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Foreign AffairsThe White House has questioned the report on the establishment of a Chinese intelligence center in Cuba

The White House has questioned the report on the establishment of a Chinese intelligence center in Cuba

A White House spokesman has questioned a Wall Street Journal report that China had entered into a secret deal with Cuba to set up an electronic intelligence center on an island about 100 miles off the coast of Florida. The Cuban government also denied the information published Thursday by the Wall Street Journal.

The possible deployment of such a center in Cuba would allow Beijing to intercept communications in the southeastern United States, where many American military bases are located, as well as to monitor the movement of ships, the newspaper said. , citing unnamed sources in the US intelligence community. .

US Central Command Headquarters is based in West Florida, Tampa. The largest US military base, Fort Liberty (formerly Fort Bragg) is located in North Carolina, which may also be within reach of technical means from Cuban territory.

According to the publication’s sources, China agreed with Cuba to build an intelligence center in exchange for “several billion dollars”.

“We have seen this post. (The information) is not correct,” White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said on Thursday. However, Kirby did not specify what he considered inappropriate in an article published by the Wall Street Journal.

The United States has “genuine concerns” about China’s relationship with Cuba, Kirby said, and Washington is watching its development closely.

“We had real concerns about China’s relationship with Cuba, and from day one of the administration we have been concerned about China’s activities in our hemisphere and around the world,” a spokesperson for the agency said. the White House.

Brigadier General Patrick Ryder, spokesman for the US Department of Defense, said: “We have no information that China and Cuba are developing a new type of station to intercept information.”

Cuban Deputy Foreign Minister Carlos Fernandez de Cossio called the publication “completely false and unfounded”, calling it “American fiction” intended to justify years of economic embargo imposed by Washington against the island . He said that Cuba rejects any foreign military presence in Latin America and the Caribbean.

A spokesperson for the Chinese Embassy in Washington declined to comment on the post, citing a lack of information about it.

According to the newspaper, the agreement between the two rival communist-led countries of the United States has raised concerns in the administration of President Joe Biden, creating a new threat off the United States.

The publication’s callers declined to provide further details on the station’s proposed location or whether construction has begun.

Sen. Mark Warner, chairman of the select committee on intelligence, and Sen. Marco Rubio, vice chairman of the select committee, released a statement saying they were “deeply concerned” about the release. The senators called on the Biden administration to “take action to prevent this grave threat to our national security and sovereignty.”

A former US intelligence official said on condition of anonymity that a Chinese wiretapping center could be a problem. This will extend Beijing’s spying capabilities by giving China access to electronic intelligence all the way to Washington.

If such a facility is built, the Chinese will use Cuba “as a staging area for intelligence gathering against the United States,” said Daniel Hoffman, a former senior CIA official.

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