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China Agrees To Return Seized Us Drone

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SAN FRANCISCO, December 17, (THEWILL) – China has said it will return an underwater drone, owned by the United States, seized by its naval vessel in the South China Sea.

The drone, known as an unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV), was taken on Thursday just as the USNS Bowditch was about to retrieve it.

US defence headquarters, the Pentagon, went public with the seizure but later announced on Saturday that it had reached a deal with China to get the drone back saying both countries hd reached an agreement.

“Through direct engagement with Chinese authorities, we have secured an understanding that the Chinese will return the UUV to the United States,” Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said in a statement.

The drone, which the Pentagon said was operating lawfully was collecting data about the salinity, temperature and clarity of the water about 50 nautical miles northwest of Subic Bay, off the Philippines.

However, the Ministry of Defence in China said it found an unidentified object in the sea and retrieved it to be checked only to discover it was a U.S. drone.

“China decided to return it to the U.S. side in an appropriate manner, and China and the U.S. have all along been in communication about it,” the ministry said on its website.

“During this process, the U.S. side's unilateral and open hyping up is inappropriate, and is not beneficial to the smooth resolution of this issue. We express regret at this.”

Story by Oputah David