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China denies N.K. troop plan

BEIJING (AFP) ― China has denied it is in discussions with North Korea about stationing Chinese troops over the border in the isolated state, state media reported Monday.

“China will not send a single soldier to other countries without the approval of the U.N.,” an official at the Defense Ministry, who refused to be named, was quoted as saying by the official Global Times newspaper.

The Chosun Ilbo, a South Korean newspaper, on Saturday cited an official at the presidential Blue House as saying that Beijing and Pyongyang had discussed details of stationing Chinese soldiers in the North’s city of Raseon.

The anonymous official said the soldiers would protect China’s port facilities in the city, and a senior security official was quoted as saying it would also allow China to intervene in case of North Korean instability.

Chinese troops have not been based in the North since 1994, when Beijing withdrew from the Military Armistice Commission that supervises the truce that ended the 1950-53 Korean war.

The Chinese Defense Ministry official said there were only a few conditions under which Chinese troops could be stationed abroad, such as peacekeeping missions and disaster rescue efforts approved by the U.N.