Chinese Troops In North Korea

China to station troops in N. Korea

Chinese troops in N.Korea
China is in discussions with North Korea about stationing its troops in the isolated state for the first time since 1994, a South Korean newspaper reported Saturday.
The Chosun Ilbo newspaper quoted an anonymous official at the presidential Blue House as saying that Beijing and Pyongyang recently discussed details of stationing Chinese soldiers in the North’s northeastern city of Rason.
The official said the soldiers would protect Chinese port facilities, but the location also gives access to the Sea of Japan (East Sea), while a senior security official was quoted as saying it would allow China to intervene in case of North Korean instability.
A spokeswoman for the Blue House said she had no information.
“North Korea and China have discussed the issue of stationing a small number of Chinese troops to protect China-invested port facilities” in the Rason special economic zone, the unnamed official was quoted as saying.
“The presence of Chinese troops is apparently to guard facilities and protect Chinese nationals.”
China reportedly gained rights in 2008 to use a pier at Rason, securing access to the Sea of Japan, as North Korea’s dependence on Beijing continues to grow amid a nuclear stand-off with the United States and its allies.
The last Chinese troops left the North in 1994, when China withdrew from the Military Armistice Commission that supervises the truce that ended the 1950-53 Korean war.
Seoul’s International Security Ambassador Nam Joo-Hong told the Chosun Ilbo that China could now send a large number of troops into the North in case of instability in the impoverished communist state.
“The worst scenario China wants to avoid is a possibly chaotic situation in its northeastern provinces which might be created by massive inflows of North Korean refugees,” Nam was quoted as saying.
“Its troops stationed in Rason would facilitate China’s intervention in case of contingencies in the North,” he said.

China denies sending troops to North Korea

China today vehemently refuted reports that it is sending troops to defend its close ally North Korea, asserting that it will not send a ”single soldier” without the approval of the United Nations.

“China will not send a single soldier to other countries without the approval of the UN,” an official at the Chinese Ministry of Defence told state-run Global Times here today.

There are several conditions under which Chinese troops will be stationed in other countries and that includes for peacekeeping missions and disaster rescue efforts approved by the UN, the spokesman said.

He was responding to a report by Seoul-based Chosun Ilbo newspaper quoted an anonymous official at the presidential Blue House as saying that China had stationed a small number of Chinese soldiers in Rason, northeast North Korea, after discussions with Pyongyang.

The South Korean official said the deployment of Chinese troops in North Korea was aimed at protecting China’s investment in port facilities and Chinese nationals, rather than for political or military purposes.

The report, coming ahead of tomorrow’s key visit of Chinese President Hu Jintao to Washington for talks with his US counterpart Barack Obama, had caused a sense of disquiet here in the light of a strong stand taken by Beijing over the number of military exercises being held by South Korea along with US troops in the Korean peninsula.

The exercises also unnerved North Korea, the close ally of China, which is calling for direct talks to ease tensions.

The precarious situation in the Korean peninsula was expected to figure high in the talks between Obama and Hu.

“China has neither the plan nor the conditions to deploy troops in other countries,” Zhang Zhaozhong, a military expert at the PLA National Defence University said.

Zhang said one major reason why South Korean media makes such reports is that “there are some people who are not comfortable with the diplomatic efforts being made by
China to ease tensions in Korean Peninsula, because those efforts make attempts to retaliate against North Korea much less likely”.

Chinese analysts disputed assertions by the South Korea report that this was the first time Beijing had sent troops to Pyongyang since 1994, when China supervised a truce between the two Koreas following the 1950-53 Korean War.

Gong Keyu, an expert on Korean affairs at the Shanghai Institutes for International Studies, told the Global Times that even back in 1994, those whom China sent to North Korea were “merely negotiators”.

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