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Trump said China should keep US submarine drone after China said it would return it

President Trump vs. China

China last week snatched an unmanned underwater drone that belongs to the US Navy. President-elect Donald Trump wasn’t quick to react to the news, but when he eventually did he started with a laughable spelling mistake. Since then, China said it would return the drone, but Trump further tweeted that the country should keep it.

“China steals United States Navy research drone in international waters – rips it out of water and takes it to China in unpresidented act,” Trump said in a first message that’s now deleted, as The Guardian reveals. He meant “unprecedented,” corrected the tweet and then resent it.

Hours later on Saturday, Trump said the US should let China have the drone.

However, the Chinese government said on Saturday that it will return the submarine drone, The Washington Post reports. The drone should be returned in an “appropriate” manner, according to China’s Ministry of Defense, although it’s not clear what that entails.

The seizure occurred on Thursday near the USNS Bowditch, an oceanographic survey vessel that was operating about 50 nautical miles northwest of Subic Bay in the Philippines. Initially, the Chinese ship that seized the drone refused requests to return the drone.

“We have registered our objection to China’s unlawful seizure of a U.S. unmanned underwater vehicle operating in international waters in the South China Sea,” Pentagon press secretary Peter Cook said. “Through direct engagement with Chinese authorities, we have secured an understanding that the Chinese will return the [drone] to the United States.”

“It’s somewhat reassuring that senior leadership in Beijing agreed that this was something that should be returned, regardless of the individual actions of their people at sea,” an unnamed US defense official told The Post after the Pentagon announced that the drone would be returned.

The Global Times, a Communist Party-controlled newspaper, made fun on Sunday of the mixed messages coming from the US.

“Before Trump’s generous announcement that he didn’t want the drone back, the Pentagon had already announced publicly that they have asked China to return the ‘illegally seized’ [unmanned underwater vehicle] through appropriate governmental channels,” the paper wrote. “We don’t know, after seeing Trump’s new tweets, if the Pentagon should feel boggled.”

As The Guardian notes, it’s also unprecedented for a president-elect to comment on an international incident before assuming power.

As for people making fun of Trump’s spelling error, well, he’s, “like, a smart person.” He also tweets a lot, too much for a president. Maybe that’s why everyone makes fun of him.

Chris Smith started writing about gadgets as a hobby, and before he knew it he was sharing his views on tech stuff with readers around the world. Whenever he's not writing about gadgets he miserably fails to stay away from them, although he desperately tries. But that's not necessarily a bad thing.