A US Naval underwater drone has been seized by a Chinese Naval warship in the South China Sea, according to The Independent. This seizure is the first time that something like this has happened in a long time and is typical of the aggressive moves taken by the Chinese in the South China Sea.
Just yesterday the US Pacific Fleet said that they were prepared to move their fleet into the South China Sea if China continued to be so aggressive in the area. “We will not allow a shared domain to be closed down unilaterally no matter how many bases are built on artificial features in the South China Sea,” Admiral Harris said. “We will cooperate when we can but we will be ready to confront when we must.”
NBC reports that earlier this week a United States think tank concluded that China has built a series of anti-air and anti-missile systems on some of the small islands in the South China Sea. This is a fact that China vehemently denies, despite photographic proof that says otherwise.
Truthfully, this is nothing to be sincerely alarmed about, but it’s indicative of the way that the United States and China have been playing cat-and-mouse games in the South Pacific Sea, an area that both China and the United States see as being of considerable military strategic importance. While the United States has a considerably more powerful Navy at the moment, China is going the low-tech/effective route and is using some of the islands in the South Pacific Sea (which should be international aka not owned by anyone) to build up their defenses. It’s reported that some islands are even being outfitted with airstrips, making them as important as aircraft carriers.
For more on the actual story of what happened regarding the drone, though, read below.
According to the information we’re reading, the underwater drone was about to be picked up by the USNS Bowditch–an oceanographic survey ship (pictured above)–when it was instead captured by a Chinese warship.
The US Navy has demanded that China returns the drone immediately.
What Kind Of US Navy Drone Was It?
From the reports we’ve seen, the only thing we know for sure is that it was an unmanned submarine drone. An anonymous naval official said that the unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV) was conducting a military survey of the waters of the South China Sea, which is an area considered to be international waters.
**This is a developing story. Refresh for updates**