China returns seized US Navy underwater glider

Pentagon’s press secretary confirmed that the People’s Liberation Army-Navy returned the U.S. Navy’s glider unmanned underwater vehicle near the location where it had been unlawfully seized on December 15.

Chinese Navy vessel 510 returned returned the glider to USS Mustin (DDG 89) in international waters approximately 50 nautical miles northwest of Subic Bay.

The seized UUV was deployed on routine operations in the international waters of the South China Sea. It had just completed a pre-programmed military oceanographic survey route and was returning to the nearby USNS Bowditch (T-AGS 62).

China justified the seizure of the UUV by claiming the vehicle was spying on Chinese operations. Chinese media described the incident as a “tip of the iceberg” of US military surveillance in the South China Sea.

Press secretary Peter Cook said the U.S. would continue to investigate the events surrounding this incident and address any additional findings with the Chinese.