1248 GMT September 23, 2018
Trump made the comments in a Saturday tweet, posted shortly after the Pentagon reassured the nation that the drone would be returned.
"We should tell China that we don't want the drone they stole back - let them keep it!" Trump tweeted.
The tweet was posted after Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said in a statement that "Through direct engagement with Chinese authorities, we have secured an understanding that the Chinese will return the UUV to the United States."
The Chinese defense ministry also said on its website that the authorities "decided to return it to the US side in an appropriate manner,” adding that the two countries “have all along been in communication about it.”
On Thursday, the Chinese navy launched a small boat and removed the unmanned underwater vehicle from waters near a US oceanographic research vessel in the volatile South China Sea., citing its “danger to the safe navigation of passing ships and personnel.”
Beijing also accused Washington of “hyping up” the incident, which led to a formal protest from the United States and set off one of the tensest standoffs between the two countries in 15 years.
Earlier on Saturday, Trump just accused the Chinese of having stolen the drone.
China accuses the United States of meddling in the regional issues and deliberately stirring up tensions in the South China Sea.
Since the start of his campaign for the 2016 presidential election, Trump has been a vocal critic of the US ties with China.