April 9, 2001 – The Hainan incident and diplomacy in overdrive. Relations between the U.S. and China were strained to the breaking point over an incident which took place only days earlier. The Hainan Island incident occurred on April 1, 2001, when 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.
In other news – the much touted rugged safety of pickup trucks was put to the test this day – The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety crash-tested a Chevrolet Silverado, a Ford F-150, the Toyota Tundra and the Dodge Ram and came to the conclusion their performances ranged from Poor to Awful. The Insurance Institute said its bumper test was easy to pass; the bumper should prevent in slow (5-mile an hour) crashes, the type of crashes you would see in commuter traffic or just in your parking lot. But the Institute said all four pickups did poorly. The Dodge Ram was worse, with an average $2,000 damage for a slow-speed bump.
And that’s just a small slice of the news for this April 9, 2001 as presented by The CBS World News Roundup.