According to a new report from The Wall Street Journal, China and Cuba are negotiating to build a new joint military training facility on the island, raising concerns in Washington that this could result in the stationing of Chinese troops and other security and intelligence operations just 100 miles off the coast of Florida.
U.S. intelligence reports indicate that discussions for the facility on Cuba’s northern coast are at an advanced stage but have not yet concluded.
The Biden administration has reached out to Cuban officials in an effort to thwart the agreement, hoping to tap into what it believes to be Cuban concerns regarding the transfer of sovereignty.
Beijing’s efforts to establish a military training center in Cuba have not previously been reported.
White House officials have reportedly declined to comment on the latest report.
New, highly classified U.S. intelligence contains references to the proposed new training facility in Cuba, according to U.S. officials, who described it as convincing but fragmentary.
Policymakers and intelligence analysts are interpreting it with varying degrees of alarm.
According to current and former U.S. officials, a new military facility could provide China with a platform to potentially station soldiers on the island permanently and expand its intelligence collection, including electronic eavesdropping, against the United States.
According to U.S. officials, China and Cuba already jointly operate four eavesdropping stations on the island.
According to the officials, this network underwent a significant enhancement around 2019, when a single station expanded into a network of four jointly operated sites and Chinese involvement increased.
In recent months, U.S.-China relations have deteriorated due to issues such as a Chinese surveillance balloon that flew over the United States before the U.S. military shot it down and tense encounters between the nations’ militaries in the air and on the water.