The Latest: US cites ‘understanding’ for glider’s return


BEIJING (AP) — The Latest on China’s seizure of a U.S. Navy unmanned underwater glider (all times local):

3:25 a.m. Sunday

The U.S. military says that through “direct engagement” with the Chinese, it’s “secured an understanding” that China’s navy will return an underwater glider seized in the South China Sea.

Peter Cook, a spokesman for U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter, says in a statement that the U.S. had registered its objection to what the U.S. is calling an “unlawful seizure” of the unmanned submerged device in international waters.

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11:20 p.m.

China says its navy seized a U.S. Navy unmanned underwater glider to ensure the “safe navigation of passing ships.”

Defense Ministry spokesman Yang Yujun issued a statement late Saturday saying that a Chinese navy lifeboat discovered an unknown device in the South China Sea on Thursday. It said, “In order to prevent this device from posing a danger to the safe navigation of passing ships and personnel, the Chinese lifeboat adopted a professional and responsible attitude in investigating and verifying the device.”

The statement said that after verifying that the device was an American unmanned submerged device, “China decided to transfer it to the U.S. through appropriate means.”

It also accused the U.S. of deploying “ships in China’s presence to conduct renaissance and military surveying. China is resolutely opposed to this and requests the U.S. stop such activities.”

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10:10 p.m.

President-elect Donald Trump has corrected his spelling in a tweet blasting China’s seizure of a U.S. Navy unmanned underwater glider.

Trump put out a fresh tweet Saturday saying that the seizure of the drone was an “unprecedented” act. He earlier tweeted that the act was “unpresidented.”

Last weekend, Trump tweeted that CNN reports “rediculous” fake news. Hours later, he put out a fresh tweet correcting the spelling to “ridiculous.”

According to the Pentagon, the drone was seized Thursday while collecting unclassified scientific data in the South China Sea.

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9:45 p.m.

President-elect Donald Trump has blasted China’s seizure of a U.S. Navy unmanned underwater glider.

Apparently misspelling “unprecedented,” Trump tweeted Saturday: “China steals United States Navy research drone in international waters – rips it out of water and takes it to China in unpresidented act.”

Last weekend, Trump was criticized on social media for bad spelling in a tweet in which he accused CNN of reporting “rediculous” fake news. Hours later, he put out a fresh tweet correcting the spelling to “ridiculous.”

According to the Pentagon, the drone was seized Thursday while collecting unclassified scientific data in the South China Sea, which China claims virtually in its entirety, about 92 kilometers (57 miles) northwest of Subic Bay near the Philippines.

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9:30 p.m.

A newspaper published by China’s ruling Communist Party is citing a military officer as saying that China and the U.S. are in contact over China’s seizure of a U.S. Navy unmanned underwater glider, and that a “smooth resolution” of the matter is expected.

The Global Times said Saturday that a Chinese navy ship discovered what it described as an “unidentified device” Thursday. The U.S. has said it issued a formal diplomatic complaint over the drone’s seizure and demanded its return.

According to the Pentagon, the drone was seized while collecting unclassified scientific data in the South China Sea, which China claims virtually in its entirety, about 92 kilometers (57 miles) northwest of Subic Bay near the Philippines.

Neither China’s foreign nor defense ministries responded to questions from The Associated Press.