China has operated a spy base in Cuba since at least 2019, as part of an overall effort by Beijing to improve its intelligence capabilities. A Biden administration official said: The US intelligence community has long been aware of China’s efforts to orchestrate intelligence-gathering operations around the world. The White House has stepped up efforts to counter Chinese pressure to expand its spying operations and believes it has made some progress through diplomacy and other unspecified measures. The existence of a Chinese spy base was confirmed after The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that Beijing and Havana had reached an agreement to build an electronic listening station on the island. The newspaper reported that China plans to pay billions of dollars to cash-strapped Cuba as part of the negotiations. But the White House called the report inaccurate.
“I saw that press report, it’s inaccurate,” White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said in an interview with MSNBC on Thursday. “What I can say is that we have been concerned since day one of this administration about China’s influential activities around the world; certainly in this hemisphere and in this region, we are watching it very closely.” The administration official said the US intelligence community has determined that Chinese spying from Cuba is an “ongoing” issue and “not a new development.”
Cuba’s Deputy Foreign Minister Carlos Fernandez de Cossio also refuted the report, saying: “Dirty speculation continues, and it is clear that some media are promoting it to cause harm and annoyance without noticing minimal patterns of communication and without providing data or evidence to support what they publish.”
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