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Thread: China's Navy seizes American underwater drone in South China Sea

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  1. #1
    Senior Member Judy's Avatar
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    China's Navy seizes American underwater drone in South China Sea

    China's Navy seizes American underwater drone in South China Sea

    21 Mins Ago Reuters
    December 16, 2016

    A Chinese warship has seized an underwater drone deployed by a U.S. oceanographic vessel in the South China Sea, triggering a formal diplomatic protest and a demand for its return, U.S. officials told Reuters on Friday.

    The incident, the first of its kind in recent memory, took place on Dec. 15 about 50 nautical miles northwest of Subic Bay off the Philippines just as the USNS Bowditch, an oceanographic survey ship, was about to retrieve the unmanned, underwater vehicle (UUV), officials said.

    "The UUV was lawfully conducting a military survey in the waters of the South China Sea," one official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

    "It's a sovereign immune vessel, clearly marked in English not to be removed from the water - that it was U.S. property," the official said.

    The Pentagon later confirmed the incident at a news briefing. It said the drone used commercially available technology and sold for about $150,000.

    The USS Bowditch is an oceanographic sampling and data collection ship operated by an all-civilian crew, according to the US Navy.

    Still, the Pentagon viewed China's seizure seriously since it had effectively taken U.S. military property.

    "It is ours, and it is clearly marked as ours and we would like it back. And we would like this not to happen again," Pentagon spokesman Jeff Davis said.

    The seizure by the Chinese Navy will add to concerns about China's growing military presence and aggressive posture in the disputed South China Sea, including its militarization of maritime outposts.

    A U.S. think tank this week said new satellite imagery indicated China has installed weapons, including anti-aircraft and anti-missile systems, on all seven artificial islands it has built in the South China Sea.

    Mira Rapp-Hooper, a senior fellow in the Asia-Pacific Security Program at the Center for a New American Security, said China would have a hard time explaining its actions.

    "This move, if accurately reported, is highly escalatory, and it is hard to see how Beijing will justify it legally," Rapp-Hooper said.

    Snatched Away

    The drone was part of an unclassified program to collect oceanographic data including salinity, temperature and clarity of the water, the U.S. official added. The data can help inform U.S. military sonar data since such factors affect sound.

    The USNS Bowditch, a U.S. Navy ship crewed by civilians that carries out oceanographic work, had already retrieved one of two of its drones, known as ocean gliders, when a Chinese Dalang 3 class vessel took the second one.

    Officials said the Bowditch was only 500 meters (yards) from the underwater drone and, observing the Chinese intercede, used bridge-to-bridge communications to demand the drone be returned.

    The Chinese ship acknowledged the communication but did not respond to the Bowditch's demands, Davis said.

    "The only thing they said after they were sailing off into the distance was: "we are returning to normal operations," Davis said.

    The United States issued the formal demarche, as such protests are known, through diplomatic channels and included a demand that China immediately return the drone. The Chinese acknowledged it but have not responded, officials said.

    This story is developing. Please check back for updates.

    http://www.cnbc.com/2016/12/16/china...china-sea.html
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  2. #2
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    Here is how the story opens:

    A Chinese warship has seized an underwater drone deployed by a U.S. oceanographic vessel in the South China Sea, triggering a formal diplomatic protest and a demand for its return, U.S. officials told Reuters on Friday.
    But then later,

    The drone was part of an unclassified program to collect oceanographic data including salinity, temperature and clarity of the water, the U.S. official added. The data can help inform U.S. military sonar data since such factors affect sound.

    The USNS Bowditch, a U.S. Navy ship crewed by civilians that carries out oceanographic work, had already retrieved one of two of its drones, known as ocean gliders, when a Chinese Dalang 3 class vessel took the second one.
    This appears to be a US Navy intelligence operation bagged by the Chinese. It looks like somebody screwed up but not the Chinese. The question to answer would be, "To what extent does the US or anyone else have a right to conduct such operations?"
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    So let's keep sending our jobs and our money to China and keep up the harping about Russia hacking Hillary Clinton's emails.
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  4. #4
    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    U.S. Demands Return of Drone Seized by Chinese Warship

    New York Times · 23 hours ago


    China says it will return underwater U.S. drone, explains seizure

    Heidi M Przybyla and Jim Michaels , USA TODAY
    11:47 a.m. EST December 17, 2016


    (Photo: Liu Rui, AP)


    China’s Defense Ministry says it will return the U.S. Navy underwater drone it captured operating in international waters in the South China Sea, after it seized the device to ensure the “safe navigation of passing ships.”
    Yang Yujun, a ministry spokesman, issued a statement late Saturday saying a Chinese navy lifeboat discovered the unknown device in the South China Sea on Thursday, according to the Associated Press.
    China’s Defense Ministry said that, after verifying that the device was an American unmanned device, “China decided to transfer it to the U.S. through appropriate means.”
    “In order to prevent this device from posing a danger to the safe navigation of passing ships and personnel, the Chinese lifeboat adopted a professional and responsible attitude in investigating and verifying the device,” the statement said, according to AP.

    President-elect
    Donald Trump weighed in on the incident earlier Saturday, accusing China of stealing the drone.

    "China steals United States Navy research drone in international waters - rips it out of water and takes it to China in unprecedented act," Trump said in an early morning tweet.
    Trump originally misspelled “unprecedented” as "unpresidented" but later deleted the tweet and reposted.

    Follow

    Donald J. Trump
    @realDonaldTrump

    China steals United States Navy research drone in international waters - rips it out of water and takes it to China in unprecedented act.
    5:57 AM - 17 Dec 2016



    The incident comes amid renewed tensions between China and the U.S. after the election of Trump, who’s vowed to get tough on Chinese trade policies and stirred anger in Beijing after a 10-minute phone call with Taiwan President Tsi Ing-wen. It was the first by a U.S. president or president-elect since President Jimmy Carter acknowledged in 1979 that Taiwan is part of “One China.”
    In the Saturday statement, China also accused the U.S. of deploying “ships in China’s presence to conduct renaissance and military surveying. China is resolutely opposed to this and requests the U.S. stop such activities.”
    The drone was launched by the USNS Bowditch, a civilian crewed oceanographic ship that is operated by the Military Sealift Command, off the coast of the Philippines. These types of drones, called gliders, typically collect unclassified data, such as water temperatures and salinity levels.
    According to Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook, the drone is not armed and is used for gathering weather and temperature data. The incident occurred Thursday.
    The Bowditch was about to recover the glider when a Chinese Dalang III class Chinese warship approached within 500 yards of the Bowditch, launched a small vessel and snatched the drone out of the water, the Pentagon said.
    The boat brought the device back to the Chinese warship, which then headed away.
    The Bowditch contacted the Chinese vessel by radio and demanded the return of the glider. The Chinese ship acknowledged the radio transmission but ignored the request to return it, the Pentagon said.
    The U.S. government had issued a démarche, or diplomatic protest, over the incident, demanding its return.

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2...zure/95555610/

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