China's Navy just seized a U.S. military drone that was underwater in the South China Sea


This is China poking the bear.

Face facts. They’re gaining power, and quite damn proud people. Trump has pissed them off with the idiotic Taiwan call.

New World Order. Take care.


Well, he’s already laid the groundwork for the delicate relationship that… ha, ha, oops!


Exactly. This smacks more of China grandstanding about their territory than it does about covert US surveillance. My IANAL take is that it is to get the case into international court to lodge a territorial claim–and they don’t care at all about the drone.


Has anyone read that chapter in “The Prince” about the faith of princes?
A Principality generally doesn’t do such a thing unless it thinks it can get away with it, by crushing it’s rival, or making them irrelevant.

So this is extreme desperation, in my mind: the drone is more or less worthless, and as a show of force…taking it lacks that something special that says “I’m a bigger fish than you”.

Unless that wasn’t a civilian grade survey drone at all.


That’s not likely, as they lost a case in the Hague in June denying their claims and vindicating the Philippines. China refused to recognize the ruling.


Doesn’t mean there isn’t a long game with establishing a long history of territory disputes.

I would gather international law is much like domestic U.S. law in that if you can set precedent when you luck out with a panel or judge, you can use that as the tip of the wedge. Which of course means given unlimited resources, lodging an unlimited number of challenges becomes a plausible strategy.

But then again, IANAL. So there’s that.


There’s a very long game of trying to steal territory from other countries, but nobody takes seriously China’s claim to have exerted historical control over the ten-dash line they claim, which is just offshore of several countries. That’s why they were routed in the Hauge. They know they can’t win on legal grounds, which is why they pull outlaw moves like this one to try to claim territory by brute force.


All I have to say is WE LOVE YOU XENI, keep up the good “work”. I’ve been noticing you ever since the Guatemala trials.
Long live Xeni!


Welcome to BoingBoing!


Yeah, OK. I knew about the Hague ruling. And this is brute force, seizing a robot submarine.

But it’s seizing a robot submarine. If it’s not a legal gambit, how is this supposed to work for territorial dispute? “Raising Awareness”?


International waters and international law about such waters was clear. Israel a few years back in international waters invaded, killed, and abducted citizens of other countries. “Activists”. The campaign to take away international waters (from world citizens) and by nationalizing them as explotiation zones (generally passed by lease to multinational giants as petroleum industry) triggered this eagerness between countries to base the definition of such waters by claiming tiny little pieces of rock above the surface ot the sea as their land. It used to be 6mi off coast, then became 12mi for most countries. Now it is hundreds of miles from the coast of each piece of rock popping up above sea level. China is only following a trend started by “others”. I don’t care where you are from, but this was your water before, now it is Chinese by exploiting the definition of EEZ (

Everyone else talking about the weather and an artificial Chinese island. A much more realistic natural island than Fort Jefferson, FL is. Look it up! But this was our free sailing water and now it is oil exploration property. Simple story. Two entities fighting about what belongs to them legalizing the right to exclude all of us.

Playing games, boyz will be boyz!


Ah - so it’s not engaged in espionage then.

It’s yellow and operates in the water like a weather balloon in the air, mapping currents, composition, and temperature.


It’s got bigger friends than most weather balloons do.


A reminder about why China gets touchy about hostile navies in the South China Sea…


The South China Sea isn’t near China, though. It would be like the US claiming the Gulf of California, Hudson Bay, or the entire Caribbean. Not that US hawks and commercial interests wouldn’t try (or haven’t tried) to do that. Still not right, though.


It’s got bigger friends than most weather balloons do.

I’m pretty sure there wasn’t a carrier battlegroup sitting on top of it.


China, like America, tends to see itself as the centre of the world. To them, the humiliation and low influence of the 20th century is seen as a thankfully-past temporary aberration.

They traditionally don’t go in that much for military conquest, but they were fond of the role of dominant military and economic hegemon.


Maybe that attitude is wrong? The Spanish-American war isn’t regarded as right, along with so many other US adventures. We used the model of British, Chinese, Ottoman, and Greco-Roman empires to justify that. Maybe we should stop.


With you there; imperialism sucks balls.

Telling China to stop while the USA and Russia continue to do it isn’t likely to be persuasive, however.


I think Trump marks the point where the US stops doing it and slides into a European style retirement.