Cuba slams reports of China 'spy' facility: 'Often US fabrications'
The White House says the reports are "inaccurate" but expresses fear over Chinese growing influence.
Cuba slammed American media claims of an alleged plan to host a secret Chinese surveillance facility in the country, describing the reports released by The Wall Street Journal and CNN as "mendacious and unfounded."
"Slander of this kind is often fabricated by US officials," Cuban Deputy Foreign Minister Carlos Fernandez de Cossio said, stressing that Havana rejects any foreign military presence in the region, "including the many US bases and troops."
The news was also denied by the White House which called the reports "inaccurate".
On his part, earlier today, China's Foreign Ministry said "spreading rumours and slander" is a common US tactic, calling on Washington to stop interfering in Cuba's internal affairs
WSJ and CNN claimed that Havana and Beijing made a secret agreement to establish a Chinese surveillance facility in Cuba, which could intercept communications across southeastern of the US - including the United State's Southern and Central command HQs in Florida.
China will pay Cuba "several billion dollars" in exchange for its approval, the newspaper said citing unknown sources.
White House National Security Spokesperson John Kirby told MSNBC that he has "seen that press report. It's not accurate."
"What I can tell you is that we have been concerned since day one of this administration about China's influence activities around the world, certainly in this hemisphere and in this region," Kirby said.
"We are watching this very closely."
Pentagon Spokesperson Pat Ryder also called the news inaccurate.
"We are not aware of China and Cuba developing any type of spy station," Ryder said, noting that the relationship that those two countries share is something that we continuously monitor."
National Security exceptionalism
The heads of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Democratic Senator Mark Warner and Republican Marco Rubio, said in a statement that they are "deeply disturbed" by the report.
"The United States must respond to China's ongoing and brazen attacks on our nation's security," they said.
"We must be clear that it would be unacceptable for China to establish an intelligence facility within 100 miles (160 kilometers) of Florida and the United States."
The Senators' complaints reveal double standards when dealing with China's concerns over the growing US military and spy presence in the South China Sea, especially in Taiwan, in a blatant breach of the One-China policy that Washington says it adheres to.