China rejects reports on building military base in Afghanistan’s Wakhan Corridor

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BISHKEK (TCA) — The Chinese Foreign Ministry on August 29 denied media reports stating that Beijing was constructing a military base in Afghanistan to combat terrorism, Russia’s Sputnik news agency reported.

“These reports are not true,” Hua Chunying, China’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman told at a briefing.

On August 28, the South China Morning Post newspaper reported, citing sources, that China had started building a training camp for Afghan servicemen to support Afghanistan’s counterterrorism efforts.

According to the newspaper, the rumored base in an isolated Wakhan Corridor in northeastern Afghanistan is said to be fully funded by Beijing.

In February, Afghan Defense Ministry deputy spokesman Mohammad Radmanesh stated that Chinese and Afghan officials were discussing the construction of a base in Wakhan Corridor, a remote mountainous strip that is isolated from the rest of Afghanistan.

Nevertheless, a Chinese embassy official in Kabul was scarce on providing details on the project, saying only that Beijing was engaged in “capacity-building” in Afghanistan.

There are signs of a growing Chinese military interest in Central Asia.

Beijing seeks to increase its military influence in Central Asia and Afghanistan, primarily to ensure security in China’s northwestern Xinjiang-Uyghur region and secure its investments as part of the Belt and Road Initiative in the wider Central and South Asian region.

Sergey Kwan

TCA