Rev. Jesse Jackson offers to go to China to work for release of Americans

Tuesday, April 10th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

CHICAGO (AP) _ The Rev. Jesse Jackson has offered to go to China to work for the release of 24 U.S. servicemen and women.

``If a delegation appealing to the Chinese directly would help, we'd be willing to do that,'' Jackson told the Chicago Sun-Times newspaper. ``We've done it before, and each time we were successful.''

Jackson, the leader of the Chicago-based Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, made the offer to National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice a few days ago.

Jackson said he was not criticizing President Bush's efforts, but pointed to international disputes he has successfully mediated, including helping free Americans in Syria, Iraq and Yugoslavia.

``In each instance, we had to make a moral appeal,'' Jackson said. ``You do it in a way that does honor to our country. Somehow, religious people can be a bridge.''

Jackson said he would not interfere with U.S. diplomatic efforts, but added that he thought the United States should apologize for the collision of a U.S. spy plane and a Chinese fighter that led to the present standoff between the two countries.

``I think our government should say: 'If we have violated you in any way, it was not intentional and we apologize,''' Jackson said. ``Getting Americans home is worth expressing an apology.''