AT News Report
KABUL: China’s Defense Ministry defended military cooperation with Tajikistan following a report of a sizable Chinese troop presence at a base in the Central Asian state.
Ministry spokesman Ren Guoqiang told reporters at a monthly briefing that cooperation between the two was “in line with” international law and related resolutions passed by the United Nations Security Council, the Associated Press said in a report.
“This cooperation benefits the two countries, their two militaries and regional peace and stability,” Ren said.
However, Ren said there was no Chinese presence in the adjacent Wakhan Corridor belonging to Afghanistan, in line with earlier denials of any plans to deploy troops to the war-torn nation with which it shares a narrow border.
Wakhan Corridor is a narrow strip of territory in northeastern Afghanistan that extends to China and separates Tajikistan from Pakistan and Gilgit-Baltistan.
According to the report, China had apparently sought to keep its Tajikistan base manned by members of the paramilitary People’s Armed Police a secret.
The area borders China’s restive Xinjiang region, where Beijing has deployed a massive security presence following violent attacks by Muslim separatists in past years.