Australia, Japan and US Will Build Undersea Telecoms Cable
Australia Japan and the United States will build an undersea telecommunications cable to the Pacific island of Palau, foreign minister Marise Payne informed on Wednesday.
The construction will cost $30million and it is first such investment partnership in the region among the three nations.
We are very pleased to work alongside Japan and the United States to support Palau’s vision to strengthen its global internet connectivity, she added.
The cable will link Palau to a new cable spanning the Indo-Pacific region from Singapore to the west coast of the United States, the statement said.
Australia has stepped up engagement in the Pacific Island region amid concerns over rising Chinese influence, and the three nations’ infrastructure investment partnership is seen as offering an alternative to Communist China's funding.
Australia recently opened its first embassy in Palau, Payne added, as part of its Pacific Step-Up program.
Australia will contribute $10 million to the Palau cable project, including a $9-million construction loan.
It has committed A$1.44 billion ($1 billion) in aid to the region in 2020-21, as well as A$2 billion through the infrastructure investment fund.
In 2018, Australia agreed to fund construction of the Coral Sea cable system for the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea.
That replaced an earlier deal the two nations had struck with Communist China’s Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. to lay a cable via Sydney, which Canberra feared could jeopardize its broadband network.