Former US President Donald Trump threatens to impose tariffs and taxes on Chinese goods if China fails to remove its military installations from Cuba within 48 hours of his election.
Former US President Donald Trump issued Tuesday an ultimatum to China, demanding the removal of its military installations from Cuba within a two-day timeframe were he to win the election.
Failure to comply, Trump said, would result in the imposition of tariffs and taxes on billions of dollars worth of Chinese goods. Trump also criticized President Biden for not addressing the issue and vowed to take action upon his potential return to office.
“In Cuba, 90 miles off our coast, think of this, China is now building military installations in Cuba, and Biden does not want to talk about it,” Trump said.
“When I get back in, I will inform China that they have 48 hours to get any military and spy equipment the hell out of Cuba or there will be taxes and tariffs placed on their billions and billions of dollars of things that they send into us like they’ve never seen before,” the former US leader underlined.
The Wall Street Journal reported that US intelligence agencies have been monitoring suspected Chinese spy facilities in Cuba, with employees of Chinese companies Huawei and ZTE being tracked. Reports indicate that during Trump’s presidency, tracking data revealed Huawei and ZTE workers entering and leaving sites suspected of engaging in Chinese spying activities from the island.
These findings have heightened concerns within the Trump administration about the potential role of Huawei and ZTE in facilitating China’s espionage efforts against the United States. However, it remains uncertain whether such practices have continued under President Joe Biden’s leadership.
While Huawei denied the accusations, ZTE and the US Office of the Director of National Intelligence did not respond to requests for comment from The Wall Street Journal.
Earlier in June, WSJ reported that China and Cuba had allegedly reached an agreement to establish a spy base in Cuba in response to US military activities near China’s borders, including in Taiwan.
US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby dismissed the report as inaccurate, while Cuba slammed American media claims of an alleged plan to host a secret Chinese surveillance facility in the country, describing the reports released by WSJ 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.”
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.
Moreover, Trump’s words came despite Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning saying on Tuesday that she had no knowledge of Chinese-Cuban plans to open a military training center in Cuba.
“I am not familiar with the issue you are talking about. We hope that the relevant parties will focus their energy on things that promote mutual trust and the peaceful and stable development of the region,” Mao told a briefing.
Regardless, 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.