China's defense ministry said Saturday that Chinese authorities have decided to return a US underwater drone it seized in international waters earlier in the week, saying the US had "hyped up" the issue, reports CNN.
"Upon confirming that the device was a US underwater drone, the Chinese side decided to transfer it to the US side in an appropriate manner," Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman Sr. Col. Yang Yujun said. "China and the United States have been communicating about this process. It is inappropriate -- and unhelpful for a resolution -- that the US has unilaterally hyped up the issue. We express our regret over that."
The statement added that the US "has been frequently deploying ships and aircraft to conduct close-in surveillance and military surveys in waters facing China. China firmly opposes such acts and demands the US cease such activities. China will stay alert over relevant US activities and will take necessary measures to counter them."