The two countries had spoken and according to Pentagon, the United States “have secured an understanding that the Chinese will return the UUV to the United States”. US Navy was reportedly using the now-seized vehicle to gather data on the clarity, temperature and salinity of the water from Subic Bay. The crew of the Bowditch ship attempted to retrieve it after hailing the Chinese vessel. Their demand to have the drone returned was however quickly disregarded.
According to Chinese officials the whole incident was “hyped up” by the United States. In the end China “decided to return (the seized drone) to the U.S. side in an appropriate manner”. In the context of existing and rising tensions between China and other countries from the South Pacific, a direct engagement between the U.S. and China quickly “cleared the waters”. The seizure also prompted President-elect Donald Trump, to write about the action as being an “unprecedented act” on his Twitter feed.