Saturday, May 8, 1999 Published at 14:02 GMT 15:02 UK
Analysis: Nato's diplomatic blunder
China's opposition to the bombing has been clear from the start
The bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade is highly damaging for Nato and comes at a time when Beijing's position is crucial.
Attacking a foreign embassy, especially one that has already expressed its hostility to Nato's actions, is a diplomatic blunder of the highest order.
In a month and a half of bombing, it is also not the first time that the alliance has been forced to express its regret over for accidental attacks on civilian targets.
With Chinese students venting their anger outside the US embassy in Beijing, the bombing seems likely to strengthen pressure on the government to take a tougher line with Nato.
In New York, at an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council, Chinese ambassador Qin Huasun dismissed Nato diplomats' insistence that the attack was not deliberate saying the alliance should take responsibility for its actions.
UN council members from Nato countries were subjected to more than five hours of criticism as the political fallout from the bombing spread.
Spur for solution
But from within Russia itself, condemnation was more harsh as President Yeltsin described the attack as "inhuman and barbaric".
Illustrating Moscow's displeasure with the alliance, Mr Yeltsin ordered the Russian foreign minister to cancel a visit to the UK.
His deputy said the Nato campaign had descended into "an orgy of violence."
The Russian Government will now almost certainly come under renewed domestic political pressure to take a tougher stance with Nato over Yugoslavia.
Moscow is unlikely to abandon its mediating role in the peace negotiations.
But it will almost certainly press harder now for a pause in the Nato bombardment.
Focus of anger
What exactly happened still has yet to be made clear, but most anger at the bombing has been directed at the United States, whose forces make up the bulk of the firepower deployed against Yugoslavia.
One senior official in the Russian defence ministry official said the US had thrown down a strategic challenge to the world community which could plunge the planet into an apocalypse.
Both China and Russia have veto powers in the Security Council and their support is crucial to passing any resulution.
Nato's military planners are now investigating how such a disastrous error came about and how to prevent a repeat performance.
But the most difficult challenge falls to Nato's diplomats who must now try to minimise the damage done to their efforts at building international opinion against Yugoslavia.