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The Pentagon has confirmed that a US underwater drone surveying in the South China Sea was seized by a Chinese navy ship on Friday.
Although Chinese officials have acknowledged the action, diplomatic efforts have so far failed to secure the return of the drone.
Irate American officials have declared the vessel “stolen” and demanded its immediate return. They claim the drone was engaging in innocuous oceanographic survey of water temperatures and salinity in international waters.
Regardless of the purpose of the drone mission, its close proximity to Chinese defence installations in the South China Sea and to China itself, likely provoked the response.