The United States, Japan, and Australia on Dec. 12. declared in a joint statement that they would fund construction for better internet connections in the Pacific Ocean according to Reuters.
That project includes installment of undersea cables in three island states of Nauru, Kiribati, and the Federated States of Micronesia.
The underwater optical cables are expected to boost economic growth, development opportunities, and help these three countries enhance their living standards.
The Pacific Ocean fiber optic cable project connecting the three islands began in the first half of 2020. NEC of Japan, Network of France, and Huawei of China were among the three companies bidding for the construction, with Huawei China most likely earning the contract because of its low bid. However, at the end of February all three offers had been rejected because they had not met the stipulated standards.
Su Ziyun, director of Taiwan’s Institute of Defense Resources and Industry, told the Epoch Times that China’s Huawei was eliminated because of U.S. influence. This is the third time the U.S. has vetoed a Chinese-funded undersea fiber optic cable project.
A project to install undersea fiber-optic connections that Google and Facebook began in 2019. The U.S. raised the alarm about the project’s Chinese investors and thwarted it.
A Facebook-Amazon collaboration to connect cables from the Philippines to California was also halted. China Mobile planned to participate at first, according to Su Ziyun but withdrew due to the U.S. intervention.
According to Su Ziyun, the U.S. obstruction was to safeguard digital democracy. China’s intelligence law mandates that all businesses and individuals disclose data to the country’s intelligence agency.
Su said, “So give hackers or hostile authoritarian governments a good opportunity. In this case, I think it’s just right to exclude the CCP from participating.”
There are 475 undersea fiber-optic cable routes globally, excluding Antarctica, with a total length of 900,000 km. Undersea optical cables handle more than 90% of the world’s transnational data transmission lines.
Su said the three Pacific island nations that the U.S., Japan, and Australia want to sponsor, were strategic elements of the CCP’s “One Belt, One Road” initiative. He said for Beijing, they were “the Silk Road of the Seas.”
If China invests in these nations, it could use “the predatory economic development model” and eventually gain control of them.