Leaked US cable reveals concern about China spying in Chile
April 20, 2011 2 Comments
By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
A leaked US government document reveals strong concerns expressed by the US embassy in Santiago about Chinese intelligence operations in Chile. The document, classified “secret”, and dated August 29, 2005, was released by whistleblower website WikiLeaks. It contains a report sent by the embassy to the US Department of State, concerning Chinese intelligence collection activities in the South American nation. The report points out that the Chinese embassy in the Chilean capital is one of the largest in Latin America, with 22 employees, who are “all good Spanish speakers”. It also notes that Chinese news agency Xinhua maintains three full-time correspondents in Chile, who are “assumed [to be] involved in some kind of collection activity”. But the leaked document focuses mostly on alleged Chinese intelligence collection activities aimed at the Chilean military, which is heavily subsisted by the United States. It suggests that bilateral ties between the Chinese and Chilean military were significantly strengthened in 2004, when, during an official visit to China, the then Chief of the Chilean Army, General Juan Emilio Cheyre, adopted a Chinese proposal to establish a Mandarin-language training program for selected officers of the Chilean military, which became operational shortly after. The authors of the leaked report express concerns about the growing operational ties between the Chilean and Chinese military, and warn that this increasingly close relationship will expose US defense-related “programs, priorities and techniques”, which Washington has shared with Santiago over the years. The report also reveals that American intelligence officials have been training their Chilean counterparts on how to detect “the security and intelligence threats emanating from China”. Both the US Department of State and the Chilean embassy in Washington DC declined comment on the story.