02:46 GMT07 March 2021
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    Beijing has returned the underwater drone it seized to Washington.

    BEIJING (Sputnik) — China has returned an underwater drone it captured in the South China Sea to the United States, the Chinese Defense Ministry said Tuesday.

    "China and the United States, after friendly consultations, successfully completed the work on the transfer of the US underwater unmanned vehicle on the afternoon of December 20," the ministry said in a statement published on its website.

    The ministry said Saturday it had decided to hand over the underwater drone to Washington, a day after reports emerged of a Chinese warship seizing the unmanned vehicle in the international waters of the disputed South China Sea region.

    On Thursday, US oceanographic vessel USNS Bowditch stopped some 100 miles off the port at Subic Bay in the Philippines to pick up two drones when a Chinese vessel captured one of them, according to US defense officials. The US Department of Defense demanded the return of the drone.


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