US warns Pacific islands of Chinese involvement in subsea cable project

US warns Pacific islands of Chinese involvement in subsea cable project

The US government warned Pacific island nations that discounted subsea cables from Chinese companies pose a security threat, as an international project is underway in the region.

Reuters reported, Huawei Marine which divested from Huawei Technologies, submitted bids rivaling Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN) for the $72.6 million projects which is backed by the World Bank and Asian Development Bank., according to sources.

The island nations of Nauru, Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) and Kiribati are to see improve connectivity from the project.

Sources told the news agency the US government sent a diplomatic note to the FSM expressing strategic concerns on the project with Huawei Marine and other Chinese companies involved, as they are required by Chinese law to cooperate with intelligence services. It also warned Micronesia and Nauru.

The FSM government said in a statement to Reuters, it is in discussion with bilateral partners “some of whom have addressed a need to ensure that the cable does not compromise regional security by opening, or failing to close, cyber-security related gaps.”

The US is responsible for FSM’s defence due to the Compact of Free Association agreement between it and former Pacific territories.

Wang Wenbin, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman said the US was merely smearing Chinese companies, in response to past acts of warning.

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