Former U.S. president and 2024 presidential candidate Donald Trump showed his tough attitude toward China in an interview, saying that if he were reelected, he would give Beijing 48 hours to shut down its spy base in Cuba, threatening severe tariffs on Chinese goods.
However, when asked whether the United States would support Taiwan militarily if China’s communist regime invaded, Trump remained reluctant to answer directly.
Trump said in an interview with Reuters on June 29: “I’d give them 48 hours to get out. And if they didn’t get out, I’d charge them a 100 percent tariff on everything they sell to the United States, and they’d be gone within two days. They’d be gone within one hour.”
Beijing and Havana are negotiating to build a joint military base in northern Cuba. This could allow Chinese troops to be stationed 100 miles from the United States, according to a Wall Street Journal report.
China and Cuba have jointly operated four eavesdropping stations in Cuba, and this eavesdropping network underwent a major upgrade around 2019.
Furthermore, both countries have agreed to establish a new electronic tapping facility in the island nation. The facility allows China to intercept electronic communications, including emails, phone calls, and satellite transmissions.
Sailors prepare material recovered in the Atlantic Ocean from a China-claimed high-altitude balloon for transport to federal agents at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek on Feb. 10, 2023. (Ryan Seelbach/U.S. Navy via Getty Images)
The Pentagon initially denied it, but a Biden administration official later told The Associated Press that China had been operating a spy base in Cuba since 2019 as part of its global effort to upgrade its intelligence-gathering capabilities.
A spokesperson of China’s foreign ministry said on June 20 that he was unaware of the situation.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on June 25 that the United States has made its concerns clear to Beijing and Havana and has had some success in efforts to prevent China from building military bases overseas.
In a letter to President Joe Biden, Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), the two chairmen of foreign affairs committees in the House and Senate, wrote: “The American public needs to be assured that their government unequivocally condemns this escalation, and is working to do everything in its power to counter it.
“While we understand the sensitive nature of this matter, Congress also requires greater transparency and clarity about these developments.”
The two chairmen asked the U.S. State Department and the CIA to provide their committees with a classified briefing on the matter by July 14.
The spy base in Cuba is part of the Chinese regime’s overseas base project. According to a Washington Post report, Beijing plans to build at least five overseas military bases and 10 logistics support bases by 2030. This plan is called “Project 141” by the Chinese military.
“From the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) overseas bases ‘Project 141,’ we can clearly see that the CCP’s ambition is not limited to annex Taiwan, but to occupy the world in the future,” said U.S.-based current affairs commentator Qin Peng in his show “Qin Peng Observing” on NTD, the sister media outlet of The Epoch Times.
The USS Chung-Hoon observes a Chinese navy ship conduct what it called an “unsafe” Chinese maneuver in the Taiwan Strait on June 3, 2023. The Chinese navy ship cut sharply across the path of the American destroyer, forcing the U.S. ship to slow to avoid a collision. (Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Andre T. Richard/U.S. Navy via AP)
When asked whether the United States would support Taiwan militarily if China invaded the self-ruled island nation in the interview with Reuters, Trump refused to answer directly, saying: “I don’t talk about that. And the reason I don’t is because it would hurt my negotiating position,” he said. “All I can tell you is for four years, there was no threat. And it wouldn’t happen if I were president.”
Trump had a tough stance on imposing tariffs on Chinese goods during his last tenure as president but also claimed that he had a good relationship with CCP leader Xi Jinping.