BEIJING, Dec. 17 (Xinhua)-- Chinese Defense Ministry spokesperson Yang Yujun said late Saturday that China has decided to hand over the U.S. underwater drone it captured in its waters to the United States in an appropriate manner.
According Yang's statement on the website of the defense ministry, on the afternoon of December 15, a Chinese naval lifeboat located an unidentified device in the waters of the South China Sea. In order to prevent the device from causing harm to the safety of navigation and personnel of passing vessels, the Chinese naval lifeboat verified and examined the device in a professional and responsible manner.
Upon examination, Yang said, the device was identified as an underwater drone of the United States. The Chinese side has decided to hand over it to the U.S. in an appropriate manner. Both sides have been maintaining communication on the issue, Yang noted. The U.S. side's unilateral move to dramatize the issue in the process is inappropriate, and not conductive to its settlement. "We regret that," Yang added.
It is worth emphasizing that for a long time, the U.S. military has frequently dispatched vessels and aircraft to carry out close-in reconnaissance and military surveys within Chinese waters, Yang said. "China resolutely opposes these activities, and demands that the U.S. side should stop such activities. China will continue to be vigilant against the relevant activities on the U.S. side, and will take necessary measures in response," said the spokesperson.