>> A super power stand off diffused on Tuesday. China turning over a US underwater drone that one of its naval boats seized from American sailors last week, striking a deal after talks that Beijing called friendly. Now speculation turns to how this episode will play into US President elect Donald Trump's tougher line with Beijing.
He's accused China of stealing the drone, an accusation that the foreign ministry has denied. But rather than take the bait and escalate the spat, Beijing has been careful not to lose its cool. Reuters Ben Blanchard explains why.>> The whole issue definitely adds an air of certainty to the China, US relationship ahead of the inauguration as Donald Trump as president next month.
Our state media has been quite strong in its criticism of some of Donald Trump's remarks about the drone issue, but this actually, really has not been reflected in what the government has said. The government is still enthusiastic not to burn any bridges with Trump before he takes office.
And China really wanted to handle this in a relatively low key way. And it seems as far as China is concerned to have succeeded.>> But don't get the wrong idea. China may have adopted a relatively calm approach to the situation, but that doesn't mean it buys the US line that the drone was simply monitoring ocean currents.
>> As far as China is concerned, this drone is just another example of what it sees as very close, and as far as it's concerned, probably not legal surveillance of Chinese activities in what China views as its territorial waters.>> Chinese officials said Tuesday that US criticism of the drone capture was, quote, unreasonable.
But like many issues surrounding the South China sea, that's open to interpretation. It was captured well outside the so called Nine-Dash Line that marks what Beijing claims as its own territory, begging the question, did China really have the right to scoop it up in the first place?