17 December 2016
China’s Defense Ministry says it will
Yang Yujun, a ministry spokesman, issued a statement late Saturday saying a Chinese navy lifeboat discovered the unknown device in the South China Sea on Thursday, according to the Associated Press.
China’s Defense Ministry said that, after verifying that the device was an American unmanned device, “China decided to transfer it to the U.S. through appropriate means.”
China's defense ministry said it originally seized the drone “to prevent this device from posing a danger to the safe navigation of passing ships and personnel,” the statement said, according to AP. It added: "the Chinese lifeboat adopted a professional and responsible attitude in investigating and verifying the device."
Trump originally misspelled “unprecedented” as "unpresidented" but later deleted the tweet and reposted.
incident comes amid renewed tensions between China and the U.S. after
the election of Trump, who’s vowed to get tough on Chinese trade
policies and stirred anger in
In its statement, China also accused the U.S. of deploying “ships in China’s presence to conduct reconnaissance and military surveying. China is resolutely opposed to this and requests the U.S. stop such activities.”
The drone was launched by the USNS Bowditch, a civilian crewed
oceanographic ship that is operated by the
According to Cook, the drone is not armed and is used for gathering weather and temperature data. The incident occurred Thursday.
The Bowditch was about to recover the glider when a Chinese Dalang III class Chinese warship approached within 500 yards of the Bowditch, launched a small vessel and snatched the drone out of the water, the Pentagon said.
The boat brought the device back to the Chinese warship, which then headed away.
The Bowditch contacted the Chinese vessel by radio and demanded the return of the glider. The Chinese ship acknowledged the radio transmission but ignored the request to return it, the Pentagon said.