According to a Biden administration official, a Chinese spy base in Cuba that can intercept electronic signals from nearby US military and commercial buildings has been established and operating since or before. 2019, when China’s base was upgraded.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive intelligence, said the base of espionage was an issue the Biden administration inherited from former President Donald J. Trump. After Biden took office, his administration was briefed on the base in Cuba as well as plans China was considering to build similar facilities globally, the official said.
the existence of agreement to build Chinese spy base in Cuba, which was first reported by The Wall Street Journal on Thursday and also reported by The New York Times and other news outlets, prompted a strong response from the Capitol. In a joint statement, Senator Mark Warner, Democrat of Virginia and Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, and Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, the committee’s top Republican, said they were “very concerned in light of reports that Havana and Beijing are working together to target the United States and our people.”
John Kirby, a spokesman for the National Security Council, denied the reports at the time, saying they were “inaccurate”. He added that “we are really concerned about China’s relationship with Cuba, and we have been concerned since Day One of China’s activities in our hemisphere and across the globe. Around the world.”
But a US official familiar with the intelligence cited in Thursday’s reports asserted that China and Cuba had reached an agreement to strengthen existing espionage capabilities.
Carlos F. de Cossio, Cuba’s Deputy Foreign Minister, wrote on Twitter on Saturday that the latest reports of spying facilities are “slanderous speculation”.
Some critics of the Biden administration in Congress have questioned the administration’s motives for its response.
“Why did the previous Biden administration deny these reports of a CCP spy facility in Cuba? Why did they lower the CCP’s ‘silly’ spy ball?” Representative Mike Gallagher of Wisconsin, the Republican chairman of the House selection committee that is considering strategic competition with China, said in a statement Saturday, referring to the initials of the Communist Party. China.
The Biden administration is working to counter China’s continued efforts to gain a foothold in the region and elsewhere, primarily by engaging diplomatically with countries it doesn’t, an administration official said. China is pursuing to become a potential host for such bases. The official added that the administration had slowed down China’s plan but declined to give specifics.
Although Beijing’s global efforts to build military bases and wiretapping outposts have been documented in the past, reports have detailed the extent to which China is taking its collection activities to the next level. Its intelligence is getting closer and closer to that of the United States. Cuba’s coastline is less than 100 miles from the nearest part of Florida, a distance close enough to enhance China’s technological ability to conduct signals intelligence, by monitoring communications. electronics throughout the southeastern United States, where many military bases are located.
China and the United States regularly monitor each other’s activities, and its proximity to Cuba has long made it a strategically valuable foothold for US adversaries, perhaps most famously. was during the Cold War, when the Soviet Union attempted to store nuclear missiles on the island nation during the Cold War. Cuban Missile Crisis.
China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman, Wang Wenbin, said Friday in response to reports, “The US is the global champion of hacking and surveillance superpower.”
The reports also come at an awkward time for the Biden administration, which is trying to normalize relations with China after a prolonged period of heightened tensions. Last year, some diplomatic, military and climate engagements between the two countries were frozen after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan in the face of objections from Beijing, which considers the self-ruled island to be a self-governing island. part of its territory.
High-level meetings, including an official visit by Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken, were canceled again earlier this year, after a Chinese spy balloon was seen flying by locals. over the United States and watched it hover near sensitive military sites.
Blinken is currently scheduled to travel to Beijing for a meeting on June 18, and it is unclear whether revelations of a Chinese spy facility near US territory could complicate those plans. Other issues hovering during the trip, including increasing calls let China release Yao Dong, a well-known journalist has been detained since February last year and is awaiting trial on charges of espionage which members of his family say are untrue. Mr. Dong, Nieman’s former graduate student at Harvard, has been transparently meeting for years with American and Japanese diplomats and journalists in Beijing.