The United States failed one basic lesson of war, never leave anything the enemy can use, - SkiBum5
Certainly this mess would not have happened if the plane was set to "self destruct" or was told to land in the ocean, but that is a war tactic, and last time I checked, we weren't officially at war with the Chinese.
I thought that the U.S. was into trading with the Chinese and exploiting, er, allying with them. Destroying the plane and possibly killing the crew would suggest to the Chinese that there's actually a cold war going on. Landing it at a Chinese base suggests at least an inkling of trust between the two countries involved.
Still, I'm quite surprised that the Chinese aren't vehemently questioning why the plane was there in the first place.