Havana described the reports based on statements made by unnamed US officials to the Wall Street Journal as “false and baseless,” while the White House considered them inaccurate.
When asked about the supposed base in a regular press briefing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said that he had “no knowledge” of the matter before criticizing US policy towards Cuba.
“As we all know, spreading rumors and slander is a common and patented tactic of the United States to deliberately interfere in other countries’ internal affairs,” he said.
“The United States must reflect on itself and stop interfering in Cuba’s internal affairs under the banner of freedom and democracy, and immediately cancel the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed on Cuba,” he added.
What did the American reports say?
- Reports indicated that the Chinese spy base would be able to eavesdrop on communications across large parts of the southeastern United States.
- The Wall Street Journal reported that Beijing and Havana had struck a secret deal to set up a Chinese electronic eavesdropping facility on the Caribbean island that could monitor communications across the southeastern United States.
- The newspaper quoted unnamed US officials as saying that China will pay Cuba “several billions of dollars” in exchange for the construction of the facility.
- Likewise, the American “CNN” channel quoted “sources close to the American intelligence” as saying that there was a similar agreement.
- The network reported that “the United States learned about this project during the past few weeks,” but “it is not yet confirmed whether China has started building the monitoring facility.”
The developments come as Chinese President Xi Jinping is rapidly expanding the country’s security presence around the world.
A base in Cuba, located 150 kilometers off the southern tip of Florida, would represent the most direct challenge yet to the continental United States.
Cuba .. a history of bases for espionage
The former Soviet Union set up spy facilities in communist Cuba to monitor the United States.
But in 1962, when Moscow moved to deploy its nuclear missiles in Cuba, the United States declared a blockade of the island in a crisis that threatened to spark a war between the two powers, until Moscow backed down.
Washington then moved its nuclear-capable missiles from Turkey, which the Soviets saw as a threat.
Earlier this year, China sent what Washington said was a high-altitude spy balloon across the United States that flew from west to east over sensitive military installations before being shot down by a US fighter.
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