In a move that is reminiscent of the Cold War era, China is working with Cuba to establish a spy base on the island in order to gather intelligence about the U.S.
Beijing had been in talks with Havannah about establishing the base, but it was reported on Thursday that the two countries had reached a "secret agreement" to proceed with establishing the Chinese base. Hours after news of the agreement had been announced, however, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby denied the report saying that it was incorrect.
The agreement between China and Cuba had been arranged for "several billion dollars" and would allow Beijing to enhance its ability to intercept communications to and from American military bases in the southeast United States, as Cuba lies only 100 miles away from the U.S. mainland.
The reports currently available regarding the matter only site anonymous U.S. officials and China has not commented on the purported base, however, a Cuban official indicated that the reports are simply part of a smear campaign by Washington.
Cuban diplomate Jose Cabanas posted a report from the Wall Street Journal to Twitter and wrote, "Sorry guys, you are not recovered yet from "sonic attacks" and "20,000 troops in Venezuela" fiasco and you are trying to demonize Cuba again. Don't you feel shame from time to time?"
Meanwhile, Kirby said during a White House press briefing that "We have seen the report. It's not accurate." Despite claiming that the report was inaccurate, Kirby did not clarify which parts were incorrect. He went on to note that the U.S. had had "real concerns" regarding China's relationship with Cuba and reiterated that the government was closely monitoring the situation.
Reports of the Chinese spy base come amid tense U.S.-China relations which entered a downward spiral after a U.S. military aircraft shot down a Chinese spy balloon over U.S. territory in February.