Source: Agencies17 Dec 2016 13:15:32
Washington, December 17: United States on Friday asked China in very strict manner to immediately return an unmanned underwater vehicle that it unlawfully seized on Thursday. Like to tell you that, this incident occurred in international waters about 50 nautical miles northwest of Subic Bay Naval Air Station in the Philippines.
In this serious matter, Pentagon on Friday released a statement in which Press Secretary Peter Cook said that by using appropriate government-to-government channels, the Defence Department has called upon China to immediately return an unmanned underwater vehicle that it unlawfully seized yesterday in the South China Sea.
Earlier, Pentagon press operations director Navy Capt. Jeff Davis told reporters that a Chinese Navy Dalang-III class submarine rescue vessel launched a small boat and retrieved the UUV as the oceanographic survey ship USNS Bowditch was attempting to retrieve it and a second UUV in the South China Sea.
Whereas, the underwater vehicle was taken around 50 nautical miles (90km) northwest off Subic Bay in the Philippines late Thursday in a non-violent incident, said Captain Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman. The event unfolded as the civilian-crewed USNS Bowditch was retrieving a pair of “naval gliders” that routinely collect information on water temperatures, salinity and sea clarity.
Davis said he could not recall another time when something like this has happened, and the Pentagon issued a statement calling on Beijing to “immediately” return the probe that it had “unlawfully seized.” Davis also said that the US personnel even asked Chinese authorities to leave it there by bridge-to-bridge radio but Chinese ship did not respond.
Senator Ben Cardin, Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said that China's seizure of an US Navy unmanned scientific research submersible in international waters off the South China Sea is a remarkably brazen violation of international law. "No matter its motivation, China needs to explain its actions and immediately return the undersea drone, untampered with, to the United States," he further said.
Interestingly, the incident had increased the rising tensions in the South China Sea due to Chinese militaries presence in highly disputed area. China always wanted to rule over South China Sea in order to get direct benefit of various resources and trade but U.S and many other countries have blocked South China Sea.