Pacific Fleet releases photos of drone returned by China

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Teledyne Webb could not comment on what the U.S. Navy was using it for. Mustin received the vehicle for the global waters approximately 50 nautical miles northwest of Subic Bay, Philippines.

The Chinese vessel, ASR-510, a Dalang III-class rescue and salvage ship, came within 500-yards of the U.S. Navy oceanographic survey ship USNS Bowditch (T-AGS 62) and plucked the glider from the water via a small boat while the American ship was attempting to retrieve it in worldwide waters some 50 miles from Subic Bay, Phillipines.

The UUV was returned Monday to the U.S. Navy by the same People's Liberation Army-Navy Vessel 510 that grabbed it.

China has returned a US underwater drone taken by a Chinese naval vessel in the South China Sea last week after "friendly" talks between the two countries, China's Defence Ministry said on Tuesday.

Cook said the glider was on a pre-programmed military oceanographic survey.

The Defense Department called upon China to immediately return the ocean glider, an unclassified vehicle used to gather military oceanographic data including salinity, water temperature, and sound speed - data useful in anti-submarine warfare.

In a statement, Pentagon press secretary Peter Cook said that while the USA acknowledged the drone's return, "this incident was inconsistent with both worldwide law and standards of professionalism for conduct between navies at sea". "The U.S. has addressed those facts with the Chinese through the appropriate diplomatic and military channels, and have called on Chinese authorities to comply with their obligations under worldwide law and to refrain from further efforts to impede lawful U.S. activities".

China Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying on Tuesday noted the "stable military-to-military relations" between the two countries in dealing with the seizure.

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