On Tuesday, The Wall Street Journal reported that China is in talks with the Cuban government to establish a joint military training center on the island 90 miles from the U.S.
The two governments are in advanced negotiations regarding the training facility, which would reportedly be in northern Cuba, and is alarming U.S. officials as concerns rise that the facility could lead to the permanent presence of Chinese troops on the island. The Biden administration is attempting to intervene with Cuban officials, according to ZeroHedge.
There are also concerns that China's espionage capabilities and activities would be expanded given the proposed center's close proximity to the U.S. The news of the joint military training facility comes a week after widespread reports that China was seeking to establish a spy base in Cuba before the Biden administration admitted that China has had a spy base in Cuba since at least 2019.
While the WSJ article is based on anonymous U.S. intelligence documents and sources, it emphasizes that U.S. intelligence is also uncertain regarding the possible joint military training facility writing:
U.S. officials said reference to the proposed new training facility in Cuba is contained in highly classified new U.S. intelligence, which they describe d as convincing but fragmentary. It is being interpreted with different levels of alarm among policy makers and intelligence analysts.
The WSJ added that Cuba already has 4 jointly run stations on the island, saying:
Most worrying for the U.S.: The planned facility is part of China's "Project 141," an initiative by the People's Liberation Army to expand its global military base and logistical support network, one curent and one former U.S. official said.
China and Cuba already jointly run four eavesdropping stations on teh isalnd, according to U.S. officials. That network underwent a significant upgrade around 2019, when a single station expanded to a network of four sites that are operated jointly, and Chinese involvement deepend, according to the officials.
Cuba views Cuba as 'fair game' given the United States' long-running involvement with and presence in Taiwan. Washington already has an immense network of military and intelligence infrastructure not only on Taiwan but also spread across the South China Sea and the U.S. is continuing to expand its regional infrastructure.
Beijing views its involvement with the self-governed island of Cuba as an equivalent of Washington's involvement in Taiwan, which like Cuba to the U.S., sits right off China's coast. The U.S. has deployed more than 100 troops to Taiwan to train its defense forces and has invested heavily in arming Taiwan.
While China is beginning to use Cuba the way the U.S. has utilized Taiwan, it is still behind in terms of military installations in the area. While the U.S. has dozens of military bases in the Pacific and more than 350,000 troops stationed in the region, China has no combat forces in Latin America.
While officials in Washington express their discontent at China's expansion near U.S. territory, officials in Beijing are quick to point to the hypocrisy of the matter with its lack of bases, troops, and other infrastructure relative to that of the U.S.
In an effort to reassure China that the U.S. continues to stand behind its One China policy, the Secretary of State told Chinese President Xi Jinping at the end of his 2-day visit to Beijing, "We do not support Taiwan independence."
Despite Blinken's assurances, little progress was made during his trip with Xi still refusing to engage in direct military communication with Washington and Beijing giving a clear warning that the U.S. needs to choose between "cooperation or conflict."