Beijing: China has rejected reports of the presence of upto 11,000 of its troops in the Gilgit area of Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir (PoK), saying that such “groundless” reports were being put out with “ulterior motives” to hurt Beijing’s ties with New Delhi and Islamabad.
“We believe the attempts of some people to fabricate stories to provoke China-Pakistan or China-India relations are doomed to fail,” said Foreign Ministry spokesperson Jiang Yu in a brief statement late Wednesday night, which was circulated by the state run Xinhua news agency.
The comment came in response to a report in the New York Times (NYT) on August 28 that China had deployed more than 10,000 troops in the Gilgit-Baltistan region of Pakistan.
The text of the statement was not available on the Foreign Ministry website. China is issuing stapled visas to those travelling to the country from the Jammu and Kashmir region, on the ground that it was “disputed” and had declined to give visa to Indian Army’s Northern Command chief, Lt. Gen. B S Jaswal to join a military delegation for a high-level visit.
The visa denial to the General prompted India to put off all military exchanges with China in protest until the issue gets resolved.
The denial of Chinese troops presence came from Pakistan Ambassador to China, Masood Khan on Wednesday, who while refuting reports said that ‘a humanitarian team’ from China is present in the Gilgit area to assist the flood victims.
“The story is not true and totally fabricated,” he told Chinese state run Global Times daily.
Khan said there are no Chinese troops in the area, but a humanitarian team from China is currently there to carry out relief operations.
The NYT report attributed the military presence to China’s plans to gain a “grip on the strategic area to ensure unfettered road and rail access to the Gulf through Pakistan.”