After China refused, the United States provided funding for Pacific submarine cable Reuters


© Reuters. File photo: File photo: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s plane landed at Pompei International Airport in Colonia, Federated States of Micronesia, on August 5, 2019.REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/File Photo/File Photo


By Jonathan Barrett

SYDNEY (Reuters)-Two sources told Reuters that the Federated States of Micronesia will use U.S. funding facilities to build a Pacific submarine communications cable, after previously rejecting a proposal led by a Chinese company that U.S. officials consider a threat to security .

In recent years, the United States has developed a keen interest in a number of plans to lay fiber optic cables across the Pacific Ocean, and these projects will bring great communications improvements to island nations.

The data capacity of submarine cables is much larger than that of satellites, causing Washington to worry that the participation of Chinese companies will endanger regional security. Beijing has always denied any intention to use cable infrastructure for espionage.

Two sources familiar with the plan stated that the Federated States of Micronesia will use U.S. funds to build a route between two of its four states (Kosrae to Pohnpei). Part of the proposed route for the US$72.6 million project supported by the Development Bank.

Reuters reported in June that after Washington was worried that the contract would be awarded to Huawei Marine, the project also included Nauru and Kiribati, and the project was destroyed -idAFKCN2DU06W, now known as HMN Technologies, is majority-owned by Hengtong Optoelectronics Co., Ltd., which is listed in Shanghai.

A source told Reuters that FSM will withdraw approximately US$14 million from the U.S. rescue plan, a U.S. agency created by President Joe Biden to allocate funds at home and abroad to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Impact on health and economy.

FSM stated that it is committed to providing fiber optic connections to Kosrae State and continues to provide connections to Kiribati and Nauru. It did not directly respond to questions about US funding.

The US State Department declined to comment.

The United States and the Federated States of Micronesia have a long-standing geopolitical relationship, which is included in the Free Association Contract, which is a decades-long agreement between the United States and its former Trust Territory of the Pacific. According to the agreement, Washington is responsible for the defense of the island nation.

A second source said that the U.S.-funded cable may be connected to the HANTRU-1 submarine cable, which is mainly used by the U.S. government to connect to Guam, the U.S. Pacific Territory.

Both sources declined to be named because they have no right to speak publicly.

The World Bank said in a statement that it is working with the Federated States of Micronesia and Kiribati to develop plans for the next step after the original tender for larger projects has ended but no contract has been awarded.

Pacific politics

Submarine cables are one of the newest and most sensitive fronts in the competition between China and the United States in the strategic waters of the Pacific.

FSM has close relations with the United States, but also has long-term diplomatic and trade relations with China.

Prominent American lawmakers have warned that Chinese companies may disrupt competitive bidding by offering state-subsidized bids, Reuters previously reported.

The US Department of Commerce has publicly included Huawei Marine on its so-called “entity list”-the blacklist-to restrict the sale of American products and technology to the company. The department told Reuters that under these restrictions, Huawei’s new owner HMN Tech will also be captured.

China strongly refutes these allegations. The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated in a statement to Reuters that Chinese companies have a good track record in cyber security.

“The so-called security threat [alleged] The statement said: “This US approach is groundless and has ulterior motives. It is obvious to the world who the’Matrix’ is-espionage and theft of secrets.”

Australia is a strong regional ally of the United States. By establishing a 2 billion Australian dollars (1.48 billion U.S. dollars) infrastructure financing mechanism, island nations may use this financing mechanism for cable projects, thereby strengthening its influence in the Pacific.

Nauru has been negotiating plans It told Reuters in June that the Coral Sea cable system supported by Australia passes through the Solomon Islands.

($1 = 1.3510 Australian dollars)

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