HONOLULU: The US intends to ask China to send a ship to join the world's largest maritime exercises for the first time in Hawaiian waters in two years.    

The Navy will invite the Asian nation to send a ship to the 2014 Rim of the Pacific exercises, US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta told reporters in Beijing on Wednesday. China sent military observers to watch the drills in 1998 but has never sent a vessel.

Panetta said he discussed ways to extend cooperation between the two militaries during a meeting with China's national defence minister, Gen Liang Guanglie.

The defence secretary noted that China and the US participated this week in an exercise to counter pirates in the Gulf of Aden between Somalia and Yemen.—AP

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