Washington, Dec 18: Continuing to take jabs at China, President-elect Donald Trump today said the US should let China keep the Navy's underwater drone after Beijing agreed to give back the unmanned glider that it seized in the disputed South China Sea. "We should tell China that we don't want the drone they stole back - let them keep it!" Trump tweeted, hours after Pentagon announced it had reached an understanding with China for the return of the drone.
The Pentagon had alleged that the drone was unlawfully seized by China on December 15 in the SCS while it was being recovered by a US Navy oceanographic survey ship. The US lodged a formal diplomatic complaint and demanded the drone back. China yesterday slammed the US for "making a fuss" over the seizure of its underwater drone and said it will return the device in an "appropriate manner".
Defence Ministry spokesperson Yang Yujun dismissed the US allegations, insisting that China seized the underwater glider to ensure the safe navigation of passing ships. Trump's latest tweet was the second time the President-elect blasted China for the seizure. Earlier, he accused China of stealing American drone.
"China steals United States Navy research drone in international waters - rips it out of water and takes it to China in unpresidented (sic) act," Trump tweeted, misspelling unprecedented. He later reissued the tweet, correcting the spelling. Trump has repeatedly infuriated China in recent weeks, questioning decades-old US policy on Taiwan, making phone call to Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen and calling Beijing a currency manipulator.