China claims it was the American pilot's fault. The Americans say the Chinese pilot was too close.
President Bush asked the Chinese to return the plane and the 24 crew members. The Chinese took their time about it. There were conflicting reports about whether Chinese officials boarded the American plane, which was believed to be loaded with sophisticated surveillance equipment.
The president's remarks have been tempered. And so have the Chinese. The president is right not to make this into an international incident. There will be other tests. The continuing one will be Taiwan, which Beijing wants back. The United states should go ahead and make sure Taiwan can defend itself. After all, mainland China is still run by communists. Remember them?