There “is no evidence” at this time of any significant troop movements along the Chinese-North Korean border, despite reports suggesting otherwise, the Department of Defense told The Daily Caller News Foundation Monday.
Multiple media outlets are reporting that China has deployed 150,000 troops to the border for “unforeseen contingencies” believed to be the possibility of a U.S. pre-emptive strike on North Korea, such as the one President Donald Trump ordered on Syria last Thursday.
U.S. Pacific Command refused to comment on foreign troop movements; however, they did tell TheDCNF that the first they had heard of Chinese troop movements along the border was when a reporter called for comment.
China’s foreign ministry called such reports “pure fiction,” with Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Hua Chunying saying, “I have no idea where these reports are coming from.”
The story originated with South Korea’s Chosun Ilbo, which cited a Japanese newspaper and reported that there were “rumors” Chinese troops — medical and support units — were sent out to deal with a potential North Korean refugee crisis and other possible problems that might arise from a contingency on the Korean Peninsula. The report also suggested that China mobilized submarine and ground troops, but so far there has been no evidence to corroborate this report.
There are thousands of Chinese troops normally stationed in the area; however, there is no evidence at this time to suggest that their numbers have been bolstered by additional troops.
Media outlets have, in the past, reported that China has moved more troops to the border after various incidents, such as the assassination of Kim Jong-un’s brother Kim Jong-nam. At that time, reports suggested that China moved 1,000 additional troops to the area, and while that may have been possible, the movement of an additional 150,000 troops in an area where where war could break out at any time is unlikely to go undetected by U.S. defense departments and U.S. allies in Asia.
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