U.S. intelligence agencies have confirmed that China has been conducting espionage activities from a spy base in Cuba, a senior Biden administration official told Politico on Saturday.
The Biden administration blamed its predecessors in the Trump administration for the Chinese spy base located in Cuba.
“When this administration took office in January 2021, we were briefed on a number of sensitive PRC [People’s Republic of China] efforts around the world to expand its overseas logistics, basing, and collection infrastructure globally to allow the [military] to project and sustain military power at greater distance,” the official said.
The Biden official provided details on Chinese intelligence activities in Cuba that took place under the Trump administration.
“This effort included the presence of PRC intelligence collection facilities in Cuba,” the official confirmed. “In fact, the PRC conducted an upgrade of its intelligence collection facilities in Cuba in 2019. This is well-documented in the intelligence record.”
The official also said that the intelligence community is working to disrupt the Chinese intelligence operations.
“We think the PRC isn’t quite where they had hoped to be,” the official said.
“The PRC will keep trying to enhance its presence in Cuba, and we will keep working to disrupt it.”
Two prominent senators issued a bipartisan statement condemning the CCP’s intelligence operations.
“The United States must respond to China’s ongoing and brazen attacks on our nation’s security. We must be clear that it would be unacceptable for China to establish an intelligence facility within 100 miles of Florida and the United States, in an area also populated with key military installations and extensive maritime traffic,” Sens. Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) they said.
Earlier last week, The Wall Street Journal, followed by Politico and other news outlets, reported that China and Cuba were in discussions to establish a new spy base on the island. However, the White House and the Pentagon initially dismissed the reports as inaccurate without providing further details.
The primary objective of the spy base was reported to be intercepting electronic communications, known as signals intelligence, from American networks across the southeastern United States.
China is said to have offered Cuba several billion dollars to host this spy base, and both communist nations have tentatively agreed to the deal.
The establishment of a signals intelligence operating base in Cuba would grant China, the US’s primary military and political rival, unprecedented access to vital information that could be utilized to undermine US interests.
Cuba, located only 100 miles from Florida, which houses 21 US military bases including the headquarters of US Central Command, could serve as a strategic location for monitoring shipping traffic in the Caribbean.
President Biden expressed hopes of a thaw in US-China relations in May, and Secretary of State Antony Blinken is expected to hold meetings with Chinese Communist Party leader Xi Jinping and other officials in China.
This visit had been postponed from February due to the Chinese spy balloon incident.