made an emergency landing on Hainan island on April 1 after a midair collision with a Chinese fighter over the South China Sea.
China kept the U.S. crew for 11 days and refused to let the plane be flown home under its own power. In early July, the aircrafts salvageable pieces were flown back to the United States in hopes of rebuilding it.
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