Yesterday I posted on the Chinese PLAN seizing an unmanned US Navy submersible in the South China Sea from under the very noses of the US Navy. The facts in the case are even more egregious than it had first appeared:

A Chinese warship has captured an underwater US Navy drone right in front of the eyes of the crew of an American ship in the South China sea, prompting a government official to say, ‘they stole it’.

When the Bowditch stopped to collect the underwater equipment, a Chinese warship that had been following it dropped a boat into the water the pulled up alongside the US vessel and snatched the drone, according to CNN.

The USS Bowditch had been sampling and data collection of surface, midwater and ocean floor measurements, and US officials received no reply from the Chinese when they radioed to state the drone was American.

The US crew had hoped to start communications with the Chinese vessel to get the drone back, but the ship eventually responded to say it was returning to normal operations and left the area, according to NBC News.

Shorter: F*** you. Strong, rude message to follow.

Now China has agreed to return the submersible as some unspecified future time:

As Ambassador John Bolton says

Well, I think it’s trying to show it can humiliate the United States at will. I think it’s a fitting end to the Obama administration. Couldn’t come at a better time. I’m sure they didn’t know his press conference was about to start in a few minutes. But let’s face it. This is the culmination of eight years of Obama administration weakness all around the world. I don’t think you can underline this enough. It wasn’t that they had to find this drone somewhere near a beach in China. This was in international waters. The American naval research vessel was in the process of recovering the drone. The Chinese vessel came up, put a smaller boat in the water and just took the thing away. So this is about as clear as you can get

He’s right but he doesn’t go far enough. Sure this is about China heaping an additional humiliation upon Obama and showing he US Navy to be a hollow, ineffectual and emasculated force that can’t defend its own property much less allies. But it is also letting Trump know that China is not only capable but very willing to cause trouble for him in the WestPac and it will unless he toes their line.