China’s Defense Ministry denies plan to build military base in Afghanistan

January 25, 2018 8:17 am
’s Defense Ministry spokesman Wu Qian
China’s Defense Ministry has rejected as “groundless” reports circulating in the media that it is planning to build a base in .
Defense Ministry spokesman Wu Qian said Thursday that security cooperation between China and Afghanistan was continuing on its normal path and there was no plan for an upgrade in interactions.
“The so-called issue that China is building a military base in Afghanistan is groundless,” Wu said.
He added Beijing and Kabul had normal security cooperation and that China’s policy was to support Afghanistan in defense and counter-terrorism.
The remarks came after reports in US magazine The Diplomat and local media in China that Beijing was planning to build a base in northern Afghanistan. The outlets had picked up the report from a Russian agency that focuses on Central .
Wu had earlier denied similar claims about China’s intensified military activities in Afghanistan, saying there was no Chinese military vehicle patrolling inside the war-torn country as reported in the media.
China is especially sensitive to security in Afghanistan as it fears a spillover of violence to its restive Xinjiang region in the west.
China has been part of an initiative to hold peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban, the group that has regained territories in the north and east of the country some 17 years after it was toppled through a US-led invasion. The United States and Pakistan also contribute to the talks.
China, as an emerging military superpower, has largely avoided establishing military bases overseas like the US. However, one such base was inaugurated in Djibouti, in the Horn of Africa region, last year.
Washington says Beijing has unannounced plans for other similar bases in other locations in the near future, including in Pakistan.
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