Over the weekend, new information from Biden administration officials revealed that China has been operating a spy base in Cuba since 2019 as part of a global effort by the Chinese Communist government (CCP) to strengthen its intelligence-gathering capabilities.
The anonymous officials said that the United States intelligence community has been aware of China’s spying from Cuba and the effort by Bejing to create intelligence-gathering operations internationally.
The Biden administration has increased efforts to stop the Chinese push to strengthen its spying capabilities and thinks it has made some progress through diplomacy and other unspecified means.
The discovery of the Chinese spy base was confirmed after The Wall Street Journal reported last week that China and Cuba agreed to build an electronic eavesdropping station on the island, paying the Cuban government billions of dollars as part of the negotiations.
Speaking to MSNBC last week, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said the press report was not “accurate.”
“What I can tell you is that we have been concerned since day one of this administration about China’s influence activities around the world; certainly, in this hemisphere and in this region, we are watching this very, very closely,” Kirby said.
The administration officials said that the US intelligence community determined Chinese spying from Cuba as an “ongoing” matter and is “not a new development.”
On Saturday, Cuban Deputy Foreign Minister Carlos Fernández de Cossío refuted the report stating, “the slanderous speculation continues, evidently promoted by certain media to cause harm and alarm without observing minimum patterns of communication and without providing data or evidence to support what they disseminate.”
Following President Biden’s inauguration in 2020, his national security team has been briefed about China, including its international presence, intelligence gathering operations, and military buildup.
According to reports, US officials say China is trying to expand in the Atlantic Ocean, Latin America, the Middle East, Central Asia, Africa, and the Indo-Pacific. Today, tensions between the two nations have been fraught, with American officials visiting Taiwan, which China claims as its own territory and seeks to take over.
Relations between Beijing and Washington became further strained early this year after America shot down a Chinese spy balloon that crossed the US. China has also been making inroads in the Middle East, mediating a deal between the Islamic Republic of Iran and Saudi Arabia, which officials say will have grave implications for America’s presence in the Middle East.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken planned to travel to China next week and expects to be in Beijing on June 18 for meetings with senior Chinese officials, according to American officials.
The State Department nor the Chinese foreign ministry has yet confirmed the trip.
In May, White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan met with his Chinese counterpart in Vienna, stating that the Biden White House wanted to improve-high level communications with Beijing.
US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin spoke with China’s minister of national defense, Li Shangfu, at the opening dinner of a security forum in Singapore.