Beijing denies plan to build military base in Afghanistan

Beijing denies plan to build military base in Afghanistan

Beijing denies plan to build military base in Afghanistan

Chinese officials said Thursday that Beijing is in talks with the United States to participate in the world's largest worldwide maritime warfare exercises this summer, The Associated Press reported.

China's Defense Ministry on Thursday denied that it was planning to build a military base in northern Afghanistan.

Wu Qian, Chinese defence ministry spokesperson, said: 'We have received the American invitation.

The U.S. for its part routinely questions the objectives of China's massive military buildup and has criticized Beijing for carrying out extensive land reclamation work on numerous islands and reefs it claims, equipping some with air strips and military installations.

The U.S. -hosted naval drills known as RIMPAC are held every other year and in 2016 included 45 ships, 200 aircraft and more than 25,000 people from 26 nations.

On Saturday, China accused the USA of trespassing in its territorial waters in the South China Sea after the guided missile destroyer USS Hopper sailed within 12 nautical miles of Scarborough Shoal on Wednesday evening without China's permission.

Jim Mattis, US defence secretary, said: 'Freedom of navigation and access in the South China Sea will be critical to (Vietnam) economically, of course, and their security efforts'.

The Chinese seized the uninhabited reef from the Philippines in 2012.

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