A statement from the Chinese Foreign Ministry says that American and Chinese officials are “appropriately handling” China’s seizure of a U.S. unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV) by communicating through military channels.
“It is understood that China and the United States are using military channels to appropriately handle this issue,” the ministry said in a brief statement.
Oceanographic survey ship USNS Bowditch had stopped in international waters about 100 miles off of the Philippine coast to pick up a pair of underwater survey drones. A Chinese warship that had been tailing the Bowditch then sent out a small craft and stole one of the drones before the American crew could recover it.
Repeated radio calls from the Bowditch demanding the return of U.S. property were ignored.
In a statement, Pentagon press secretary Peter Cook said that the Pentagon is demanding the return of the “unlawfully seized” underwater drone.
“We call upon China to return our UUV immediately, and to comply with all of its obligations under international law,” the statement read.
President-elect Trump used Twitter to speak out against the Chinese theft of U.S. property.
China steals United States Navy research drone in international waters – rips it out of water and takes it to China in unprecedented act.