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China returns US underwater drone taken in South China Sea

China returns US underwater drone taken in South China SeaChina has returned a U.S. underwater drone taken by a Chinese naval vessel in the disputed South China Sea last week after what China's Defence Ministry said were "friendly" talks between the two countries, Reuters informs.

The United States acknowledged receipt of the unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV) and criticised China for the seizure, saying it was "inconsistent with both international law and standards of professionalism for conduct between navies at sea."

A Chinese naval ship took the drone, which the Pentagon says uses unclassified, commercially available technology to collect oceanographic data, on Thursday about 50 nautical miles north-west of Subic Bay in the Philippines.

In a brief statement, China's Defence Ministry said the drone had been given back to the United States.

"After friendly consultations between the Chinese and U.S. sides, the handover work for the U.S. underwater drone was smoothly completed in relevant waters in the South China Sea at midday on Dec. 20," the ministry said in a short statement.
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