Conflict & Justice

China denies inspecting SEAL stealth chopper in Pakistan


Pakistani boys collect debris at the site of the crashed helicopter outside the luxury compound that hid Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad on May 3, 2011.


Aamir Qureshi

China has dismissed U.S. claims that it gained access to the wreckage of a top-secret stealth helicopter used in the U.S. commando raid that killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan.

The Chinese defense ministry described the reports, printed first in The Financial Times and The New York Times, as "groundless and preposterous", according to the Guardian newspaper.

"Those reports are entirely groundless and very ridiculous," the Chinese defense ministry said in a statement, as reported by the BBC.

Citing unidentified U.S. officials, the reports said Pakistan allowed Chinese engineers to inspect the wreckage of the aircraft which crashed in Bin Laden's compound and had to be destroyed by the commandos.

A large section of the tail remained intact, showing what appeared to be rounded anti-radar edges and coating.

Pakistan was furious over the raid, which it saw as a gross violation of its sovereignty, but had promised the Obama administration it would not allow officials from any other country to inspect the wreckage.

A Pakistani intelligence official told the Guardian the allegations of Chinese access to the debris were "baseless" and "counterproductive in building relations."

U.S.-Pakistan relations hit a new low after the raid. In the days that followed, the Pakistani leadership made a highly publicized trip to Beijing in a not-so-subtle reminder that the United States was not its only ally.