Pakistan’s ambassador to China, Masood Khan, has denied reports that thousands of Chinese soldiers are posted in Pakistan occupied Kashmir.
“The story is not true. It is totally fabricated,” Khan told the Global Times on Tuesday, in reference to a New York Times report. Khan was quoted saying that only a ‘humanitarian team’ from China is conducting rescue and medical aid in Pakistan’s flood-affected areas.
The NYT report claimed that 7,000-11,000 soldiers of the People’s Liberation Army are posted in the Gilgit-Baltistan region where China is helping Pakistan build road and rail infrastructure.
“The report obviously rattled nerves in India,” said the Global Times. India’s external affairs ministry has said it will investigate the claims about Chinese troops in the region, but Beijing has not issued an official reaction to the report.
The Global Times quoted a Chinese analyst downplaying the report. “Building a rail and road in the region faces
technical difficulties, and even if China has such a plan, it will be most likely for considerations of economy and energy and will not pose a threat to any other countries,” said Zhao Gancheng, director of South Asia Studies at the Shanghai Institute for International Studies.