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China confirms participation in naval drill in Pacific

BEIJING, March 24 (Xinhua) -- China has confirmed it will send military vessels to participate in a multinational naval drill in the Pacific, a spokesperson said on Thursday.

"The United States has offered an official invitation to China to join in the RIMPAC-2016 joint exercise, and China has confirmed it will send military ships to take part in the drill," Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said at a regular news briefing.

"China and the U.S. are in close communication and coordination," Hua said.

Her comments came after U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said Tuesday the U.S. is "reassessing" China's participation and that "China is, self-isolating... that's why all these partners are coming to us."

As an open, progressing country and with friendly policies to its neighbors, China has expanded its circle of friends, Hua said.

"When it comes to 'isolating', do the U.S. remarks expose their motives to form cliques to isolate China? This would neither be constructive nor realistic," she said.

China and the U.S. need to and can work on many things together, she said. "Mutual respect and win-win cooperation between China and the U.S. serves the interests of the people of both countries and will be conducive to peace, stability and development in Asia Pacific and the world at large."

The U.S.-led RIMPAC, starting in 1971, is the world's largest multinational maritime military exercise, involving some 20 countries every two years. China participated in the drill for the first time in 2014 with four military ships and about 1,100 soldiers on board.

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