At least 17 Chinese soldiers have died in an explosion at a weapon storage facility, state media said Wednesday.The blast Tuesday afternoon occurred in Hengyang city in central China's Hunan province as "soldiers were piling up ammunition", the official Xinhua news agency reported.
No cause for the explosion was given and authorities were investigating, it said.
In a separate incident involving the military earlier this month, a Chinese navy plane crashed on a training mission over the eastern coastal province of Zhejiang, Xinhua reported at the time. It was not clear if there were any casualties.
China has the world's largest standing army, with 2.3 million troops.The country has boosted military spending at double-digit percentage rates for more than a decade as it seeks to modernise its armed forces.It will be decades before China rivals the United States as a military superpower, but its spending has caused Asian neighbours to boost their own military budgets as well. Beijing, June 18, (AFP)