China Just Seized an Underwater US Drone

It was operating in the South China Sea
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 16, 2016 11:30 AM CST
China Just Seized an Underwater US Drone
File photo of the Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning.   (AP Photo/Xinhua, Li Tang, File)

More tensions with China: The Pentagon says a Chinese naval ship on Thursday seized a US underwater drone in the South China Sea, reports Reuters. US officials have lodged a formal request to get the unmanned, underwater vehicle, or UUV, back. "The UUV was lawfully conducting a military survey in the waters of the South China Sea," one American official tells the news agency. The Washington Post describes it as an "ocean glider" that was testing water conditions in international waters. The US says the oceanographic survey ship USNS Bowditch was just about to retrieve the UUV when a Chinese ship arrived, scooped it up, and sailed away without responding to messages from the Bowditch.

“The United States has through their proper diplomatic channels demarched the Chinese, demanding return of our stuff,” says a US official. The move comes after reports surfaced earlier this week that China had placed weapons on its controversial man-made islands in the South China Sea. They include "significant" anti-aircraft and anti-missile systems, reports the Guardian. China, which has said it is "seriously concerned" about comments being directed its way by President-elect Trump, seemed to acknowledge the move as a self-defense measure in a post on the Defense Ministry website. "If someone was at the door of your home, cocky and swaggering, how could it be that you wouldn’t prepare a slingshot?” it reads, without mentioning names, per the New York Times. (More China stories.)

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