According to a June 20 report by the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), which cites current and former U.S. officials, China and Cuba are planning to establish a new joint military training facility on the island, a move that could see Chinese troops deployed just 100 miles off the coast of Florida.
Following the report, a Biden administration official said the U.S., “Can’t confirm on that reporting or comment on that specifically. We continue to be concerned about [China’s] longstanding activities with Cuba,” adding that Beijing “will keep trying to enhance its presence in Cuba, and we will keep working to disrupt it,” POLITICO reported.
Chinese officials were quick to declare the reporting inaccurate saying that the regime is not aware of any negotiations with Cuba to establish a joint military training facility on the island.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Mao Ning, when asked about the reported plans said, “I am not aware of the situation you have mentioned. We hope that the parties concerned will put more effort into things that are conducive to enhancing mutual trust and the peaceful and stable development of the region.”
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The WSJ report comes after Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Communist China’s leader Xi Jinping on Monday, the first such meeting in five years.
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While both Blinken and Xi said their talks were constructive, no clear deliverables were identified and China reportedly refused to reestablish military-to-military communications, something Washington was seeking.
Blinken told reporters on Monday, “I think it’s absolutely vital that we have these kinds of communications, military to military. That imperative, I think, was only underscored by recent incidents that we saw in the air, on the seas.”
Last week, the U.S. admitted that China had established a spy base on Cuba that has been operating since at least 2019.
On June 8, the WSJ, citing “U.S. officials familiar with highly classified intelligence” and whose names were withheld, claimed that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) had recently struck a multi-billion-dollar deal with Cuba to set up an electronic listening post on the island.
China’s intent is to eavesdrop on “electronic communications throughout the southeastern U.S., where many military bases are located, and monitor U.S. ship traffic,” the report states.
Former Trump administration officials said that they were unaware of the establishment of a Chinese spy base on Cuba in 2019, however former Defense Secretary Mark Esper said he “would not be surprised” if China did so, POLITICO reported.