China has active spy base in Cuba, says US official
A senior official in President Joe Biden’s administration has revealed that China has had an active spy base in Cuba since at least 2019. According to the official, the Beijing government has been attempting to establish intelligence gathering centers around the world. Although the US intelligence community has long been aware of China’s espionage activities in Cuba, the Biden government has intensified its measures to prevent China from expanding its operations. It believes that it has made some progress through diplomatic channels and other measures.
Chinese espionage confirmed
The existence of the Chinese spy base was confirmed after revelations that China and Cuba were in principle agreement to build an electronic intercept station on Cuban territory. However, both The Wall Street Journal and Cuban Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carlos Fernández de Cossío, deny the reports. Despite these denials, the US intelligence community remains convinced that Chinese espionage from Cuba is an “ongoing” issue and not a new fact.
Biden’s briefing on Chinese actions
When Biden took office in January 2021, his security team was briefed about the sensitive Chinese actions around the world where Beijing was considering expanding its logistics, bases, and collection infrastructure amid attempts by The People’s Liberation Army to expand its influence.
The scope of Chinese espionage activities
Chinese authorities examined sites spanning the Atlantic Ocean, Latin America, the Middle East, Central Asia, Africa, and the Indo-Pacific region. The effort included studying the current collection facilities in Cuba while China expanded its espionage activities on the island in 2019.
White House declassifies intelligence information
The White House declassified information from its intelligence services which reveals the scope of China’s alleged espionage activities in Cuba and in other parts of the world, with the creation of spy centers. This information shows that China’s efforts allegedly included “intelligence collection facilities” in Cuba, which can include everything from centers with dozens of spies to a simple listening post equipped with an antenna.
Tensions between the US and China increase
The tensions between the US and China have been high during the Biden government. Relations between the two countries hit their lowest level last year after then-Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan. The tensions increased when the US shot down a Chinese spy balloon that had crossed its territory. Beijing was also furious when Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen visited the US last month and met with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. Despite these tensions, the White House has shown willingness to resume high-level communications between the two countries.
Secretary of State to visit China
Antony Blinken, the Secretary of State, plans to travel to China next week, although the visit was cancelled previously when the balloon flew over the United States. Blinken is scheduled to meet with Chinese officials on June 18 in Beijing, according to US sources.