President-elect Donald Trump suggested China keep the U.S. Navy drone it seized in international waters of the South China Sea.
We should tell China that we don’t want the drone they stole back.- let them keep it!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 18, 2016
According to reports Saturday, the Pentagon announced China would return the drone. (RELATED: China Agrees To Return US Drone Unlawfully Seized In The South China Sea)
“We have registered our objection to China’s unlawful seizure, of a U.S. unmanned-underwater vehicle,” Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said. “Through direct engagement with Chinese authorities, we have secured an understanding that the Chinese will return the UUV to the United States.”
Earlier Saturday, Trump tweeted about the issue charging that the Chinese stole the drone from the U.S.
China steals United States Navy research drone in international waters – rips it out of water and takes it to China in unprecedented act.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 17, 2016
Prior the Pentagon’s statement, Fox News reported that China was talking to its American counterparts about “appropriately handling” the Navy drone.
“It is ours,” a Navy spokesman said of the $150,000 drone. “It’s clearly marked as ours. We would like it back, and we would like this not to happen again,”
The unmanned glider was captured by the Chinese, Fox notes, while gathering unclassified scientific information about 57 miles northwest of Subic Bay near the Philippines in the South China Sea, which China claims.