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12:57 PM, December 19, 2016
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Seized US Underwater Drone May Have Gathered Data On Chinese Subs: Chinese Media (File photo)

Chinese military analysts have said that the US underwater drone that was seized in South China Sea last week must have gathered military intelligence like the movements of submarines.

Song Zhongping, a military commentator at Phoenix TV, told the Global Times on Sunday that in the military field, the drone, or UUV (unmanned underwater vehicle), can gather hydrological intelligence about salinity, temperature and ocean currents.

"More importantly, it can also gather military intelligence like the movements of submarines," Song said, explaining that the South China Sea is a significant area for Chinese navy submarines and nuclear submarines.

Chinese naval experts have asked the US to stop such ‘spying activities’ and have agreed on returning the seized drone in an ‘appropriate manner’ after it received on Saturday a "claim request" from the US for the underwater drone.

"This is not the first time that we seized a US underwater drone in the South China Sea, but the one we seized on Thursday is new and more advanced than before and might carry valuable information just gathered in the South China Sea," Li Jie, a Beijing-based naval expert was quoted as saying.

A Chinese naval lifeboat located an unidentified device in the South China Sea last Thursday. "On the afternoon of Thursday, a Chinese naval lifeboat located an unidentified device in the South China Sea. In order to prevent the device from causing harm to the safety of navigation and personnel of passing vessels, the Chinese naval lifeboat verified and examined the device in a professional and responsible manner," a naval expert said.

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