MadeInChina said:it would be idiotic to let them leave, first the situation has to be assessed and investigated before they can leave
bargaining chips??? what did china receieve???
Initally, China wanted an apology. But as the the evidence unfolded, it was clear that in fact it was the Chinese pilot that caused the accident. Unfortunatly public nationalism demanded that the US apologize and the Chinese government found itself in a bind, as releasing the crew without the 'apology' would result in a loss of face back home.
The incident was resolved by Washington offered 'regret' over the loss of the Chinese pilot. This was reported as 'the apology' back in China and the incident was closed.
China then demanded $2 Million Dollars in service charges for the crew and aircraft, this was rejected, I think it was finally settled for about $700,000.
As a cause for war, no. Frankly I even don't think the Chinese would risk a war with the US over Taiwan. Its such a small island (no offense to you Taiwanese out there) it wouldnt be worth it...