Chinese and American negotiators are preparing for tough talks today when they meet in Beijing to discuss the fate of the US spy plane held on Hainan Island and the future of US reconnaissance flights. The US team arrived in Beijing yesterday led by an Under-Secretary of Defence, Peter Verga, amid few signs the sides would alter their stance of blaming each other over the collision on April 1. Mr Verga gave little away on arrival, saying only that the meeting was to 'exchange information regarding the ongoing incident with our reconnaissance aircraft'. The US side wants a quick return of the EP-3E Aries II surveillance plane, while China wants to press for an end to further spy missions. The two sides will also discuss rules on how to avoid similar incidents. Meanwhile, the national security team of US President George W. Bush is scrutinising a range of military options to ensure spy flights along the Chinese coast can continue safely. National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld and Secretary of State Colin Powell were expected to meet early this morning. Pentagon officials have presented a range of options should the talks in Beijing sour markedly. Options include diverting the USS Kitty Hawk aircraft carrier to allow its fighter jets to shadow US surveillance planes, despatching three warships now in the Western Pacific equipped with powerful Aegis battle-management radars or having teams of planes patrol their flight path. The Kitty Hawk, which has been sailing through Southeast Asia over the past month, is now southeast of the Philippines after passing through the lower reaches of the South China Sea. It is now heading towards Guam as part of a long-standing mission to take part in military exercises in the area. 'No matter what happens at this meeting we must ensure that these surveillance missions are allowed to continue in international airspace without undue harassment,' one US administration source said. 'That is why we have to examine all possible contingencies should the meeting only serve to harden positions. It is not our intention to be provocative.' In Beijing, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue yesterday again demanded that Washington take full responsibility for the collision between the EP-3 and a Chinese F-8 fighter jet. The Chinese pilot, Wang Wei, was killed. US officials had made a 'series of irresponsible remarks which show no respect for very clear evidence and facts and confuses right from wrong', Ms Zhang said. 'It is our hope that the US side will take a constructive attitude in negotiations to ensure a proper settlement of the question.' The Chinese negotiating team would be led by Lu Shuming, director-general of the Foreign Ministry's North America department, Ms Zhang said. The meeting is expected to last about two days. President Jiang Zemin, meanwhile, has just concluded his Latin America visit and is on his way back to Beijing. On Monday, he declared pilot Wang 'Guardian of Territorial Airspace and Sea', adding to the belief that Beijing will not back away from its insistence that Washington accept the blame. Earlier, US State Department spokesman Richard Boucher warned in Washington that the results of the meeting could affect other Sino-US issues. 'We have made quite clear that we think a productive meeting can set the basis for a further relationship and, on the other hand, a polemical meeting would give us some indication of how they might or might not intend to proceed with the relationship,' Mr Boucher said. Other US administration officials are warning that wider Sino-US ties could be hampered should the dispute over the stranded plane intensify. While there is little appetite across the administration or US Congress for any interruption in the US$115 billion (HK$897 billion) trade relationship, officials warn that a range of diplomatic 'punishments' could still be implemented. Official exchanges and military links could be downgraded, opposition intensified to Beijing's bid for the 2008 Olympics or visas offered to prominent Taiwanese delegations. 'This issue is far from over,' one administration official said. 'We want relations to prosper but at the same time we must be ready for a significant souring as a result of the incident.' Both Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian and his predecessor, Lee Teng-hui, are expected to be issued visas to either visit the US or for transit purposes in the coming two months - moves that would be sure to infuriate Beijing.