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China returns U.S. drone seized in South China Sea




After what it described as “friendly consultations,” China’s Defense Ministry said it returned a U.S. Navy underwater drone that was seized last week in the South China Sea.
The drone, conducting “routine operations” in international waters, was taken by the Chinese Navy on Thursday, 50 nautical miles northwest off Subic Bay in the Philippines.
Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said in a statement that officials made clear that the drone was unlawfully seized and urged Chinese authorities not to interfere with lawful U.S. operations.
“This incident was inconsistent with both international law and standards of professionalism for conduct between navies at sea,” Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said in a statement. “The U.S. has addressed those facts with the Chinese through the appropriate diplomatic and military channels.”
China’s Defense Ministry spokesman, Yang Yujun, said in a statement that a navy lifeboat found the unknown device on Thursday. China kept it to ensure the “safe navigation of passing ships” as authorities verified that it was an American drone.

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