back to article China gives America its underwater drone back – with a warning

The Chinese government has handed back to America the US Navy underwater drone it stole last week. The Seaglider submersible was scooped out of the ocean by a Chinese military vessel shadowing the USNS Bowditch in the South China Sea. The drone, one of hundreds of autonomous vehicles the US Navy uses to track currents and …

  1. TRT Silver badge

    Erm...

    Unpresidented? Jesus wept.

    1. Andy Non

      Re: Erm...

      I wish Trump could be unpresidented.

      1. Mycho Silver badge

        Re: Erm...

        Don't misunderestimate him.

    2. Drew 11

      Re: Erm...

      I'm almost pining for Dubya.

      1. Mycho Silver badge

        Re: Erm...

        Is that the political equivalent of pining for the fjords?

      2. This post has been deleted by a moderator

        1. james 68

          Re: Erm...

          Trumps "tactics" most definitely had nothing to do with it.

          Regardless of what his PR people were spouting about his little twitter tirade sorting out those uppity Chinese, he was late to the ball game.

          The issue had already been resolved with the Chinese offering to return the drone many many hours before Trumps tweets, if only there had been some way for him to know that before tweeting...... something like say (and I know this may seem like a ridiculous concept) a daily security briefing perhaps?

          Ohhhhh those already exist, and the Trump doesn't need them because he's so smart. Who could have guessed?

          1. TRT Silver badge

            Re: Erm...

            Tactics? Donald loves them. As soon as he became President elect he ordered as big box of them. Cherry is his favourite, but the little mint ones are good too.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Erm...

            if only there had been some way for him to know that before tweeting...... something like say (and I know this may seem like a ridiculous concept) a daily security briefing perhaps?

            Except a daily security briefing would do no good if something changed between briefings.

            A simple cron job won't cut it, you need an event-driven interface.

            Which, incidentally, is precisely what Trump actually said he wants, if you read the entire quote, rather than just the clickbait headlines:

            "I'm, like, a smart person. I don't have to be told the same thing in the same words every single day for the next eight years," the president-elect added. "I don't need that. But I do say, 'If something should change, let us know.'"

            1. Rich 11 Silver badge

              Re: Erm...

              But I do say, 'If something should change, let us know.'"

              And does he really think that doesn't already happen? What was he expecting to hear in his daily briefing? "Good morning, Mr President. Here's the security briefing for today: yesterday at 1115 Eastern Time we lost the entire western seaboard in a pre-emptive nuclear strike by North Korea."

              The man's a fucking moron.

              1. james 68

                Re: Erm...

                @Rich 11, You got it in one.

                @Anonymous Coward

                "Except a daily security briefing would do no good if something changed between briefings." - You mean like if something were to change like the Chinese maybe saying 'Oops our bad, here have your drone back'? Presumably a somewhat different prospect from the previous day, and yet...... Trump thinks his mind is "biglier" than everyone else's and so refuses to listen - to anyone - ever.

                So yeah the whole "I'm, like, a smart person. I don't have to be told the same thing in the same words every single day for the next eight years," the president-elect added. "I don't need that. But I do say, 'If something should change, let us know.'" is bullshit. The only way he'll ever pay attention is if they tweet it alongside a bad review of one of his conflicts of interests businesses.

                Kind of like how he found out about the drone in the first place - his tweet was DAYS after the original theft occurred and didn't happen until the story hit twitter. Yeah skipping the briefings is great policy, not.

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                "OBAKA"

                Probably some sort of thinly veiled racism popular on Breitbart that the rest of us are fortunately not regularly exposed to.

                1. Mycho Silver badge

                  Re: "OBAKA"

                  AC, this making up of easily fact-checked arguments against the right wing is how Trump was able to win this time. You might want to re-think your strategy, assuming you're not a Trump shill in disguise.

            2. ImpureScience

              Re: Erm...

              So, do you really think that the content of the daily briefings is: "everything is in the same state it was in yesterday..."? Are you saying you think that if something big happens in between regular briefings they'll let it keep until the next day? Seriously?

              There have been plenty of people in the White House with better minds than Donald Trump, notably the guy now leaving the office, and they haven't foregone their briefings.

        2. LionelB

          Re: Erm...

          What is this "OBAKA"? Is that an acronym? Only things I can find is a manga series called Obaka-Chan, and that it is the 1,570,913th most common surname in the world. Don't get it.

          1. bombastic bob Silver badge
            Devil

            Re: Erm...

            "What is this "OBAKA"? Is that an acronym?"

            it's a pejorative/snarky re-spelling of the current occupant of the white house's surname, swapping 'K' for 'M', and in Japanese it means something like "honorable idiot" or "king of idiots" or "flaming idiot" - you get the idea. Also the title of a hip-hop recording I did a few years ago... (over on soundclick)

          2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: Erm...

            "What is this "OBAKA"? "

            It's Chewbaccas Grandad. On the Irish side. You know how bad the mis-spelling of names was at Ellis Island.

        3. Afernie
          Facepalm

          Re: Erm...

          "Trump's "keep it" tactic is probably what worked. Heh. Brilliant!"

          Yes, that's right the tactics of the primary school playground worked on the Chinese military.

          "I don't want my ball back, so nah nah nah. Also, my dad is bigger than your dad."

          You do appear to be utterly oblivious to the degree that this geriatic tangerine toddler twat with anger issues is making your country a global laughing stock. He's not even "The Precedent" yet.

          1. Wzrd1

            Re: Erm...

            "You do appear to be utterly oblivious to the degree that this geriatic tangerine toddler twat with anger issues is making your country a global laughing stock."

            Well, after 8 years of W, then 8 years of near sanity, we figured that we'd outdo ourselves.

            But at least, we didn't choose another man who could out-Orwell Orwell. We picked a simpler model.

            The simplest one we could find at the simpleton store.

          2. This post has been deleted by a moderator

          3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: Erm...

            "He's not even "The Precedent" yet."

            I saw what you did there :-)

      3. Down not across Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: Erm...

        ..guess you'd want Quayle back too.

    3. Anonymous Blowhard

      Re: Erm...

      "Unpresidented" is a new word, it means "not authorised by by the President".

      1. Robert Moore
        Coat

        Re: Erm...

        Trump is simply embiggening the American language.

        "Unpresidented", is a perfectly cromulent word... Now.

    4. PNGuinn
      Headmaster

      Re: Erm... Unpresidented

      Nah - just a simple froydian slip ....

      Nothing to see here - move along please.

    5. TAJW

      Re: Erm...

      Kind of like he wept when Obama said he visited 57 states? Misspelling a word is much different than getting the number of states wrong....of course, you left wingers gave him a pass on that. I wonder if Michelle was, for the first time, proud of all 57 states Barry invented in his mind or just the real 50.

      1. veti Silver badge

        Re: Erm...

        "We left-wingers" laughed at Obama when he talked about 57 states, just like we laughed at Bush's cunning linguistics.

        But Trump is in a whole different category. Bush was a dimwit, and Obama weak, but both of them were at least genuinely trying to do their jobs. Trump has no intention of trying to do anything but enrich his own dynasty.

        America? Stick a fork in it. It's done.

  2. Youngone Silver badge
    Mushroom

    Lying so-and-so's

    I don't believe anyone involved in this.

    I'm sure the US is spying on the Chinese in the region, and this sort of drone is probably involved. The US tells us it's for research, but they have form in the "not being entirely honest" department.

    The South China Sea does not belong to China, and their heavily armed artificial islands are at least half the problem here.

    They're all bad people and ought to be ashamed.

    1. Jon 37

      Re: Lying so-and-so's

      "The South China Sea does not belong to China"

      Well, it did not belong to China in the past. Now they've built & fortified islands there and their navy is sailing around there, and they claim to own it. What's the rest of the world going to do about it? Looks like the rest of the world is going to talk and do nothing substantive, while China takes it over. So for all practical purposes, China will own it in future.

      1. Notas Badoff
        Megaphone

        Re: Lying so-and-so's

        China: the communist government using capitalist methods to fund an aggressive modern military to impose hegemony as legitimated by imperial maps.

        The idea of the "Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere" rises again not even a 100 years later. Just... this time it is the Chinese giving all and sundry the benefits thereof.

        1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

        2. evilhippo

          Re: Lying so-and-so's

          What? Get with the program! Yes, China may be unilaterally annexing a huge chunk of the South China Sea but TRUMP is the problem! Can you not read all the insightful comments by the geostrategic geniuses here?

          1. Day

            Re: Lying so-and-so's

            "What? Get with the program! Yes, China may be unilaterally annexing a huge chunk of the South China Sea but TRUMP is the problem!"

            Both of those things can be true.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @ Notas Badoff Re: Lying so-and-so's

          "...as legitimated by imperial maps."

          Er, no. There are no imperial maps showing any such thing. Nada. The Chinese "claim" is based on an territory grab that first originated in 1947.

          Like most things the Chinese claim about their history, it's based on a lie.

      2. Dr Scrum Master

        Re: Lying so-and-so's

        "The South China Sea does not belong to China"

        Well, it did not belong to China in the past.

        Evidence?

        1. RagBag

          Re: Lying so-and-so's

          Since you asked for evidence of a negative - not required by law, by the way, can you produce evidence that they owned it?

          The start of this was a notional ten-dash-line, predicated on the belief that China can do whatsoever it wants including take over countries just based on their genetics! Singapore, be aware!

          This line assumes that some time in the past, some Chinese ship was based here... so if there is proof that some Chinese reached the west Coast of the continent of America, the entire Americas are owned by China.

          Hsuen Tsang (Xuanzang) reached India in the seventh century, so along with Pakistan, China may even claim all of India!

          That is the level of tall claims!

          I wonder if a Chinese reached Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Hawaii etc. Interesting legal claims can emerge,

          1. Sproggit

            Re: Lying so-and-so's - Historical Precedents

            In 1982, the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea established the "12-Mile Limit" as the maximum extent of territorial waters. See here:-

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Territorial_waters

            Whilst this ostensibly looks to be like a round of posturing between China and her neighbours - perhaps an attempt to set up some form of enforceable "exclusion zone" around the Chinese mainland, this is almost certainly not the case. It is much more likely that China know or suspect that area of ocean floor to contain some form of mineral wealth which China believes can be extracted, either now or in the short-medium term future.

            In considering this it is worth comparing the strategies adopted by both China and the US when it comes to securing access to resources [energy, minerals, food, ec] around the world. Over the last few years China has moved to cement numerous deals across Africa and South America; building partnerships, making purchases - even manipulating markets [such as dumping cheap steel across Europe to kill off the European steel industry] - where it believes it appropriate to do so.

            The United States has taken a different approach; it has adopted a two-headed strategy that comprises control of financial markets and on the introduction of wide-reaching trade deals. The trade deals in particular, are deceptively powerful - for example the way that they impose things like acceptance of Software Patents, or giving the right to [US] companies to sue other governments if those entities issue laws that would harm the profits of US corporations.

            What is unusual about the events unfolding in the South China Sea is that no proxies are involved; these are moves undertaken directly by the super-powers. Whilst Saudi Arabia and Iran have been fighting proxy wars in the Middle East for decades, it looks as though the US and China have moved on to something a little more direct.

            We live in interesting times, in the original sense of the phrase.

    2. mhenriday
      Boffin

      Re: Lying so-and-so's

      «The South China Sea does not belong to China ...» Of course not ; it belongs, like the Persian Gulf and other such waterways, to the United States, which is why the US Navy is so assiduously patrolling there - one might say, in an «unpresidented» manner....

      Henri

    3. PNGuinn
      FAIL

      Re: Lying so-and-so's

      "The US tells us it's for research"

      You are trying to tell me that spying on others is not a form of "research"?

    4. phuzz Silver badge
      Boffin

      Re: Lying so-and-so's

      The drone in question is an oceanographic drone. It measures the temperature and salinity of the sea at different positions and depths. This is very useful information for the US Navy 's submarines, as it gives them a much better idea of how, and how far sounds will travel through that particular bit of ocean.

      So it's not exactly spying, but it is information that's intended for a military purpose.

      1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: Phuzz Re: Lying so-and-so's

        ".....but it is information that's intended for a military purpose." Not just military purposes. The data is also supplied to a number of scientific programs looking at the marine environment, oceanography, and climatology - http://www.apl.washington.edu/project/project.php?id=seaglider - and was developed by scientists, not the "Eeeevvvviiiiiiillll" DARPA or any other military body. Without the support given to the program by the US Navy it wouldn't have happened at all.

    5. Wzrd1

      Re: Lying so-and-so's

      "I'm sure the US is spying on the Chinese in the region, and this sort of drone is probably involved."

      Erm, spying, not so much. Studying thermoclines and salinity changes, etc, yeah.

      All the better to hide submarines.

      I can't for the life of me figure out *why* the PRC would mind US submarines near their waters. Why, the Russians loved them north of the Kola Peninsula for all of those decades.

  3. Gene Cash Silver badge

    New ad in my mailbox...

    Now! At Harbor Freight! Underwater drones! Cheap!

  4. Emmeran

    Playing it for his voter base

    Anyone thinking these typos are purely unintentional needs to have their head examined. Trump has to stay "reel"(sic) to his voting base.

    In the other column, go long ship builders and big defense.

    1. MrDamage

      Re: Playing it for his voter base

      Not just his voter base.

      This is the same country that got its knickers in a twist over the use of the word "niggardly".

      Too eager to spend 10 minutes typing out a vitriolic rant on racism instead of spending 10 seconds typing the word into google to learn what it actually means.

      1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

        Re: Playing it for his voter base

        They also have sh*t fits in school in the US over African geography when they come across the Niger River.

    2. Hero Protagonist

      Re: Playing it for his voter base

      Akin to Occam's Razor, Trump's Razor posits that the stupidest possible explanation for any of Trumps actions is the correct one. So Trumps Razor suggests: autocorrect confuses Trump so he turned it off.

      1. hplasm Silver badge
        Holmes

        Re: "autocorrect confuses Trump so he turned it off."

        That is a slip! Ha!

        Danm Autocorrect!! (sic, obv)

        He's obviously smarter than he would like us to think...

    3. Jaybus

      Re: Playing it for his voter base

      "Anyone thinking these typos are purely unintentional needs to have their head examined. Trump has to stay "reel"(sic) to his voting base."

      That's a bit vague. Either you are insulting 68+ million people, or you are stating that Trump believes that he is insulting them. Which is it?

  5. El_Fev

    I think someone reminded the Chinese that if it goes hot hot, the only things left floating in the Chinese navy would be driftwood!, that and a tape of Gulf Wars 1 & 2 to remind them what happens when the US takes the gloves off.

    1. MiguelC Silver badge

      China has more than a hundred subs, how many did Iraq posess? Yeah, thought so...

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        >I think someone reminded the Chinese that if it goes hot hot, the only things left floating in the Chinese navy would be driftwood!,

        And just wait til the cowardly Hun see the gleam of our British steel they run away crying and we'll all be home by Christmas, right? /s

        If things got 'hot hot' between the two nuclear powers in question, it wouldn't just be people in Asia having a shit day.

        1. Captain DaFt

          Nukes? Psshaw!

          More like: Return that drone ASAP, or we (the US) will default on all those T-bills you (China) are holding!

          1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

            Re: Nukes? Psshaw!

            More like: Return that drone ASAP, or we (the US) will default on all those T-bills you (China) are holding!

            I refer you to the scene in Blazing Saddles where the sheriff points the gun at his own head.

          2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: Nukes? Psshaw!

            "T-bills"

            What that? 3rd or 4th time I've seen that used. Is it something to do with Boston?

            1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

              Re: Nukes? Psshaw!

              No T-bills are what come in t-brown envelopes in Yorkshire

      2. Wzrd1

        "China has more than a hundred subs..."

        Yeah, but the old Han subs don't really count. Any boat that's so loud that the sonar operators require hearing protection doesn't count.

        Of course, the newest PRC boats count. Things will get interesting if they get better at making boats than Russia.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      You mean the same Gulf Wars tapes that will have zero bearing on a war with China - especially since Iraq had essentially no navy, while the same cannot be said of China? Those tapes?

      The US has numerous advantages - advantages that have come at the cost of trillions of dollars - but to think that a shooting war with China will go like the Iraq wars? That's getting deep into the punch bowl of Kool-Aid...

      First and most important of differences - unlike Iraq, China *has* WMDs, e.g. nukes, and capability to deliver them. And a reply that includes 'we'll nuke 'em too!' misses the most important point - both sides end up losing, to greater or lesser degree.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        @AC Well said.

        El_Fev's idea seems to be that he can intimidate someone before a bar fight by showing him a video of him beating up a schoolboy.

        1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
          Facepalm

          Re: Dave 126

          ".....beating up a schoolboy." Wow, the Yank haters really do have short memories! Before Saddam got so soundly trounced in the Gulf War, the "experts" in the haters club were hysterically claiming Saddam's forces in Kuwait were "too big and too well-armed" for the UN forces to handle without catastrophic loss of American lives, that his Republican Guard were some type of experienced "super soldiers". Iraq did have the largest conventional army and airforce in the region, it's just the haters wanted to transpose "largest" with "capable". They argued it was better to take the path of compromise, to appease the bully. History then showed the US-led UN forces completely annihilating the Iraqi forces in Kuwait, especially the Republican Guard. Hilariously, the same "experts" made similar predictions of gloom and woe for the Invasion of Iraq, only to again see the Iraqi conventional forces trounced again. Of course, after he was defeated so easily, the "unbeatable" Saddam has transmogrified into a "schoolboy" in the eyes of the haters.

          It's not like the haters don't have previous in denigrating US capabilities. During the Iran-Iraq War, the Iranians attacked unarmed shipping in international waters in the Persian Gulf. The "experts" wailed that any US interference would be a disaster, that the USN could not operate in the Gulf without being destroyed by the large Iranian airforce and navy (including Iranian subs). Operation Preying Mantis then showed the Iranian navy being smashed and the Iranian airforce hiding from sight, and international shipping being given safe passage through the Gulf. I take it the haters will refer to the Ayatollahs as "schoolboys" too after their bluff was called?

          The key to the US's ability to beat such bullies was not just a quantative but also a qualitative edge, both in equipment, training and tactics, and the will of other POTUSs to use it. Despite the size of their forces, the Chinese know they cannot match the US in open battle at sea, either above or below the waves, and would be hard pressed to provide support to those distant artificial islands should the US decide to support the other nations in the region in taking those islands. There's also the catastrophic harm such a war would do to the Chinese economy. Obambi should have imposed tough economic sanctions on China the minute they started building those artificial islands, but he waivered and equivocated and tried appeasing China, probably because he listened to too many of those same haters, and China laughed at him. China isn't laughing about Trumpet.

          1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

      2. Rattus Rattus

        Indeed, if China and America get into a shooting war the entire world is fucked. Including America and China.

        1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

          "...if China and America get into a shooting war the entire world is fucked..."

          No going to happen - Unpresident Trumps modus operandi is to simply not pay them. If Unpresident Trump follows through on his previous promises then he'll simply not pay them for all the stuff America buys from the Chinese - and then their entire economy is, as you so politely put it "fucked".

          Next thing you know they will be begging to be grabbed by the pussy.

          1. breakfast

            Except that China owns most of the American national debt, so they can pull the carpet out from under the dollar at a whim if they so choose.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            I keep seeing this 'well, the US just won't pay back their loans/obligations if such-and-such...'

            Yeah, it will screw over the Chinese economy - and take down the US one, too. The US dollar will be about as useful as toilet paper for buying stuff at that point, because it will have ZERO value. No one will loan the US money without attaching insane interest and other unfavorable conditions onto it.

            Thinking that defaulting on trillions of dollars will be just peachy-keen is like comparing Iraq and China militarily - it fails to acknowledge that pesky reality thing.

      3. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Something about fighting a land war in Asia?

        1. E 2
          Trollface

          No no, it's just East Asia!

          1. Adrian 4 Silver badge

            No, it's something about 'the only winning move is not to play'.

        2. Matt Bryant Silver badge
          Facepalm

          Re: YAAC

          "Something about fighting a land war in Asia?" Firstly, the most likely action wouldn't be a land war in Asia, it would be an US-supported action by local nations to seize (and probably destroy) the artificial islands far from the reach of the massive conventional forces on mainland China. The USN's superior numbers and tech would make such a venture a foregone conclusion. Secondly, the US has not fought an unrestrained "war" in SE Asia since WW2. Even Korea had serious political limitations placed on US forces, and Vietnam saw an US military that could have rolled right through North Vietnam in a week totally hogtied by politics. Thirdly, any unlikely land war would see China actually fighting her neighbours, particularly the Vietnamese. And Russia, with its massive border with China, is still a friend to Vietnam. It is very doubtful that China would ever let it get to a full-blown shooting war in SE Asia, but if it happened it would be the Chinese that would have the most cause to blink first.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            WTF?

            Re: YAAC

            "Thirdly, any unlikely land war would see China actually fighting her neighbours, particularly the Vietnamese. And Russia, with its massive border with China, is still a friend to Vietnam"

            Really???

            So you can count on North Korea to storm into South Korea, so that will tie up those forces, both South Korean and US.

            And you REALLY expect Putin to side with Vietnam over China? Really? You are seriously fucking deluded. See how much trade Russia does with China and compare to Vietnam. You are also forgetting both Vietnam and China are communist countries (you do realise the US lost the Veitnam war), and China, again is one of it's biggest trading partners.

            Why the fuck would either of these partner with the USA?

            1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
              FAIL

              Re: Lost all faith... Re: YAAC

              "......And you REALLY expect Putin to side with Vietnam over China? Really? You are seriously fucking deluded....." You should try a bit more factual reading, especially regarding the existing island disputes between China and Vietnam (which have involved live fire), plus China's invasion of Vietnam and the resulting split between the Soviet Union and China that was seized on by Nixon, before you go posting any more evidence of your complete lack of historic reading.

    3. Brian Miller
      Mushroom

      Stop worrying and love the bomb!

      "China will continue to be vigilant against the relevant activities on the U.S. side, and will take necessary measures in response."

      Ready ... set ... nuke!

    4. Potemkine Silver badge

      Trumpian attitude

      Brain is the less useful muscle.

    5. RPF

      If you think smacking a city-state like Iraq down means that you'll be able to take on the world's largest standing army with ease, you're out of your mind.

    6. Triggerfish

      @El Fev

      You have said this before, you are seriously delusional if you think a poor sandy country with limited resources is the same fight as a nuclear armed superpower.

      Gloves off? FFS this is not some playground pushing match this is potential global conflict, nuke em till they glow, shoot them in the dark levels, especially with that attitude. It's easy to be a hawk from your keyboard.

      Also a carrier groups not much use without a carrier.

      https://www.warhistoryonline.com/history/chinese-submarine-appeared-in-the-middle-of-a-carrier-battle-group.html

      1. Nolveys Silver badge
        Holmes

        Re: @El Fev

        Also a carrier groups not much use without a carrier.

        https://www.warhistoryonline.com/history/chinese-submarine-appeared-in-the-middle-of-a-carrier-battle-group.html

        This not only has a lot to do with how quiet the propellers on the new Chinese subs are but also with a revolutionary new sonar system that makes them much more difficult to hear and locate. Rather than using the characteristic "ping" sound, which is easy to both hear and triangulate, they use a specially designed sound wave that sounds like a "yoink".

        I imagine that they used this new system to precisely locate the drone prior to capture. Given the accuracy of the system they were probably able to locate the drone with a single yoink.

    7. Nolveys Silver badge
      Mushroom

      I think someone reminded the Chinese that if it goes hot hot, the only things left floating in the Chinese navy would be driftwood!, that and a tape of Gulf Wars 1 & 2 to remind them what happens when the US takes the gloves off.

      I think that we should all take this opportunity to think about any and all who have disagreements with the US being utterly annihilated by a crushing barrage of superior fire power while we furiously masturbate.

    8. JimC Silver badge

      Think you need to be reminded of

      Events of exactly 66 years ago. Even with little modern equipment the Chinese armed forces were pretty capable. My father was out there a year later. Doesn't pay to be dismissive of the Chinese.

    9. Anonymous Coward
      WTF?

      " that and a tape of Gulf Wars 1 & 2"

      I think you need to watch tapes of Vietnam and Korea to be reminded of what happens when the Chinese get involved in.

  6. Winkypop Silver badge
    FAIL

    Leader of the free world...

    Legend in his own lunch-time..

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Leader of the free world...

      The "leader of the free world" right now is Obama. You were saying...?

      1. Chris G Silver badge

        Re: Leader of the free world...

        I live in a part of the free world and neither of them are or will be my leader.

        POTUS is leader of a questionably free country, not the world much as they would like to think so.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Leader of the free world...

        @ Big John

        Oh ouch!

        You can see why you Republican fellas did so well.

        Head-thinkin' aint for everybody.

  7. Mikel

    New for Christmas next year

    First quality submarine drones for the aquatic enthusiast. Made in Taiwan from a clever engineering design quite like that used by the US military. Fully autonomous. Lithium rechargable batteries, runs for days. HD webcam standard, optional sensor packages available.

    Explore your underwater world without getting cold and wet. Only at finer department stores and online via Amazon.com.

    1. Adam 52 Silver badge

      Re: New for Christmas next year

      Probably not Taiwan.

      1. Paul Woodhouse

        Re: New for Christmas next year

        no, deffo not made in Taiwan, made in China by a Taiwanese owned company more likely :D...

    2. Kernel

      Re: New for Christmas next year

      " Only at finer department stores and online via Amazon.com."

      More like two for $80 on Alibaba.

  8. Mark 85 Silver badge

    He added that the US Navy had frequently invaded Chinese waters to carry out reconnaissance and military surveys, despite Chinese protests.

    So basically, most of the Pacific Ocean is now considered "Chinese waters"? Seems that's what they're saying of late. 50 miles off the Philippines would still be Philippine waters.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      I would hope the Navy is also carrying out surveys inside Chinese waters - that is what we pay them for. Given that they aren't allowed Rum or the Lash anymore they need something to do.

      1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

        1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

          Re: I always though it was sodomy? You know the sailor's triathlon

          N A M Rodger has rather exploded this Churchillian myth. Of course, having gone to Harrow Churchill would have concluded that all enclosed male societies ran on sodomy and the lash, but the better captains of the RN minimised the lash, and the mostly very conservative working class sailors would have minimised the sodomy.

    2. Chris G Silver badge

      I'm curious as to what the US response would be to the Chinese navy operating in a similar manner off the North Atlantic coast of the US?

      Probably accuse them of sabre rattling and being provocative.

      1. Alfred

        Already happens

        It's already common for spy ships of various nations to hang around in the international waters off the coast of other nations. This already happens off the coast of the United States. What you wonder about already happens.

        The response is typically what it has been for decades. Both sides know it's happening, they watch each other, they shadow each other's naval exercises. Everyone knows how it works and what the rules are so that everybody feels safe about what the other side is doing without causing any incidents.

        Already happens regularly. What does not already happen regularly is stealing each other's bits of kit from international waters.

        1. Kernel

          Re: Already happens

          "What does not already happen regularly is stealing each other's bits of kit from international waters."

          It's not as if the US doesn't have form in this particular field - the recovery of part of the Soviet submarine K-129 in 1974 springs to mind.

  9. TRT Silver badge

    Missed chance...

    For headline along the lines of "Chinese deliver take-away"

  10. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

    太小 - 把它放回水中

    1. Baldy50

      'Too small - put it back in the water'

      You owe me a clean keyboard! Bastard!!!!

    2. Inventor of the Marmite Laser Silver badge
  11. Potemkine Silver badge

    Sit and watch the fall of the Mighty American Empire

    "Should have thrown in a dictionary, too"

    So The Donald can learn more insults to tweet? I'm not sure it will help.

  12. Brady's left foot

    Available for Comment

    Never mind that, was Dudley Moore also available for comment?

    1. Andrew Moore Silver badge

      Re: Available for Comment

      my thoughts precisely, I even read the quote in Pete's voice...

  13. druck Silver badge

    South China Sea

    Recall the 7th fleet - but not too far.

  14. 2Fat2Bald

    Because, of course, the US Navy is conducting surveys into ocean currents and salinity. Yes, natural thing for the military to do, is that. Definitely. At this time of shallow budgets and cost-consciousness, naturally they're just putzing around near their biggest foe making sure the sea isn't too salty.

    As for trump. Well, it's a phonetic spelling, isn't it? - an easy mistake to make, for sure, but you'd hope he's check this out.

    Plus he's far from correct about this kind of thing not happening before. It happens regularly. It's - at most - in the category of the Russians flying strategic bombers into UK airspace for - basically - shits and giggles (as they do constantly).

    1. Alfred

      "Because, of course, the US Navy is conducting surveys into ocean currents and salinity. Yes, natural thing for the military to do, is that. Definitely. At this time of shallow budgets and cost-consciousness, naturally they're just putzing around near their biggest foe making sure the sea isn't too salty."

      Well, yes, it is. Naval survey vessels do this sort of thing a lot. It's a pretty common activity. I accuse you of having very little context and basically of having no idea what you're talking about. You've latched on to a simple idea - why would they be doing this - and with zero knowledge spun yourself an empty conclusion.

      "naturally they're just putzing around near their biggest foe making sure the sea isn't too salty."

      Their biggest foe, The Philippines? You really do have no idea.

      1. Kernel

        "Their biggest foe, The Philippines? "

        Not necessarily their biggest fans either - the Moro Crater Massacre is still causing diplomatic grief in 2106, 110 years after it happened.

  15. Wolfclaw Silver badge

    No remote safety device to blow it up and burn thieving fingers ?

    1. IsJustabloke Silver badge
      Meh

      ummm....

      It's not a torpedo... it's a research drone it doesn't have explosive anything on board.

      The sailors that muck around with it are basically civilians much like the guys and gals in the Royal Fleet Auxiliary

      1. Kiwi Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: ummm....

        It's not a torpedo... it's a research drone it doesn't have explosive anything on board.

        What's it powered by? Perhaps a word to Mr Samsung, who seem to have done a lot of work in weaponising lithium batteries?

  16. Version 1.0 Silver badge

    Dear El Reg

    Look at what the comment section is becoming - can we please unpresident all articles that refer to the president-elect sexual abuser in chief.

  17. dncnvncd

    It was probably a Quality Control Test follow-up. The Chinese wanted to see if one of their workers gave the Americans electronics from the good stack rather than the reject stack when the Chinese were manufacturing electronics for American military hardware. Witness America's problem with the F-35 while the Chinese clone seems to be doing quite well. American research might also show the effects that artificial islands built on coral islands is having on climate change. The world might quit blaming America for life giving CO2 and hold China responsible for their honest-to-goodness environmental damage. And there would go China's "economic advantage" . Then the manufacture of military clothing might return to America, it's territories or friendly neighbors. Boy, Nixon's policy of exploiting the Sino-Soviet rift was brilliant. Even it did aid the Chinese and Soviets in helping North Vietnam and the VC during the Vietnam War. NOT

  18. JJKing Bronze badge
    Mushroom

    To frightening for words.

    Ready ... set ... nuke!

    With the idiot Chinese politicians on one side and the idiot Drumpf and his idiots (Flynn for starters) on the other, those three words are more frightening than you imagined.

  19. Ken-in-Houston

    Add TnT to it

    In the future, these drones should have some kind of explosive added to them such that if they are illegally stolen again we can simply blow them up. Serves 'em right for stealing it in the first place!

    1. Goldmember

      Re: Add TnT to it

      In the future, these drones should have some kind of explosive added to them such that if they are illegally stolen again we can simply blow them up. Serves 'em right for stealing it in the first place!

      So the "theft" of a single drone is worth causing instant death to military personell, a major international incident and potentially triggering a full-scale nuclear war between the two largest superpowers in the world, at unimaginable human and economic costs to both sides and half the other countries in the world to boot?

      I really, really hope you don't wield even the tiniest amount of power in whatever work you do.

      1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

        Re: Add TnT to it

        > I really, really hope you don't wield even the tiniest amount of power

        Unfortunately he does: he can vote and probably did.

        1. Inventor of the Marmite Laser Silver badge

          Re: Add TnT to it

          "> I really, really hope you don't wield even the tiniest amount of power

          Unfortunately he does: he can vote and probably did."

          Probably for Trump

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Add TnT to it

      And then the Chinese justifiably can say "see it was a weapon, so we were justified in pulling it out of the water"

    3. Kiwi Silver badge

      Re: Add TnT to it

      In the future, these drones should have some kind of explosive added to them such that if they are illegally stolen again we can simply blow them up. Serves 'em right for stealing it in the first place!

      Un manned object floating in international waters. I honestly wonder if laws of salvage and so on could apply here, and what other laws might apply.

      "Theft" it most certainly isn't. An act deserving of serious harm or death? Even less so. And what if said drone happens to lose contact with base, drift somewhere, and end up being picked up by a boatload of US teens? Would death/maiming "serve 'em right"?

  20. Joe 59

    China can suck it. Taiwan is an independent country, free and clear of the mainland. The day China removes the mass murdering psychotic sociopath Mao from it's currency and public squares is the day they can talk with any sort of authority on international politics again.

    If Hitler was on the Mark, you would be saying the same thing.

    1. HausWolf

      And Jackson practiced genocide and forced relocation, yet he is on US money.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        >And Jackson practiced genocide and forced relocation, yet he is on US money.

        But not of white people so it doesn't really count

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        And we have Winston Churchill, a man that helped win WW2, which luckily covers up his previous genocides and violent actions.

  21. Tree

    Free trade and right of passage.

    The reason US warships pass through international shipping channels is to enforce the right of civilian cargo shipping to use these waters without interference. This is for the various peoples of large and small powers to potentially live a more prosperous life. China's actions are meant to enforce that country's control over this shipping. The Chinese are already making a claim on fish and other seafood. Our current leadership is OK with that. Let us see what the next administration does.

  22. JimC Silver badge

    Not of course, that we'd ever do such a thing...

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/defence/9602103/HMS-Conquerors-biggest-secret-a-raid-on-Russia.html

  23. d3vy Silver badge

    The US has addressed those facts with the Chinese through the appropriate diplomatic and military channels..

    Presumably someone will tell trump that none of those channels is Twitter.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Knock off submersibles...

    ...on Aliexpress in 3..2..1..

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