April 10, 2001 – The Hainan Island incident, as it came to be known, was approaching a stalemate between the U.S. and China. The incident, a United States Navy EP-3E ARIES II signals intelligence aircraft and a People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) J-8II interceptor fighter jet collided in mid-air, resulting in an international dispute between the United States of America and the People’s Republic of China (PRC).
The EP-3 was operating about 70 miles (110 km) away from the PRC island province of Hainan, and about 100 miles (160 km) away from the Chinese military installation in the Paracel Islands, when it was intercepted by two J-8 fighters. A collision between the EP-3 and one of the J-8s caused the death of a PRC pilot, and the EP-3 was forced to make an emergency landing on Hainan. The 24 crew members were detained and interrogated by the Chinese authorities until a statement was delivered by the United States government regarding the incident. The exact phrasing of this document was intentionally ambiguous and allowed both countries to save face while defusing a potentially volatile situation between militarily strong regional states.
But up to this point, it wasn’t going anywhere – neither side was budging, we were deep in a stalemate, and concerns were raised over the welfare of the crew members, even though Chinese spokesmen assured the U.S. government they were being well taken care of.
Meanwhile, on Wall Street – after a chaotic day, the Dow was heading in the direction of a rally. But speculators and obserervers were exercising caution that the rally may not be significant. Stocks had plunged to their lowest in three years and the Dow Jones Industrial Average suffered its worst loss in history. But where was this rally heading? No one knew for sure. Nervous stomachs all around.
And that’s a small slice of what went on this April 10th in 2001, as reported by The CBS World News Roundup.