RED ALERT: China Seizes US Sea Vessel


A Chinese Navy warship seized an underwater drone deployed by a U.S. oceanographic vessel in international waters Thursday, according to an American defense official.

The incident occurred in the South China Sea, where the USNS Bowditch was sailing about 100 miles off the port at Subic Bay, the official told CNN.

The Bowditch had stopped to pick up two unmanned underwater vehicles when a Chinese naval ship dropped a small boat into the water. Once within reach, one of the Chinese crew members took one of the UUVs.

The Chinese vessel had been shadowing the Bowditch, which does happen as other nations believe the U.S. vessels to be spying. However, in this case, the drone was measuring ocean conditions, the official said.

The U.S. attempted to radio the Chinese vessel and alert them that they had taken U.S. property, but the Chinese did not respond. However, they did say, as they turned away, that they would return to normal operations.

“The UUV was lawfully conducting a military survey in the waters of the South China Sea,” an official told CNBC. “It’s a sovereign immune vessel, clearly marked in English not to be removed from the water — that it was U.S. property.”

The incident has prompted a formal démarche from the U. S., which demanded the vessel’s return, the official said.

The U.S. Pacific fleet said on Thursday it was ready to confront China should it continue such actions, the U.K. Independent reported.

While it remained immediately unclear what had motivated the move, it falls in line with other provocations China has made since President-elect Donald Trump received a phone call from Taiwan’s President, Tsai Ing-wen. The Chinese could also be looking to make one more final move against America before Trump takes office, knowing that President Barack Obama is unlikely to respond with resolve.

This is a time for diligence and strength, and it looks like Trump is getting to the White House just in time.

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