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South China Sea cable project blocked due to China’s policy of holding approvals

Beijing [China], June 1 (ANI): Beijing’s policy of delaying permissions for US, Japanese, and Singaporean telecommunications and technology corporations to construct sea cable projects is substantially impeding the development of the Internet in Asian nations, European Times reported.

As part of its aggressiveness in the South China Sea (SCS), China is delaying approval for permits to even work outside its recognized territorial waters.

According to a recent investigation by Nikkei Asia, China deliberately delays clearances, which prevents corporations like Japan’s Nippon Telegraph and Telephone, Singapore Telecommunications, and the US internet titans Meta and Google from implementing their undersea cable projects, according to European Times.

According to the research, the project expenses are rising as a result of the delays and postponed deadlines. Since it is the shortest route connecting East Asia with the south and west of the continent as well as on to Africa, the South China Sea is a highly-liked subsea cable route. These cables might be used for anything from banking transactions and emails to military secrets.

Cable project owners are looking for alternate routes because of the protracted permit issues and excessive delay by the Chinese authorities, who are using “national security” as an excuse. One such cable, Southeast Asia-Japan 2 (SJC2) by SingTel, reportedly under construction, has been delayed by more than a year due to Chinese opposition, according to Nikkei Asia. According to the European Times, the cable would link Singapore, Taiwan, and Hong Kong to Japan.

The corporations are looking into newer routes as a result of the delay. The first intra-Asian underwater cable to avoid the congested area of SCS is called Apricot. Singapore, Japan, Taiwan, Guam, Indonesia, and the Philippines will all be connected by it. Such a change along the route would be more expensive, though.

Despite China’s opposition to delaying approvals, a group of investors would choose this path, including Meta. According to European Times, the cost of installing cable along the new route is higher due to shallower waters near Borneo, the largest island in Asia that is politically divided among Malaysia, Brunei, and Indonesia.

The strategy of China to delay permits for undersea cable projects is a significant barrier to the development of the Internet in Asia, which is now seen as the century’s growth engine. About 60 per cent of the Asia-Pacific region’s international submarine cable systems are based in Japan, Singapore, or Hong Kong.

As a result, the Luzon Straight between the Philippines and Taiwan as well as SCS have become two bottlenecks in the connections to Southeast Asia and North America. According to European Times, the SCS is one of the busiest waterways in the world and is used by practically all of the Intra-Asia Pacific underwater cables.

China is aiming to control the information channels in Asia. The delay in approvals for permits to the companies implementing subsea cable is part of the Chinese strategy. China has undercut Hong Kong’s legal autonomy through its national security law and also trying to asset its one country two systems in Taiwan so as to have greater control over the region and also to keep international internet traffic under the watch of Chinese state security and intelligence services.

Beijing has the capability to hold these information waterways hostage in case of conflagration. Nikkei’s report has highlighted the need to adapt to the geo-political challenges of the SCS. Keeping in view these challenges, the two cable builders Echo and Bifrost have decided to make the first transpacific cables avoiding SCS and instead pass through the Java Sea, European Times reported.

China while aspiring to be a global power is causing harm to Asian countries’ rise, especially Southeast Asia, where the digital economy is growing rapidly and is likely to reach USD 1 trillion by 2030. (ANI)

This report is auto-generated from ANI news service. ThePrint holds no responsibility for its content.

Source: The Print

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