China’s Defense Ministry on Friday denied reports that Chinese troops were massing on the North Korean border, ahead of a possible fifth North Korean nuclear test, saying its deployments there were normal.
The Hong Kong-based Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy said earlier this week that China had sent 2,000 troops to the border, a story picked up by Russian and Iranian news outlets, among others.
The decision was made ahead of the expected testing of North Korea’s fifth nuclear device, the report said, in violation of U.N. sanctions.
“The relevant report does not accord with the facts,” the Defense Ministry said in a short statement. “The Chinese military maintains normal combat readiness and training on the China-North Korea border.”
It did not elaborate.
Reports periodically surface about unusual troops movements on the border, which are hard to verify independently and generally quickly denied by the Chinese government.
North Korea has vowed to conduct further nuclear tests, despite stepped up international sanctions.