China will let U.S. personnel inspect a Navy surveillance plane at the military airport in southern China where it landed after colliding with a Chinese fighter jet, the official Xinhua News Agency and U.S. officials said Sunday.

Beijing's decision to allow an inspection of the EP-3E surveillance plane suggested that Chinese leaders are interested in easing tensions caused to China-U.S. relations by the April 1 collision and its aftermath.

In Washington, Vice President Dick Cheney welcomed the decision as an ``encouraging sign.''

``The fact that they've now announced they're willing to have U.S. personnel go in and look at the aircraft, if that's what it's going to take to get it back, then that's very positive,'' Cheney said on ``Fox News Sunday.''