China is trying to get into the same position that Russia wanted in Latin
America and it's using Cuba for that. It's a real threat," said
Manuel Cereijo, a recently retired professor of electronic engineering
at Florida International University who has written several studies on
Cuba-China relations. "They want to be a superpower and have a
hand in the Western Hemisphere."
At least three arms shipments were traced from China to the Cuban port of
Mariel during the past several months, according to an article Tuesday
in the Washington Times. All the arms were aboard vessels
belonging to the state-owned China Ocean Shipping Co., or Cosco, U.S.
intelligence officials told the newspaper. The
explosives were said to be "military-grade" material, the
officials said Tuesday that the subject of arms trafficking between
China and Cuba is a worrisome one, though they stopped short of
confirming the Washington Times account. "We
are very much concerned with this PLA [People's Liberation Army]
cooperation and movement of military equipment in Cuba," said
James Kelly, assistant secretary of state for East Asian affairs, when
questioned during a hearing of the House International Relations
Department spokesman Philip Reeker would not comment on what he called
an "intelligence matter," but added: " I can say we
have not made a determination that China has transferred lethal
military equipment to Cuba."
If the shipments are confirmed, it could lead to the imposition of
economic sanctions on China and Cosco, U.S. officials said.
is a U.S. law that prohibits providing various types of assistance to
foreign governments that have provided 'lethal military equipment' to
a country whose government is a state sponsor of terrorism,"
Reeker said. "We fully and faithfully implement the
requirements of U.S. law and would take any actions required by those
laws, were we to determine that sanctionable activity had
is among at least seven countries on the State Department's list of
nations designated as supporters of global terrorism. Officials
from the Cuban government could not be reached for comment.
the electronic engineering professor, said China and Cuba are
cooperating on an array of military and intelligence matters.
whose studies are based on interviews with numerous Cuban engineers
and scientists who have either visited the United States or defected,
said that Chinese personnel have been working out of the Bejucal
listening post in Havana province since March 1999. The post is
believed to be capable of both eavesdropping and
United States knows that this is happening," Cereijo said.
the shipping company, has been linked in the past to illegal smuggling
and international arms trafficking. "The
U.S. government has documented a number of weapons proliferation cases
where the vehicles were Cosco ships," said Al Santoli, a national
security aide to Rep. Dana Rorhabacher, R-Calif.
is no doubt that Cosco is a self-sustaining merchant marine and
business conduit for the People's Liberation Army," Santoli said,
noting that China has strengthened its military ties with Venezuela
2001 the Miami Herald.
Republished here with the permission of the Miami Herald. No further
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