China Agrees to Return US Drone; Beijing Complains about American Surveillance and 'Hyping Up' of Incident at Sea

The Northern Star (Lismore, Australia), December 19, 2016 | Go to article overview

China Agrees to Return US Drone; Beijing Complains about American Surveillance and 'Hyping Up' of Incident at Sea


Byline: WILL WORLEY and JUSTIN CARISSIMO

CHINA says it will return the US Navy drone it seized in the South China Sea, but has accused the US of hyping up the incident.

Pentagon press secretary Peter Cook said direct engagement with Chinese authorities had secured an understanding for the return of the drone.

The announcement comes several days after Beijing ignored repeated requests to return the drone to a research vessel launched 80km north-west of the Philippines.

The Chinese defence ministry said one of its naval vessels had discovered a piece of "unidentified equipment" and checked it to prevent any navigational safety issues, before discovering it was a US drone.

"China decided to return it to the US side in an appropriate manner, and China and the US have all along been in communication about it," the ministry said in a statement. "During this process, the US side's unilateral and open hyping up is inappropriate and is not beneficial to the smooth resolution of this issue. We express regret at this."

The "hyping up" of the incident was an apparent reference to a tweet posted by President-elect Donald Trump about the incident, only a day after President Barack Obama had appealed for him to be restrained in his comments on China. …

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