China on Tuesday dismissed a report that Pakistan gave it access to an advanced US ‘stealth’ helicopter that crashed during the raid that killed Osama bin Laden in May.
During the May 2 raid, one of two Blackhawk helicopters, believed to use advanced stealth technology, crashed, forcing US commandos to abandon it. The Financial Times reported on Sunday that Pakistani authorities gave China access to the wreckage, despite CIA requests to Islamabad to keep the wreckage under wraps.
China’s ministry of defence denied this in a one-sentence statement, Beijing’s first public response to the report.
“This report is totally unfounded and extremely absurd,” said the statement on the ministry’s website.
Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate also earlier denied the report.
The Financial Times said Pakistan allowed Chinese intelligence officials to take pictures of the crashed helicopter and take samples of its special skin that helped the American raid evade Pakistani radar.
One US official, speaking on condition of anonymity, earlier told Reuters there was reason to believe Pakistan had allowed the Chinese to inspect the aircraft. But the official could not confirm with certainty that this had happened.
The surviving tail section of the downed helicopter was returned to the United States after a trip by US Senator John Kerry in May, a spokesman for the US embassy told Reuters.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 17th, 2011.