China’s Military May Head To Cuba Soon

Current and former U.S. officials familiar with the idea have confirmed that China is negotiating with Havana to establish a joint military training center on the island roughly 100 miles from the U.S. coast.

According to the WSJ, citing officials, Washington has been in talks with the Cuban government to thwart the plans out of fear that they will result in China permanently stationing troops and intelligence assets on the island and giving China greater insight into U.S. continental military assets.

New information suggests China has maintained espionage bases in Cuba since at least 2019.

A former U.S. official has said that the People’s Liberation Army’s “Project 141” aimed to increase the PLO’s military and logistics presence around the world, with established sites including a Chinese navy base in Cambodia and a relatively unknown military facility near a port in the United Arab Emirates.

Once the plant is operational, it will be the first “Project 141” location in the western hemisphere.

According to the WSJ, which cited unnamed sources, intelligence information on the joint training site is “fragmented” but regarded as compelling among U.S. government intelligence experts.

Washington, meanwhile, is trying to defuse tensions with Beijing in the wake of numerous high-profile spats, including one involving a Chinese surveillance balloon that flew over American territory. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with senior Chinese officials on Monday, including President Xi Jinping. They discussed a wide range of topics, and Blinken later claimed success, but no new lines of military contact were established.

According to the State Department, Blinken expressed concern to Xi about Chinese espionage operations in Cuba.

A U.S. intelligence report says that China plans to pursue “centralization” of the four spy centers in Cuba. It is unclear what this would entail.

According to the WSJ, some Chinese officials believe that the country’s diplomatic ties and ambitions to increase military cooperation with Cuba are aimed at mimicking the United States’ treatment of Taiwan. The United States devotes significant resources to bolstering Taiwan’s armed forces and has sent in National Guard battalions to train Taiwanese soldiers.