Blinken: US working to counteract Chinese spying in Cuba

Washington, Jun 12 (EFE).- US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Monday that the Joe Biden administration has a strategy for counteracting Chinese spying from a base in Cuba and in other countries, noting that the strategy is giving good results.

Saying that Biden had instructed his administration officials to deal with this challenge, Blinken said that is exactly what they proceeded to do.

“We’ve been executing on that approach quietly, carefully – but, in our judgment, with results – ever since. I can’t get into every step that we’ve taken, but the strategy begins with diplomacy,” Blinken said at a Washington press conference with Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani.

“Our experts assess that our diplomatic efforts have slowed down this effort by the PRC,” the US official said.

Blinken’s remarks come after last Thursday The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported that China and Cuba had agreed to build a big spy base on the island, a report that Havana categorically denied and which the White House called “not accurate.”

Blinken said that when Biden took office in January 2021, his administration discovered that China for some time had been expanding its spying activities around the world and, in fact, in 2019 had expanded its US-targeted intelligence-gathering operations in Cuba.

According to the secretary of state, the preceding Donald Trump administration “weren’t making enough progress” in counteracting that espionage, and so Biden ordered a “more direct strategy” to be implemented.

The top US diplomat said he did not want to provide further details about the plan, but he added that it is based on “diplomacy” and that Washington has made contact with the governments that are hosting Chinese spying activities.

Blinken also said that the Biden government is continuing to “closely monitor” Chinese espionage in Cuba.

After the publication of the WSJ article, the White House declassified information confirming that China had already established a spying center in Cuba in 2019 and a top official said that this is a problem the Biden administration had “inherited” from Trump.

Cuba’s deputy foreign minister, Carlos Fernandez de Cossio, said that the WSJ report was “slanderous speculation,” lies and falsehoods being used by Washington to justify US sanctions against Cuba and to destabilize the communist island.

“The slanderous speculation continues, evidently promoted by certain media to cause harm and alarm without observing minimum patterns of communication and without providing data or evidence to support what they disseminate,” he wrote on Twitter on Saturday.

Meanwhile, the Chinese government accused the US of spreading “rumors and lies,” adding that “The US is the global champion of hacking and superpower of surveillance.”

Blinken’s remarks come ahead of his scheduled visit to Beijing later this week.

EFE –/bp

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