China says it will return US drone it seized

China says it will return US drone it seized
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China said Saturday it will return the unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV) it seized in the South China Sea from the U.S., the Pentagon confirmed.

"We have registered our objection to China's unlawful seizure of a U.S. unmanned underwater vehicle operating in international waters in the South China Sea," Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said in a statement.

"Through direct engagement with Chinese authorities, we have secured an understanding that the Chinese will return the UUV to the United States," he said.

China earlier had indicted it would return the unmanned device, while accusing the U.S. of having "hyped" the issue.

"Upon confirming that the device was a U.S. underwater drone, the Chinese side decided to transfer it to the U.S. side in an appropriate manner," said the spokesman for the Chinese Defense Ministry, Sr. Col. Yang Yujun, according to CNN.

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"China and the United States have been communicating about this process. It is inappropriate — and unhelpful for a resolution — that the US has unilaterally hyped up the issue. We express our regret over that."

The Pentagon on Friday demanded China return the drone after it had been seized a day earlier.

President-elect Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpDemocratic senator rips Trump's 'let them fight' remarks: 'Enough is enough' Warren warns Facebook may help reelect Trump 'and profit off of it' Trump touts Turkey cease-fire: 'Sometimes you have to let them fight' MORE tweeted about China seizing the drone early Saturday, criticizing the nation for taking an unprecedented step — but misspelling it as "unpresidented" at first.

“China steals United States Navy research drone in international waters - rips it out of water and takes it to China in unprecedented act,” he wrote in the corrected tweet.

The Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman added that China opposes U.S. “surveillance and military surveys in waters facing China.” 

“China firmly opposes such acts and demands the US cease such activities. China will stay alert over relevant US activities and will take necessary measures to counter them,” the spokesman said.

Updated: 2:57 p.m.