China denies troop presence in PoK; says won`t interfere in JK

China said it had no intention to interfere in the Kashmir issue as it dismissed reports of presence of up to 11,000 PLA troops in Gilgit in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir.

Updated: Sep 02, 2010, 21:04 PM IST

Beijing: China on Thursday said it had no
intention to interfere in the Kashmir issue as it dismissed
reports of presence of up to 11,000 PLA troops in Gilgit in
Pakistan Occupied Kashmir, but made it clear that it was not
reviewing its stance on stapled visas to Kashmiris.

"As a neighbour and friend of both countries, China
believes that the (Kashmir) issue should be left to the two
countries so that it could be properly handled through
dialogue and consultation," Chinese Foreign Ministry
spokesperson Jiang Yu told a media briefing.

Clarifying on the Kashmir issue, the spokesperson
said, "About Kashmir issue our position is that we believe it
is an issue left over from history between India and
Pakistan".

She rejected reports that up to 11,000 soldiers of the
Peoples Liberation Army were in Gilgit in northern Kashmir,
saying: "The story that China has deployed its military in
northern part of Pakistan is totally groundless and out of
ulterior purpose".

Her comments came in response to a New York Times
opinion piece last week which said that 11,000 PLA men had
been deployed in Gilgit-Baltistan area to build up its rail
and road access to the warm waters of the Persian Gulf.

The report said that the troops had been deployed to
safeguard the project as well as use them for working on the
railway link across the Karakorams.

"Some people are fabricating reports to destroy
relations between China, Pakistan and India. But their efforts
will get nowhere," Jiang said.

Asked whether China would review the policy to issue
stapled visas to people of Jammu and Kashmir, she said "about
our visa policy toward inhabitants in the Indian controlled
Kashmir region the policy is consistent and stays unchanged".

Her reference to "inhabitants of Jammu and Kashmir"
left doubts whether the same policy was applied to areas of
Kashmir under control of Pakistan, where China is reportedly
undertaking several developmental projects.

She declined to take further questions on the subject
when clarifications were sought about her reference to Gilgit
as "northern part of Pakistan" without mentioning its disputed
status.

"May be you want me to repeat. I have made our
position very clear," she said.

The spokesperson as well as the Chinese Ministry of
National Defence said Beijing had not suspended bilateral
military exchanges with India nor received any report from New
Delhi about any suspension.

PTI