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China, Cuba in talks on opening military training site, says WSJ report

CHINA and Cuba are discussing building a joint military training facility on the island, according to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), a report that comes after the White House earlier said Beijing has spy facilities on the island about 145 km (90 miles) from the US.

The two countries were holding advanced talks about opening the facility in northern Cuba, the newspaper on Tuesday cited US officials as saying, adding that it could pave the way for Beijing to station troops there permanently and expand espionage activities.

The US was in contact with Cuban officials about preventing the plans from going forward, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing US officials.

China’s Foreign Ministry didn’t immediately respond to a request from Bloomberg News for comment. The US and Cuban embassies in Beijing didn’t reply to similar requests.

Earlier this month, a senior US official said in a statement issued on the condition of anonymity because of the matter’s sensitivity that intelligence indicated China has long maintained espionage facilities in Cuba and that they were expanded in 2019.

The White House had pushed back days earlier on a report in the Wall Street Journal that China and Cuba had reached a secret agreement to establish a spy facility on the island. The administration’s position is there’s been no new deal, and the facilities have been in place for years.

The bases would allow Chinese intelligence services to eavesdrop on electronic communications throughout the southeastern US, where many military bases are located, and monitor ship traffic, according to the report. — Bloomberg

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