WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Earlier in the day it was reported that a Chinese warship seized a US unmanned underwater vehicle in the international waters in the South China Sea region.
“Using appropriate government-to-government channels, the Department of Defense has called upon China to immediately return an unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV) that China unlawfully seized on Dec. 15 in the South China Sea while it was being recovered by a US Navy oceanographic survey ship,” the release stated.
The USNS Bowditch and the unmanned vehicle were conducting routine operations on Thursday in accordance to international law about 50 nautical miles from Subic Bay, Philippines when a Chinese warship sent a small boat to retrieve the unmanned underwater vehicle, the release said.
Washington and Beijing interests clash in the South China Sea, with China and US allies, including the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia, Brunei and Vietnam, having competing claims to the territory. The US Navy continues patrols in the area despite Chinese protests.
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