US says China upgraded spy facilities in Cuba in 2019

By Anadolu Agency

China has long been operating surveillance operations in Cuba, the Biden administration said Monday after a report suggested Beijing and Havana reached a deal to station a listening post on the island nation.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said China upgraded its intelligence collection facilities in Cuba in 2019, and after President Joe Biden came to office in January 2021 his administration determined “we weren’t making enough progress on this issue, and we needed a more direct approach.”

“We’ve been executing on that approach quietly, carefully, but in our judgment, with results ever since. I can’t get into every step that we’ve taken, but the strategy begins with diplomacy. We’ve engaged governments that are considering hosting PRC bases at high levels,” he said, referring to China by its formal acronym.

Those efforts, Blinken said, have “slowed down” China’s efforts to expand its military and intelligence footprint worldwide, which the US continues to “carefully” monitor.

“We remain confident that we are able to meet all of our security commitments both at home and in the region,” he added.

The Wall Street Journal newspaper reported last week that Cuba agreed to host a Chinese listening post in exchange for billions of dollars. The report was quickly denied in Havana and Beijing, as well as in Washington where it was called inaccurate by the Biden administration.

The White House continued to maintain the point under questioning from reporters Monday.

“The original reporting, as we said, was inaccurate,” National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said.

“Clearly there’s a source or sources out there that think it’s somehow beneficial to put this kind of information into the public stream, and it’s absolutely not, and there’s a limit even now, to what we can say about our knowledge of these activities,” he added.